Interview: Our Rental Pumps’ President Samantha Ruttura
25 August 2021
New York-based Our Rental Pumps has been serving the East Coast since 2011. Lindsey Anderson discusses diversification and the future with company President Samantha Ruttura.
New York-based Our Rental Pumps might only be 10 years old, but its President Samantha Ruttura has lived and breathed construction for as long as she can remember.
A certified woman-owned business by both New York City and New York State, Our Rental Pumps LLC has grown and diversified substantially over the past decade by expanding its product offerings beyond concrete equipment to offer a range of rental equipment.
Ruttura enthused, “My dad has a contracting company, which is 103 years old, so this has always been a really huge part of my life.
“It has been a big change from what my initial thoughts were when I started the business, but I guess that is part of our growth and adapting to what your customers need and want – you need a little bit of everything.”
Our Rental Pumps initially only rented concrete pumps but in 2016 began investing in Magni telehandlers to broaden and complement its fleet.
Ruttura explained, “The first time I heard about Magni was from my brother, who is a extremely smart – he knows the ins and outs of every truck, ship and airplane. I came home for a holiday and he said, ‘You have to look up this machine, it is brilliant – it is this telehandler made in Italy.’”
So Ruttura started researching and discovered Magni telescopic handlers. She said both herself and brother became convinced that Magni telehandlers could be a “must have for every project in New York”.
Ruttura said, “Magni telehandlers are clearly the safest telehandlers out there on the market these days. So to have this machine that can do so many things? It is a no-brainer for us.”
Our Rental Pumps adapts to diversity
During Our Rental Pumps’ infancy, Ruttura looked to fill a void in the New York construction market.
Ruttura revealed, “I started to realize most contractors do not own their own concrete pumps. And if you think of New York City, one project could have needs for a 65 foot pump and a 200 foot pump.
“Sometimes I would have 20 to 30 different contractors renting every size [of concrete pump] in one week. It makes no sense for a contractor to own all different sizes, they would not utilize them enough to pay for them.”
As she grew the business and forged industry relationships, Ruttura started fielding increased requests for equipment other than concrete pumps.
Ruttura said of the diversification, “We have been in a lot of transition from a concrete pumping company to an equipment rental company. People are now realizing we have different equipment to rent, so they are asking for more.”
The rental company now offers eight different models of Magni telehandlers, from the chart-topping 114 foot boom height RTH5.35 to 17,500-pound capacity RTH8.25. Recently, Our Rental Pumps provided a range of Magnis for use on the Little Island project on the Hudson River in the United States.
Little Island revitalizes part of Hudson River Park
Little Island, a 2.4 acre public park, is an artificial island supported by 132 “pot-shaped” structures that rest on 280 concrete pilings. Construction officially began in 2018 (after years of delays and disputes) and the park formally opened in May 2021.
The pots, or “tulips” as they are called, vary in height and are between 15 foot and 62 foot above the waterline, giving the appearance of a floating leaf or wave. Each pot has four to six lightweight concrete sections, referred to as “petals,” which were designed to reduce the load on the pilings. Magni units worked for roughly two-and-a half years on the project.
Ruttura said, “We had a few delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down sites, but when work resumed, Little Island was one of the first projects back up and running. The park is just spectacular, a really interesting place to go visit.
“We had a lot of weight restraints and very tight spaces to navigate. There were four or five different contractors working at the same time, doing various things on a man-made space. The Magnis were perfect for the job because of their full versatility.
Benefits of American Rental Association programs
While most construction work is back up and running after being shutdown due to the global pandemic, Ruttura noted that “things are pretty much back to where they were” for the company.
However, she does have concerns about moving forward and stated, “A lot of projects are going out for bid, but not much is being awarded quite yet, so that is a concern for us.
“We are lucky to be on a lot of long-term projects at this point, but if things are not being ordered now then I wonder what next winter will look like. But it is just going to be a process and we are just going to keep kicking through as best as we can.”
Like most, Our Rental Pumps suffered during the first few months of the pandemic.
“The reality of it is that most of our work is in New York, so when [COVID-19] hit, it hit us directly. The reality was that it was really difficult. A lot of work slowed and stopped, but the majority of our work was essential.”
A silver lining related to sites being shut down and working from home was Ruttura’s ability to invest time into areas that she previously could not. Ruttura joined the American Rental Association (ARA) where she discovered a wealth of information and resources.
Ruttura explained, “I can learn from people within our peer groups, through the ARA and different contacts I meet along the way. There’s so much I can learn, and then adjust what we’re doing to make our business better.
“They have a lot of really great webinars and courses on various types of telematics and technology that we can start utilizing. As a smaller rental company, I do not know everything. I don’t know what somebody who has been doing this for 30 years knows.
Selection by PI test results builds success
Ruttura firmly believes that people can make or break a business and said, “It is such a team effort here, so we need the right people in the right places.”
She uses a program called the Predictive Index (PI) when recruiting new team members. The Predictive Index test allows recruiters to evaluate the cognitive abilities, personality traits and behavioral tendencies of a potential employee, to determine if they are the right fit.
Ruttura explained, “Everyone is wired to have strengths in different ways. I can never be a bookkeeper, I could do it but I would not be successful at it because I like variety and I like to talk to people.
“The person who is wired for that is much more of an introvert, and they like that routine every day. So that is a big part of when we hire people, making sure we have the right person for the right role.”
The company also fosters strong internal relationships, making sure to support each other the best they can.
She added, “We have such a small team, but that is why you have to make sure you have the right team. If I cannot be here for something, I have full trust that my team is going to handle it.
“If they have a problem then they will text or call me, and we will get it done whatever way we possibly can. It may not be exactly how I would do it, but the end result will be the same.”
That result will be one to watch in the coming years, as Our Rental Pumps continues its forward march. But that forward march does not necessarily mean being The Next Biggest Thing.
Ruttura concluded, “We are a small company. I am never going to be able to compete with the big companies on an equal scale. So I need to look at what our customers need and try to give them the best service possible. That way, when it comes to placing a rental order, we are the choice the customer makes.”