At 90 years old, Joseph M. Brito, Sr. no longer oversees the day-to-day operations of C.B. Construction and C.B. Utility, companies that he and his father, Caesar Brito, founded in the 1950s.
For the past five years or so, those responsibilities sat with the company’s vice president, Joseph M. Brito, Jr.
After many years of working for the family business, the elder Mr. Brito recently promoted his namesake, officially placing C.B. Utility in the hands of the third generation of Britos.
“My father called me and said he wanted to see me at nine o’clock,” Mr. Brito said of a recent conversation.
Rather than the usual visit, this one was emotional, he said.
“He told me how proud he was of the things I’ve accomplished. It was pretty emotional,” he said.
It was during that quiet conversation when the company vice president became president, handed down from a father to his son.
Inside the unassuming company headquarters on Tupelo Street, Mr. Brito relayed the milestone.
“It’s quite an honor when you worked side by side with your father and you reach this pinnacle,” Mr. Brito said after the announcement was made public.
Mr. Brito was only 13 years old when he got his first experience in construction. Getting inside the ditches to wrap a sealant around the pipes before they were joined together was neither glamorous nor lucrative, but they provided valuable lessons about the business and about life.
“At 15, I began working with the crew. If I couldn’t cut it, I wouldn’t be here,” Mr. Brito said.
In the early days of the company, the elder Britos began the company as a landscaping service. They expanded into excavating, digging holes for foundations and grading land around construction sites. From the beginning, Mr. Brito recalled, two things were non-negotiable in his father’s business dealings — safety of the workers and quality to the client.
“That philosophy has stayed consistent with the company,” Mr. Brito said.
As the third company president, Mr. Brito, Jr. is intent on building on his family’s success and leading the business to greater success. The company maintains offices in New Haven and Hartford, Conn., a move that places them efficiently within reach to serve natural gas and utility customers.
Several employees have built their careers at C.B. Utility, working with the company for over 30 years.
“We’re an anomaly. The second generation usually makes the money and the third generation moves onto something else,” Mr. Brito said.