What Makes Superior Truly Superior
We sat down with Robert Joseph, a Superior Construction employee for more than 20 years and a relative of the company’s founders, to chat about Superior’s roots — and to get the stories only a veteran could share.
Superior’s first generation moved here from Italy nearly 100 years ago. “John Largura came over as an immigrant on a boat, and he believed America was a land of opportunity. He established himself here through brick laying, stone masonry — whatever work he could get his hands on. He had a dream and he had hustle,” said Rob. “John Sr would bid on post offices, get the job, and then pack up his family and friends and move there. They’d live together, hunt birds and cook them on the spit, and then hang out on the weekends.”
As the country experienced growth, John became involved in more civil projects and brought his son Elio on board. Together they focused on the local economy in Gary, IN, building buildings and housing developments, and working on mills. During this time they began to focus on bridge work — a niche that Superior continues to excel at today.
“Elio took over in 1938… he was a guy everyone loved. His presence was unbelievable,” said Rob. “Steel mills were becoming larger in Northwest Indiana, and after WWII infrastructure was growing to service them — from roadways and bridges to everything in between…. He bought Army surplus trucks and converted them to concrete trucks to supply the building they were doing. That was hustle.”
When Elio passed in 1973, the third generation stepped up: John, Tom, and Bob. “Big expansion happened here. This is when we exploded,” said Rob. “We built a steel mill out of a cornfield for Nucor Steel, a project that took two to three years. Then we went into Amoco Oil / BP — work that still continues.” Superior began working in Florida during this time too, with Rob moving there to work on Superior’s first bridge job in the state.
Years later, Rob came back to the Midwest to work on a standout project for the South Shore Line: Demolishing a bridge—and then replacing it — all within the span of a weekend. “Basically, we dreamed up a bridge next to the existing one,” he said. “We shut the road down, did the demo, and put big steel mill roller skates under the equipment to push it into place.” And come Monday, it was ready for train traffic as planned. “I got no sleep for three days, but wow, this was pretty cool,” he said.
Today, Superior Construction is led by Nick Largura, fourth generation. “I’m very proud of Nick and how the company has evolved,” said Rob. “He and I talk; it’s a ‘construction bond’ which isn’t so much technical as it is about heart and soul and how to get through things.” Rob says this extends throughout the entire company. “It’s a bond,” he said. “We’re in it together, and we make it work… Not just the ownership family, but laborers, carpenters, and iron workers whose families have been there through three to four generations.”
To Rob, Superior is different because they put people first, before the job. “When you’re at Superior and know everyone around you, and know their fathers and their kids, it’s a lot more personal. When you accomplish things with people you consider family and friends, it’s pretty neat.”