Family-run construction company celebrates 100th year in Torrington

Family-run construction company celebrates 100th year in Torrington

Emily Olson – The Register Citizen

TORRINGTON — Over the last 100 years, O&G Industries has grown from a small business focused on service and craftsmanship to an award-winning industry leader in construction services and products, overseen by members of the family team. 

Now, the third and fourth generations of the Oneglia family are looking into the future as they oversee myriad divisions and products that serve Connecticut’s commercial, educational, and municipal sectors. O&G has nearly 800 employees, according to the Oneglias.

O&G was founded by Andrew Oneglia and Flaviano Gervasini in 1923. The partners, according to the family, set out to build a small business based on principles of quality service and excellence in craftsmanship. 

“This company was (run) by our fathers, Ray, Francis, and George, and they taught us three things,” company president David Oneglia said. “They taught us to have a great business, to work together and work things out, argue them out, sometimes; and to work with others coming up in the company. 

“If you work here, you aspire to run something,” he added. “That’s given us sound business principles and keeps us focused.”

A family at work

O&G’s products include concrete, asphalt, and aggregates, using six quarries, eight concrete plants, and eight asphalt plants located throughout Connecticut and eastern New York. The Mason Division carries masonry products, services, and solutions suppliers, according to the family. Along with road, bridge, and dam construction, O&G’s Heavy Civil Division has performed large-scale site work and power and energy projects. The company’s Building Group experience includes education, health care, commercial, office, industrial, manufacturing, municipal, community, athletic venues, transit, utility, infrastructure, water, and wastewater. 

O&G Industries was previously led by three brothers; Chairman Raymond A. Oneglia, President Francis J. Oneglia, and George Oneglia, all of who are now deceased.

President David Oneglia now runs the company with his brother and vice chairman Raymond “Ray” R. Oneglia, and cousin and vice chairman Gregory Oneglia. Gregory’s daughter, Christina Oneglia Rossi, is vice president of business development for the Building Group and runs the building division with her father and brother-in-law Jason Travelstead. 

Gregory’s son, Thomas J. “TJ” Oneglia, a Navy veteran who joined the executive team after nine years of service, oversees the company’s concrete and materials, including its quarries and gravel pits. Bradford “Brad” Oneglia, Ray’s son, is vice president and in charge of the company’s asphalt division, including eight asphalt plants.

Other company officers are Vice President Ryan Oneglia, David’s son, who runs the Heavy Civil Engineering division, overseeing bridge, dam, and runway projects. Kara Oneglia, vice president of the Mason division, is the daughter of the late Robert Oneglia, who died in 2012.

Matthew Oneglia, Gregory’s son, also a vice president, is heading up a new real estate and development division at O&G, which is expanding the company’s holdings as it continues to grow. And Ken Merz has worked in administration for O&G for 52 years.

Together, members say the family is a respected team in the industry, based on their experience and grooming by their elders.

“We do what our dads did,” said Ray Oneglia. “I’m in the office at 7 a.m. And we’ve talked about the family, but we wouldn’t be here without the hundreds of families who have worked here; they have made the company what it is.”

Growing a workforce

As O&G’s presence in the community has grown, so, too, has its effort to bring more skilled laborers, engineers, and other experts into the workforce, using internship opportunities and training for high school students. 

“We are doing outreach at Oliver Wolcott Tech (high school in Torrington) and elsewhere, to teach carpenters and equipment operators, and an effort to have diversity in our workforce,” Ray Onegila said. 

“O&G also has a summer intern program for college students,” said Merz. 

“We recruit from colleges with construction management and engineering programs, that are usually signed up by (the fall),” Christina Oneglia Rossi said. “We had 14 interns last summer. We have a strong mentorship program, for young people who want real-time experience, where they shadow supervisors and members of the workforce. It’s been a success for the company’s building group because they either return or are directly hired by us.”


Inevitably in any business, complications, and problems arise that have to be solved or ironed out. In O&G’s case, the last few years brought not only the pandemic, but a recession in the economy, changes in ownership of major companies, weather-related problems, rising oil prices, and supply chain slowdowns, said Brad Oneglia. But the work still gets done, he said. 

“We just finished the Bogue Road bridge in Torrington, which was built 50 or 60 years ago,” he said. “Projects are continuing.”

The company is also working on the new Torrington middle-high school project, which is moving along, thanks to a mild winter.

“We built THS the first time, and now we’re doing the new one,” said Greg Oneglia.

“We have people at 70 or 80 job locations, every day,” Merz added. 

Another project is a new science building at the Frederick Gunn School in Washington, formerly known as the Gunnery, which has been affected by the supply chain delay.

“We’re waiting for (electrical) switches, and we were supposed to get them in May. Now we can’t get them until August. The main air unit’s not coming until October,” Greg Oneglia said.

The Gunn school wants to open the building in May, he said, so O&G will provide temporary equipment in the building until the permanent equipment arrives.

“It’s still a very real problem,” he said. “But I’ve been told by many people that while there’s a supply shortage, we’ve been given consideration because of our reputation, and our loyalty. That’s very important to us.”

A key to their success and ability to work together comes from a habit that the founders established. “On important things, we meet as a family,” Greg Oneglia said. 

“We have a team advantage; we all grew up in the business and saw the traditions that were in place,” Brad Oneglia said. “We all learned the dynamics of the company very early. It’s suited us well, and we’ve all contributed to that.”

To mark the 100th anniversary, Kara Oneglia said, the company is creating a book detailing its many accomplishments and projects, as well as its ongoing presence in Torrington. “It’s a work in progress,” she said, adding that the Torrington Historical Society has helped, finding content in its archives for the publication.

“It’s Torrington’s 100th year as an incorporated city, so there’s a lot going on this year,” she said. 

And Torrington will always remain O&G’s permanent home.

“Home is the Northwest Corner, but we work all over Connecticut,” said TJ Oneglia. “Connecticut’s a great place to live, and it’s our home. We’re always going to be here.”