As seen in the Tried & True Summer 2022 issue
Few can claim a closer connection to the excavation business than Rudy DeSabatine. Not only has Rudy spent his own professional life laying tile, he also grew up watching his father, Paul, do the same. Two of Rudy’s brothers, Bob and David, are old industry pros as well, and together, the family accounts for decades of industry knowledge.
“I still remember when Fratco switched from clay to resin tile,” Rudy told Tried & True. “Must have been sometime in the mid-sixties. Of course, that freaked a lot of people out. You know: something new!”
“How did you feel about the change?” asked Tried & True.
“I freakin’ loved it,” Rudy laughed. “Those clay tiles were kinda heavy.”
Rudy and his brothers have been around for many such landmark moments in the industry. They’ve watched the business grow and change (and in many ways, stay the same) through the eb and flow of time. With the humble, easy-going attitude that seems to run in the family, they’ve always adapted.
A DELICIOUS TRADITION
Every workday afternoon, friends and members of the DeSabatine family gather around the table for a hearty, home-cooked lunch. On this occasion, Tried & True was welcomed into the DeSabatine home to partake in the tradition.
That home belongs to Betty DeSabatine: matriarch of the large family. The DeSabatines count their blessings in children, and—thanks in large part to the fact that twins are common in the DeSabatine genepool—Betty now presides over more than a hundred grandchildren and great-grandchildren in total.
“Mother, tell them how many you had over for Thanksgiving,” Rudy says.
“Seventy-five,” answers Betty, glowing with pride.
“Most young couples these days aren’t having that many children, anymore,” notes Tried & True. “They have no idea what they’re missing,” Betsy replies.
As lunch is served, the table fills with crispy fried chicken and heaping sides like mashed potatoes and taco salad.
“Does it get any better than this?” Rudy asks as Monica, David’s wife and the family’s lunchtime chef, slides plates of chocolate cake in front of everyone.
As we eat, the DeSabatines reflect on their long relationship with Fratco—both how it began and why it’s lasted so many years.
“We started working with Fratco because they were close,” shares Betty. “Convenient and local.”
“We kept using them because their quality is top shelf,” Rudy explains. “Their service is incredible, and the quality of their product is incredible.”
“And just the people at Fratco in general,” Rudy goes on. “They’re like me, they’re like you. They’re common joes. When you need something from them, you’re never gonna hear: ‘Oh, we need to take care of this bigger guy first.’ That’s not Fratco’s style.”
A CRAFTSMAN’S TOUCH
As lunch winds down, Rudy shows Tried & True another one of his passions aside from excavating: landscaping. First, he flips through some pictures on his phone of the work he had done for friends’ yards.
Next, Rudy hops in his truck and leads us over to his own residence in Winamac, Indiana, where he’s outfitted his backyard, pool and fire pit with beautifully contoured boulders that are as comfortable to sit in as La-Z-Boy recliners.
Then, Rudy leads the crew on a tour of his early-1900s farmhouse-style home, the inside beautifully decorated by his wife, Cindy. Between Rudy’s landscaping and Cindy’s decorating, the home is truly something special.
Leaning on family to accomplish something greater than oneself was the overarching theme of the trip. Certainly, Rudy’s skill and work ethic alone would have seen him to success in life, but with his family always by his side, he’s been able to accomplish so much more.
With that in mind, we were eager to learn about Rudy’s favorite memory of doing business alongside his relatives.
To this, Rudy paused for a solemn moment to gather his thoughts, then replied: “My dad. Working with him was phenomenal.”
It’s plain to see that Rudy’s father did a phenomenal job: both with the children he helped raise and the business he helped build. Fratco, meanwhile, remains both grateful and honored to have the DeSabatine legacy intertwined with its own.
The DeSabatines’ story is a reminder of the importance of family, and it highlights how valuable traditions can be. As Fratco looks forward to what comes next, the company knows it’s important to remember who and what came before.
To Fratco’s partners new and old: Fratco stands with you, just like they have for generations, and they’re dedication to high-quality products and outstanding service are traditions they aren’t abandoning anytime soon.
Hear what Rudy DeSabatine likes about Fratco: tinyurl.com/Fratco