The Vineland-based design and build firm Stanker & Galetto is responsible for some of the more distinctive projects in South Jersey.
The family owned and operated company built the Scarpa Regional Cancer Pavilion for South Jersey Health System, the massive U.S. headquarters for food company Pastridor Inc. and the headquarters of Sun National Bank — and that’s just in Vineland.
Co-owner Peter Galetto Jr., 58, of Millville, said he likes the firm to be involved with projects that help build businesses and communities.
“We just finished the St. Joseph Church in Sea Isle City,” a 1,100-seat facility connected to the historic original, “and there’s standing room only,” Galetto said.
Likewise, a 100,000-square-foot high school annex has helped St. Augustine Preparatory School grow, he said.
And even a smaller project, such as the Melting Pot restaurant in Atlantic City, has helped that business become a leader among the fondue chain’s franchises.
Stanker & Galetto just finished a 50,000-square-foot facility in Swedesboro, Gloucester County, that will be the first U.S. manufacturing plant for Schar, an Italian maker of gluten-free products.
And its current project challenges the company’s skills in a novel way: Building facilities for an expanded physician residency program in an interior courtyard of S.J. Healthcare’s Regional Medical Center in Vineland.
The first challenge was figuring out how to get the building materials to the site without going through the hospital.
“You could say we airlifted them in, using a big crane and concrete pumps, putting stairs up and over the roof for the workers,” he said.
Constructing a building inside a hospital requires an exacting level of cleanliness, he said, which is reached with protective screening, foot-wiping stations and HEPA air filters.
The $1.75 million project will add classrooms, offices, consulting rooms, dormitory rooms and charting areas. And since the hospital wants the work done quickly, the main phase that started in February should be done by the end of this month, he said.
Stanker & Galetto’s work wasn’t always so unusual.
Galetto said his father, Peter Galetto Sr., who died last year at age 91, founded the firm in 1946 to serve a growing chicken industry and demand for housing. “Over the years, my father sort of invented turnkey construction, which today we call design-build.”
Until the downturn, the firm’s business mix was primarily industrial with some community projects. Now it does a lot of community, private and medical projects.
“The only way to survive is you’ve got to change,” he said.
Some commercial building firms haven’t. From 2005 to 2010, the number of such firms in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Ocean counties has fallen from 116 to 102.
“The external force of the economy is by far the most challenging thing for us, but we have a good team of people here and we’re doing pretty well anyway,” Galetto said.
Better days are probably coming. The National Association of Realtors forecasts completed industrial projects will nearly double from 15.7 million square feet last year to 28.7 million this year, and nearly double again to 56.8 million in 2013.
A third generation is already helping lead Stanker & Galetto into that future. David D’Onofrio, 28, a Notre Dame graduate in engineering, is the son of co-owners and Galetto’s sister and brother-in-law, Mark and Sandy D’Onofrio of Milmay.
“My father was happy for myself and Mark to be involved in the business, and we’re certainly happy to have David here,” Galetto said.
The family is probably as well-known for its community involvement as for building landmarks.
Mark D’Onofrio has long served the St. Mary’s School in Vineland, including as school board chairman. Sandy D’Onofrio is on the board of the WheatonArts and Cultural Center.
Galetto said he’s been on the board of the Vineland YMCA for 30 years, and heads the finance council for his church’s Millville Parish.
And his wife, Jane Morton Galetto, is president of the environmental group Citizens United to Save the Maurice River.
Stanker & Galetto Inc.
Location: 317 W. Elmer Road, Vineland
Owners: Peter Galetto Jr., 58, of Millville, and Mark and Sandy D’Onofrio, of Milmay and Ocean City
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