Angelo Tomasso saw himself as blessed with great opportunity and wanted to create a lasting reputation.
In 1910, 17-year-old Angelo Tomasso, Sr. arrived in New York from the mountains of Abbateggio, Italy. He served in the U.S. Army and then worked in railroad construction; this work took him north to Hartford, Connecticut, and subsequent work as a laborer with Hartford Electric.
In 1923, in New Britain with one piece of equipment – a steam shovel – he founded Angelo Tomasso, Inc. That same year he landed his first big job – excavating foundations for the Fafnir Bearing Company. Angelo was aggressive, driven, and opportunistic. He did not take success for granted. Those who worked with him described his stamina, countless hours of hard work, and remarkable accomplishments.
Among the lore of Angelo Tomasso, Sr. is the account of how he drove his steam shovel overnight from New Britain to Hartford because the contract for constructing the foundation for the Hartford County Building was to be awarded to the first to arrive on site. Angelo won the contract. His reputation grew and so did his company. As the years passed:
- He built the first section of the New York Taconic Parkway.
- He bought a new steam shovel as each of his four sons was born.
- He added quarry operations and a concrete plant to his company.
- In 1941, Angelo Tomasso was responsible for the original construction of Brainard Airport in Hartford.
The Legend Grows
After World War II as the economy expanded, the company grew rapidly. During this period, Angelo’s four sons took over management of the company. Led by Angelo Tomasso Jr., Victor, George and Bill, the company began managing larger projects.
- In 1950 they set a record by transporting 797 tons of blacktop 25 miles in one day to the Bradley Field Airport.
- In 1968 they received wide acclaim by laying a mile of concrete each day on over three miles of Interstate 84 in Plainville, New Britain and Farmington, Connecticut.
- In 1972 a joint venture led by Angelo Tomasso, Jr. set a world record by laying in place 18,300 tons of bitumen in 18 hours at Bradley Airport. Inspired by the contract provisions that the team could close the airfield for only 36 hours while paving a critical intersection, the major 6-24 runway was repaved in record-breaking time. The joint venture had 171 pieces of equipment in use for one day. The airport reopened on schedule, and the team won praise from the State Department of Public Works and the Department of Transportation.
The construction accomplishments of Angelo Tomasso, Inc. became legendary. The company acquired additional quarrying and mixed concrete capacity and became famous for highway construction including Routes 91 and 84, and Routes 9 and 2. The company managed redevelopment and site projects including corporate headquarters such as Emhart, Stanley Works, Aetna and Bristol Myers.
In 1972 Angelo Tomasso, Inc. was sold to Ashland Resources. In 1979 a British company bought the core of the former company, creating Tilcon Tomasso. The company’s name was changed to Tilcon Connecticut in 1990.
In 1968, the third generation of the Tomasso family, William, Michael, Paul and James, formed Tunxis Management’s real estate management and subsequently its sister company, TBI Construction. All four brothers learned the construction business while working at Angelo Tomasso, Inc.
Tunxis Management grew out of the need to manage the family’s real estate holdings. Tunxis Management’s tenant roster grew to include Fortune 100 companies, medical facilities, Government buildings, performing arts, retail plazas and private commercial and office buildings.
The TBI Construction Company’s business grew both from the extensive family background in highway construction and from Tunxis Management’s extensive, growing work in property management. In the late 1980’s, the Tomasso’s expanded the family construction business to focus on building large, challenging projects in the public and private sectors.
Completed TBI Construction projects include; Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, The Medical Arts Center of Central Connecticut, the Waterbury Performing Arts Magnet School, Palace Theater historic renovation and Parking Garage, New Britain City Hall historic renovation, the Government Center Building and Parking Garage in New Britain and numerous other professional/medical/commercial buildings and schools.