Massaro Serves: The Pittsburgh Project


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The Pittsburgh Project utilizes over 2,000 people annually to perform free home repairs for vulnerable homeowners.

Massaro Restoration Services partnered with The Pittsburgh Project on September 8 to help restore a home for Mr. Phillip Willis, a disabled veteran, whose home is in great need of major renovations.


Vivian lays a ceramic tile floor

Four employees from the restoration division- Brian Reuss, Gary Baker, Joe Stanonis and Keith Bastine installed ceiling drywall in the living room while three The Pittsburgh Project volunteers – Dave, Ross and Perry taught me how to lay ceramic tile on a newly poured cement floor in the basement, for what is going to be Mr. Willis’ future kitchen.


Brian Reuss and Keith Bastine install ceiling drywall

The Pittsburgh Project and Mr. Willis have expressed their gratitude and asked to refer other volunteers to assist in the completion of this home. There is quite a bit more work that needs completed in order for this veteran to have a fully functioning kitchen and an insulated home before winter.

It was a pleasure working with The Pittsburgh Project and I hope to have the opportunity to serve alongside them next year for other worthy projects.

Anyone wishing to volunteer their time/skills in assisting with the completion of Mr. Willis’ home or for other homes The Pittsburgh Project is working on, can e-mail  or by visiting their website at



Article by Vivian Anderson, Office Manager

Six Facts about Water Damage


When it comes to water damage to a residential or commercial property, there is more than meets the eye.

Here are some water facts and figures as they pertain to the restoration industry:

1. Water is capable of dissolving a variety of different substances. In fact, water is known as the “universal solvent” because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid.

2. A sheet of drywall standing upright with its edge sitting in a ½” of water can wick water up to 6 inches in less than three hours.

3. Mold typically begins to grow in 24 to 48 hours in an untreated moist environment.

4. A good indication of a failing hot water heater is a puddle of water underneath it, indicating a slow leak, or rusted or corroded fittings on the top of the heater. If you don’t investigate the leak ASAP, you may quickly flood your home because water heaters are under a great deal of water pressure.

5. There are three categories of water contamination defined in the restoration industry:

  • Category One – Water from a clean water source with no substantial risk of causing sickness or discomfort. Examples include water from a broken water supply pipe or an overflowing bath tub.
  • Category Two – Water that has a significant degree of chemical, biological, and/or physical contamination. Examples include water from aquariums, dishwasher or clothes washer leaks, and water entering the structure from below grade. Discharged Category One water that sits untreated more for more than 24 hours becomes Category Two.
  • Category Three – Water emanating from a grossly unsanitary source or carrying disease causing agents. Examples include discharges from sewer or septic systems/pipes and flood waters. Discharged Category One water that sits more for more than 48 hours becomes Category Three. Discharged Category Two water that sits more for more than 24 hours becomes Category Three.

6. Controlling pathogenic microorganisms during a restoration project may require the use of chemical agents that act as biocides. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has defined three levels of biocidal activity:

  • Sanitizers – Designed to reduce the number of microorganisms.
  • Disinfectants – Designed to destroy or inhibit the growth of microorganisms but not necessarily their spores.
  • Sterilizer – Designed to destroy all microorganisms (fungi/molds, bacteria, viruses, etc.) and their spores.

Some relevant conversions:
 14 cubic feet of air weighs 1 lb.
 1 gallon of water weighs 8.34 lbs.
 7.48 gallons in a cubic foot.
 1 cubic foot of water weighs 62.4 lbs.

No need to remember all of this scientific stuff, at Massaro Restoration Services we put our expert knowledge to work in getting you quickly back to normal after a water loss disaster.


Article by Franco Tavella, Business Development Executive

Delivering thanksgiving

Heritage Valley Initiative_thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the act of giving thanks.” This year, we have many reasons to give thanks, but one of them is for the vital services that Heritage Community Initiatives provides to our neighbors.

For four decades, Heritage Community Initiatives has been providing a variety of programs to those within Allegheny County who are faced with socio-economic challenges. These programs include education, transportation, and life enhancing initiatives with the mission to “enable individuals and organizations to improve health, education, economic strength, and social vitality in their communities.”

Last year, Heritage was able to supply more than 2,000 pounds of food and nearly 1,000 other items including clothing, hats/mittens, books, toys, and more to the families during the holidays. This year, they provided 130 full Thanksgiving meals to families. For the past two years, our team has been fortunate enough to make a donation and volunteer with Heritage by transporting meals for their annual Family Thanksgiving. Heritage provides full Thanksgiving meals to the families of those enrolled in its education programs. During the busy holiday season it can be easy to forget about serving others, and this initiative is a great way to give back!

There are lots of ways you can get involved with Heritage Community Initiatives such as volunteering, donations of needed items (nonperishable food items, children’s gifts, etc.), or through monetary donations. If you are interested in getting involved with Heritage, please visit their website:



Article by Jennifer McGee, Marketing Coordinator



How to Survive a Sharknado in the Burgh.


Last week cable and the internet blessed us with the second coming of Sharknado. And it’s no surprise that the folks at Massaro Restoration were carried away by the hype. The first 10 minutes of our Friday’s marketing meeting was spent discussing this pressing matter. It eventually devolved into us describing our fantasies of Sharknados coming to Pittsburgh.

Look, I don’t need to apologize for a moment of twisted daydreaming. We are a disaster restoration company, and mythical storms are great for business. We have kids in college and mouths to feed, so even an F-2 sized-Shark-twister would put food on the table (not counting the endless supply of shark meat). Speaking of shark meat falling from heaven, for some odd reason when I think of a Sharknado in Pittsburgh, I just imagine there would be lot of pierogi debris. Honestly Sharknado in the Burgh sounds delicious, but I digress.

At Massaro Restoration, we’re very outcome focused, and it wouldn’t have been an effective meeting without concluding by distributing individual action plans. Me, being the super-important, entry level graphics guy, I was tasked with illustrating some type of Sharknado-emergency-escape-death-by-the-skin-of-your-teeth-plan. So you’re welcome.


  • Take alternate routes to avoid the overflow from the Mon Warf to the “Parkway Bathtub” both in-bound and out-bound. Those are surely to be shark filled waters.
  • If you find yourself at the Strip District you will notice more flying pierogi and bobble head debris than usual, wear appropriate headgear to protect against concussions.
  • And wait until next month to buy, “I survived the Pittsburgh Sharknado” tee shirts. The prices are outrageous right now.
  • The most horrifying thing of all will be on Route 28. Bottle necked, stand still traffic, flying dust and debris, people screaming for their lives, total chaos, confusion, and gnashing of teeth. Imagine that, but now add a Sharknado.
  • If you are at a Pirates game when a Sharknado hits, chanting, “Cue-to!” will not fix the situation. It will only cause Sharknado to drop more sharks from the sky. In fact if you find yourself at any Pittsburgh sporting event, do not boo the Sharknado just because Sharknado used to play for us but his contract expired, and he decided to sign with another team. This is a tornado-full-of-sharks and it has feelings just like any other tornado-full-of-sharks.
  • If you find yourself in the Southside on a Friday or Saturday night between 1:00 and 2:00 am, THERE IS NO HOPE. On the plus side, you don’t have to worry about any Sharknados touching down. Even Sharknado is afraid of the Southside after the bars close.
  • Finally, after Sharknado subsides and we are eating delicious shark sandwiches for weeks, you’ll undoubtedly have shark damage. Currently Massaro Restoration is the leading shark-property-damage-restoration-professionals in Pittsburgh. Shark damage is a specific service we provide in addition to our main focuses of Fire, Hazmat, Mold, Smoke, Water, and Wind.

Call us for shark emergencies and other property disasters at our 24/7 Emergency Response Hotline 412-599-0023.

Christ_Mike(Resume)Mike Christ, Marketing Design Specialist






Customer Appreciation Day Pirate Video

All of us at Massaro Restoration would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our valued customers who attended our first Massaro Restoration Customer Appreciation Day at PNC Park. We hope that everyone enjoyed the event (and the 12 inning Pirate win over the Reds) as much as we did. Please remember…We’re always are at your service.

Tavella_FrancoFranco Tavella, Project Manager





‘Tis the Season’ to Shop and Be Aware

Santa Claus

As the season of giving draws closer, people are putting together their shopping lists and making more purchases in stores and online with credit cards.

An NBCNEWS article says identity theft is more common during the holiday season as people are busy making purchases and running errands with less rest that they forget to focus on protecting their identity. People are more distracted and more vulnerable to scams.

Steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft include:

  • Have security software installed on mobile devices and computers.
  • Guard your social security number.
  • Monitor your credit report, bank and credit card statements.
  • Use a shredder on documents containing personal information before placing in the trash.
  • Remove your name from marketing lists.
  • Keep duplicate records on your wallet contents in a secure location.
  • Know to whom you are speaking. Do not give personal information unless 100% certain you know the person and/or business they represent.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when making credit card purchases and entering passwords and pins at atm’s and stores.
  • Mail payments from a safe location. Private home mailboxes are not considered to be very secure.
  • Destroy any electronic recording device prior to disposal.
  • Be aware of bogus shipping emails as clicking on them could load malware on your machine or take you to a phishing website.
  • Check out new merchants with the Better Business Bureau.

During this busy holiday season make sure to put your safety first…in this case, the safety of your finances and identity. If your credit cards or wallet have been stolen, contact the three reporting agencies below immediately.

Equifax: 1-800-685-1111

TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800

Experian: 1-888-397-3742

Safety Director Crystal Schafer
Article by Crystal Schafer, Safety Director





The Department of Transportation says the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are the heaviest long distance travel times.

The number of long distance trips over Thanksgiving (those 50 miles or more both ways) increase by 54 percent. During Christmas the increase is 23 percent. The potential for fatigue is higher during these long trips after a long day of visiting and eating.

Many say eating turkey makes you tired as turkey contains L-Tryptophan, an essential amino acid with a documented sleep inducing effect. However, according to , it’s not just the turkey. A carbohydrate-rich (as opposed to a protein-rich meal) increases the level of the amino acid and leads to serotonin synthesis – “that familiar sleepy feeling”.

Fats slow down the digestive system and take a lot of energy to digest so the body redirects blood flow to help in digestion. Having less blood-flow elsewhere, people feel less energetic after a meal rich in fats. Overeating has the same affect so it’s very important to watch how much you eat prior to travelling a long distance without giving the meal time to digest.

If you start to feel drowsy while driving and your eyelids start to get heavier, pull over and rest! A Nationwide Insurance article pulls from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration article that states drowsy driving “causes more than 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 1,500 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than $12 billion in losses”.

People are at their mental peak at 9:00 am and 9:00 pm with physical best at 11:00 am and 7:00 pm. Energy hits its lowest points from 2:00 am to 6:00 am and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Try to plan your travel during your high peak times.

A couple more helping driving hints are:

• Take a 15 minute power nap to help you obtain needed rest without causing a major delay in your schedule. A longer nap requires more time to return to full alertness.

• Stay hydrated and eat fruits, vegetables and protein-loaded items in small portions. We already know carbs make us tired.

• Get a good night’s sleep prior to the drive.

• Take someone with you to keep you alert, help watch the road and even share in the driving.

Have a great holiday season and stay safe on the roads!

Safety Director Crystal Schafer
Article by Crystal Schafer, Safety Director




Where Life Changes for Kids and Families


As the holiday season approaches, many people are in the giving spirit. People open their hearts for generosity and feel a sense of satisfaction helping others.The staff at Auberle, located on Hartman Street in McKeesport, open their hearts to the community year round.


In 1952 Auberle opened its doors. The faith-based Catholic agency’s mission is “to help troubled children and families heal themselves”. Auberle offers a plethora of services for children, youth, adults and families including foster care services, in-home crisis intervention, shelter services and transitional living. The goal is to invest in children to break the cycle of abuse and neglect. They also believe strong families build strong children and serve over 3,000 at-risk children and families each year. Serving in seven southwestern PA counties, 60% of the clients are receiving services in the home, school or local community.

Recently, Auberle has partnered with employers to give at-risk youth on the job training. This partnership has been titled Auberle’s Employment Institute and enables youth to develop skills such as work ethic, timeliness and accepting criticism. By gaining real experience, the at-risk youth is able to lessen skill gaps and have higher opportunity for employment in the future.

Auberle recognized as Agency of the Year in the United States by the Alliance for Children and Families. Auberle has also received the Wishart Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management by the Forbes Fund.

Massaro Restoration Services, LLC is honored to be able to work with such a noble organization.

Hinchberger_AndreaAndrea Soltis, Business Development Representative






Why Don’t People Seek Excellence on a Daily Basis?

Few would argue that we are living in an ever changing world. Those who do not adapt to change are choosing to live in a constant state of discomfort.

At Massaro, we made a decision a few years ago to change the way we run our business. We decided that in the face of rapid change, the one consistent determinant of success is the pursuit of excellence. We even have a name for our journey to excellence, Expedition.

Our Expedition inspires us to go a little beyond what we expect from ourselves, just doing a little more each time and each day. We have asked each of our employees to raise the bar and stretch themselves. We believe that everything we do, regardless of how common the task may seem, should be done uncommonly well. This is the path to excellence. This is our Expedition.

In Marshall Field’s words:

“To do the right thing, at the right time, in the right way; to do some things better than they were ever done before; to eliminate errors; to know both sides of the question; to be courteous; to be an example; to work for the love of work; to anticipate requirements; to develop resources; to recognize no impediments; to master circumstances; to act from reason rather than rule; to be satisfied with nothing short of excellence.”

Which brings me to a more important point. On an everyday basis, excellence is in short supply, but when a tragedy such as the massacre at Sandy Hook occurs, excellence becomes the norm. People go beyond their normal selves to aid their fellow man. They stretch and support and sacrifice and serve and love. As sick and sad as that event is, the way so many people have given of themselves to do anything possible to help the victims is nothing short of inspiring. And that which they gave will return to them in far greater quantities than what they are doing for the victims and their families.

The pursuit of excellence is a proven pathway to success. So the question we need to ask ourselves is, “why don’t people seek excellence on a daily basis?”

Excellence in Real Life

What’s the difference when it comes to getting from point A to point B?

Last week I saw excellence in action. When I arrived at the airport at 6:00 AM for a 7:00 AM flight to Minneapolis, I realized I didn’t have my boarding pass. I worried a bit because the security line was long and the wait to get a boarding pass could take some time. At the top of the escalator, my concern was validated.

There were large crowds in front of USAIR and Southwest, and I was flying Southwest. As I moved toward the line, increasingly concerned about time, I noticed something. In contrast to the group in front of the USAIR counter, the Southwest group was animated, vocal and moving. I looked up and noticed that the wall behind the counter was wrapped in pink wrapping paper and populated with cut out hearts with messages on them: “Luv is in the air”; “we luv flying”; “We luv luggage”. I smiled and took my place in line. In no time at all, I was at the counter, happily greeted by John. When the kiosk was unable to locate my reservation, John stepped out from behind the counter and offered to help. He immediately noticed that my credit card had the III suffix, but my reservation did not. “Happens all the time”, he said. “I’ll take care of it.” In less than a minute, I was sent on my way with a warm voice, “have a great day and enjoy your trip Joe.” “Thanks John, same to you.”

It was early, and I still had to get through security, but I felt good. So good that I decided to stand and observe each of the counters for a moment. Only Southwest and USAIR had crowds. Only Southwest was decorated. The USAIR crowd was subdued, Southwest was alive. United and another airline (I cannot remember which) had no passengers. “Southwest gets it”, I thought to myself. Gets what, you ask? They “get” how to treat their customers as if they matter. Their commitment to customers is real and authentic. (Two weeks ago I had a maddening experience with United where the gate agent refused to book me on a flight on which there were empty seats because he had to close the doors in order to avoid him taking a delay. He made my wife and I wait three hours for the next flight because he didn’t want to explain to his boss why the doors didn’t close on time. At the Customer Service counter I was told to log on to United’s website and file my complaint there. It was surreal.

Every airline does the same thing. They all face the same challenges of managing costs, dealing with weather, flight delays and cancellations, unpredictable passengers and all the rest. They all have to line you up to board the plane and hope that your carry-on luggage fits. The playing field is level, and there is no difference whatsoever in the product each delivers – a flight from point A to point B. So what’s the difference? My guess is the pursuit of excellence. Southwest understands the big picture, and it truly cares about its customers. They know how to run a good airline, make their passengers feel valued, and have fun along the way. (The flight attendants pre-flight instructions were original and funny.)

Pursuing excellence is not easy. It requires vision, patience, a fanatic focus on mission and values, discipline, and hard work. But the payoff in terms of employee engagement, customer loyalty and financial results is well worth the effort.

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Have a question? Need our Address? We’re available 24 hours a day, every day, by phone at 412-599-0023.

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