Ted Emmerich and his signature teal vans have been a familiar site around Great Neck for nearly half a century.
Reflecting on his 46 years at the helm of Ted Emmerich Construction, the business owner said he is grateful for the many years of service Great Neck has provided him, and cited “honesty and a commitment to quality” as keys to his longevity.
“It’s been a great opportunity to work for wonderful people in a fun community,” Emmerich said.
A lifelong resident of Great Neck, Emmerich’s entry into the construction business began at age 18, following the Southern New England Ice Storm on December 17, 1973, which he described as a “red-letter day” in his life.
“Anyone living in Great Neck for a long time may remember this date,” Emmerich said. “The ice storm of 1973 was devastating to our area. Power was out for weeks in many areas with the resulting havoc.”
After clearing trees on the day of the storm, Emmerich decided to make that his full-time pursuit and, after seven years, he adapted to handle residential construction and maintenance based on the needs of the community.
“People just asked us to do other things,” he said. “They liked the prompt service we gave them, and they requested more since I’m a mechanically savvy individual.”
Today, Ted Emmerich Construction offers a variety of home improvement services, including landscape construction, electrical work, roofing, plumbing and carpentry. Emmerich said performing this range of skills and trades with quality is especially critical in a small town like Great Neck, where “people talk to each other.”
Since acquiring space on Steamboat Road in 2008 to house a welding shop, dump trucks and construction equipment, Emmerich said he is now “better prepared than ever” to address customer construction needs.
His website contains a section of Ted’s Tips, where he offers weekly suggestions on topics like asphalt driveways, addressing bad paint areas and how to buy quiet appliances and fans. Emmerich said the idea came about as an additional way to share his knowledge with the community “through years of experience and a personal understanding of specific home-related things.”
Emmerich emphasized the importance of creating “long-standing relationships” with customers, which ultimately leads to better service than working with unfamiliar companies that only deal with one aspect of home improvement.
“If I’m walking into your house three times a year and I’ve been working for you for a number of years and you’re dissatisfied with something that I did for you, you’re going to take me over and say, ‘Listen, I’m having a problem with this, what can we do about it,’” he said. “Versus calling the guy from two years ago and saying, ‘remember me, you did this’. Where are you going to get you better service?”
Growing up in Great Neck, Emmerich said he was always struck by the beauty of the peninsula, but noted the particular importance of the ice storm and the years after it that changed the course of his life.
“Something I always say to other people is some of the best things in life happen by mistake,” he said. “My work life was just a series of wonderful happenstances.”
Emmerich said he loves what he does and called his job a “perfect match,” thanks in no small part to the support of his customers, friends and family.
He said, “I couldn’t be happier with my life as it has unfolded with regard to my business and working life.”