News & Insights
Advance Testing continues tradition of quality, reliability, professionalism and integrity
Last updated on November 14th, 2018
Jimmy Smith will never forget how Advance Testing got started. Smith worked hard, first earning an associate’s degree from Alfred State College, followed by a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
After college, he found a job working within a division of Yonkers Contracting, eventually working his way up to Chief Quality Control Technician. When he was hired, Smith told his employer that he could commit to five years, and when that time was up, he was going to start his own company. “Nobody believed me,” Smith says, “but in five years, I stuck to my plan, and after I trained my replacement, much to their dismay, I moved on.” So he ventured out on his own – armed only with his station wagon and some credit cards, and in 1984 founded Advance Testing.
It took several years before Advance Testing would become a serious player in the Mid-Hudson region, and by then the company had cemented a reputation of knowledgeable employees who worked tirelessly to make sure the job was done right and done on time. “It’s all about customer service,” Smith said recently “You are only as good as your last at bat. Our state-of-the-art laboratory facility is open 7 days a week, offering 24-hour service to our clients when needed” Smith said.
If Advance Testing’s line-up of projects is any gauge, the company has a great batting average. “We are really happy to be involved in the growth of Sullivan County,” Smith said. “We’ve worked at SUNY Sullivan, the Monticello Motor Club, Crystal Run Healthcare, Catskill Regional Medical Center, Resorts World Catskills and the Kartrite Water Park.”
It was the Resorts World Catskills project, for which planning started more than a decade ago, that was a catalyst for renewed economic development in Sullivan County. Chris McCracken, Director of Business Development at Advance Testing, said, “We forged a close relationship with Empire Resorts [management] and we hit it off. There was something about this project that we truly embraced and in the end it was very exciting to see them selected for a gaming license,” McCracken said.
“We are honored and fortunate to be involved with the project’s construction. We have worked on it since the very early phases, from shortly after tree clearing to building an interchange and now, Chalet Road and the casino itself.” Smith added, “Our work on the casino brought our presence full bore into Sullivan County. It’s been years since we had the opportunity to work on a job the size of the casino. It was a perfect opportunity and we did our best to live by the motto, ‘buy and hire local’,” Smith said.
“It started with the infrastructure phase when we printed the plans locally. Then, we purchased company vehicles, equipment and even attire for our workers from local vendors,” he said.
“We continued our efforts to reach out to the community through the Sullivan County Partnership and SUNY Sullivan. A good portion of our team who worked on the project are Sullivan County residents,” he said.
“For the last 10 years we’ve been involved in the Sullivan County Partnership and it’s an exciting organization to be a member of,” said Smith.
“They are dedicated to their investors and help keep everyone united – they are the fabric of the community. And with the help of the Partnership, Sullivan County Visitors Assn. and Sullivan County Chamber, Sullivan United was born, an organization which fully supported the casino project.”
Today, Advance Testing is headquartered out of Campbell Hall in Orange County, and during the peak building season will employ upwards of 160 people. They have also opened up offices in Harpursville, NY; West Stockbridge, MA; Fort Myers, FL and Newtown, CT. Last year Advance Testing worked on 1,100 different projects in the Northeast, with durations ranging from two days to five years.
Smith is also proud of the role that Advance Testing had as part of the NYS Thruway Authority Owner’s Engineer Team, charged with oversight of the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement Project (Mario M Cuomo Bridge). “It’s going to be a landmark for many, many years to come,” he said.
Employees are strength of Advance Testing culture
Talk with Advance Testing President and CEO Jimmy Smith for any length of time and the words dedication, involvement and enriching are sure to come up. Smith not only believes in his own employees but is working hard to develop the next generation of Advance Testing team members and managers. “I was a one-person operation for a year, and we still have our first employee, Mark Clark, who’s been with us 34 years,” Smith said. “We have 20 employees with over 15 years of tenure with the company. “We are really structured for further growth,” he said.
One way which Smith is building the leaders of tomorrow is through Advance Testing’s High School Mentorship Program. Last year they brought in students from Monticello High School and Newburgh Free Academy for a 7-week program. “They were treated like any other employee, including completion of the formal 10-hour OSHA Construction Safety course whereby they earned a nationally recognized certificate,” he said. “They learned about Advance Testing and were able to develop professional demeanor and soft skills,” Smith said.
The program extended to SUNY Sullivan where students learned interview skills and prepared a resume, and to the Sullivan County Partnership where students learned about economic development and career opportunities in the County. Smith said the program has been in place for several years and is an excellent way to build future leaders of industry. As an added bonus, Advance offers the students a $1,000 scholarship to put towards future education, whether it be the college of their choice or a trade school.
“The students and staff from Monticello were outstanding to work with,” he said. “The transformation which we saw was incredible.”
For more on this program or Advance Testing’s offerings, go to www.AdvanceTesting.com.