An Interview With Vincent Robert of Sunstate Companies, LLC

Q: It would be great to know a little bit about you and your professional background. Was there a single moment that made you want to get involved in the profession of street sweeping? What were some of the roots?
Vincent: In March, 1995 I was introduced to the Environmental Land Reclamation industry and was involved with restoring land that had been destroyed due to the construction boom in the western parts of the United States. Erosion control through revegetation of desert plants was my main focus, that included the grasses and wildflowers together with restoring the desert patina too by naturally speeding up the oxidation process of the rock to blend in the colors on scars.

Q: What kind of plans, configurations, models, and organizations did you have before you entered the sweeping business?
V: A few years before all this in 1987, Rick Gruber started Sunstate Landscape that ultimately helped the company that I worked for get started by subbing all his hydro seeding for his apartments, not knowing that 17 years later I would become S.W.P.P.P. Division Manager for Sunstate Companies, LLC.
Rick had a vision to combine different construction industries that ultimately made Sunstate Companies, LLC a one stop shop.
Realizing that the EPA was becoming stricter in construction environmental pollution issues in protecting our waterways and air quality, he decided to buy a sweeper to clean up his own construction sites. The regulations became even more strict and the demand for sweepers became a good revenue to add to his umbrella. Sunstate Companies, LLC now has a Construction/Commercial Landscape division, Custom Landscape division, Commercial and Residential maintenance division, Grading division together with a Trucking division for moving dirt, Concrete Construction division, Concrete Surfacing division, and yours truly, our S.W.P.P.P. (Storm Water Pollution Protection Plan) division with Sweepers.

Q: Has your business noticed patterns in business dealing? How much growth has you business seen over the years? Has there been a serious situation on the job?
V: Rick Gruber lives by this unique strategy every day for the purpose of a satisfaction he gets from giving his customers the best possible, even if it costs him a little more. You give a little and you get a lot is how I see it.
Sunstate Companies, LLC S.W.P.P.P. division has grown 3.8 times bigger in the past two years, and includes increasing our assets. We now have 3 Tymco 600 sweepers, 3 Tymco 210 sweepers together with 1 Bobcat, 1 Grade Tractor, 1 Backhoe and 2 Water trucks, all for fine grading cut backs to keep back of curbs free from sediment blowouts on the roads, 3 ground crews, 2 S.W.P.P.P. inspectors, Wet Sandblaster Machine for graffiti removal and a Hot Water Pressure Washer together with Hydro Twisters with vacuum recovery system for sidewalk cleaning, all of this which follows strict EPA, State and Federal regulations.
Sunstate Companies, LLC has survived great challenges in the past, through the depression, by keeping a high standard of quality, customer service and the reputation of going above and beyond the normal expectations.

Q: How many customers do you deal with regularly? If the number isn’t easy to determine, how many do you find yourself serving in a month?
V: We deal with 911’s all day long and mostly into the night to be able to show our customers that we are here for them no matter what it takes, and they know this. Our division is committed to servicing at a high quality and reliable capacity with good working order machines that represent our pride.

Q: How does a typical day of operations look like at your business? What do your employees do and how do you schedule your vehicles? How many people do you have staffed and what are their titles?
V: The people who operate this division are more like family, helping one another to get the job done, getting through the challenges together and never letting each other down. I believe that this has been our success story because we don’t only care for what we do for the environment and for the future of our children, but we care for our customers and each other too.
I have key personnel in place that really give our division the extra boost. David Bernal, Production Superintendent has managed to juggle all these sweepers, water trucks, and equipment to service more than 270 job sites in one month, servicing many of them multiple time per week and still keeping a high moral by being our team biggest fan. Our sweepers work an average of 70 hours a week each and our water trucks operate an average of 120 hours a week. All of this occurs in six days, and we have an awesome team of three mechanics whom maintain them all.
George Lopez is our Field Supervisor that makes the magic happen, keeping an eye on the equipment and making sure our projects go smoothly. He is not scared to get dirty either.
Our S.W.P.P.P. inspectors Alejandro Meza and Marcos Torrez are great representations of what we stand for with accurate inspections, making sure our customers follow the EPA and NDEP regulations together with keeping George Lopez in the loop of what needs to be done to keep the jobsites in compliance; they too don’t mind getting dirty!
Lastly, our arsenal of sweeper drivers, water truck drivers and ground crews are the soldiers that make it all happen. They all have the chance of improving themselves in this division as we promote from within, that way everyone has had a chance of experiencing each and every aspect of what it takes to make this division work smoothly. This team mentioned above stand 18 strong, including myself.

Q: What areas do you service? How many trucks/machines do you have? How do you move the industry forward?
We service all DR Horton, CalAtlantic, William Lyons, Warmington Residential, Lennar, Pardee Homes, Pulte Homes, Ovation Dev, and that is only mentioning the home builders, not to mentionthe large commercial construction companies that we service with all the community management companies too. These are all high-demanding industries and require punctual service; most of the time they will drop you like a stone if you can’t keep up.
Sunstate Companies, LLC has about 120 trucks and about 80 earth moving machines with 326 employees, in addition to our division, so we are part of a very big picture! All this was started by one man, Rick Grouber’s vision and $7000.00 to start.
We constantly work toward improving our techniques, products and each other to find the best, quickest and most practical ways of efficiently executing big or small projects by constantly training personal and testing new technologies that we research to stand above any competition!

Story by Katherine Nolan

NAS February spotlight san antonio sweeping brian cooper final 1 24.docx