DGR Concrete Forming
Sparks spew from a circular saw as it bites through rebar, while a safety-vested construction crew preps a driveway to be poured with concrete. It’s early spring in Mississauga, ON, a large suburb of Toronto, and Jorge Rodrigues and crew are working diligently. Today’s location is paved and residential, but getting to construction sites often means negotiating dirt roads and icy highways.
No matter the conditions, Rodrigues relies on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Sprinter 4x4 cargo vans to get to the job site. Even when the Canadian winter churns out its worst, the crew needs to get to work. As Senior Partner of two companies, DGR Concrete Forming and Dunhill Construction Corp., Rodrigues understands what’s important in a work vehicle. Having owned them since their arrival in Canada, the Sprinters have made all the difference for him and his team. When the Sprinter 4x4 became available, Rodrigues had an immediate “can’t wait to get my hands on that” reaction, “The reality is we live in Canada. Whether we’re dragging it through sites where there is mud, dirt, gravel, if you’re in the construction industry, you’re going to end up somewhere your vehicle shouldn’t be.”
In the industry now for nearly 30 years, Rodrigues’ father was a carpenter, and Rodrigues himself originally studied architecture. But he soon realized he wanted to get back to his roots among the crew. Rodrigues explains, “Construction was in my blood.” He’s passionate, yet pragmatic, “One of my favourite quotes says, ‘Ideas are useless, all that matters is execution.’” And he applies this to choosing a work vehicle, “At the end of the day, it needs to perform. It has to work. The Sprinter fits into that.”
When Rodrigues closes the doors of his Sprinter, he knows everything is secure, “The fact that a pickup truck is open to the elements and to theft is something we avoid completely now. Everything goes into the Sprinter. It’s closed up. It’s safe.” Since switching to Sprinters, Rodrigues has seen a significant increase in efficiency, particularly in time savings, “There was always those moments where something needs to go in the truck or come out of the truck, because it’s going to snow or rain, so there was all this wasted time. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it is for the crews to know that everything is simply in the Sprinter.”
Production General Manager Ryan Godin feels as strongly about the Sprinter and Sprinter 4x4 as Rodrigues. A self-proclaimed “die-hard pickup truck owner,” Godin says once he got behind the wheel of a Sprinter, he was instantly impressed. He shares that the rest of his crew feels the same way, “Now nobody wants to drive the pickup truck. They want to drive the Sprinter. The crew loves it.” Not only does the team love how it drives, they prefer working out of it on the job. Godin elaborates, “They want to drive the Sprinter because all the tools are there. We put shelves in it. We organized it the way we wanted. The fact that people can walk inside really sets it apart.”
Beyond the ergonomic benefits, the vans have proven efficient in fuel and cost of ownership, too. “The fuel consumption savings are huge. And the fact that we can go more than 30,000 km without having to go in for service. Cost of ownership is amazing. The reality of it is that when you really grind it all out, it just can’t be beat. Period,” says Rodrigues.
Although Rodrigues purchased the Sprinter 4x4 strictly as a vehicle to power through construction site terrain and foul weather, it’s taken him to weddings, been loaded with the family’s dogs, and has embarked on adventurous road trips. Rodrigues reveals, “I really, really enjoy it on the personal side. Having a cottage, enjoying travel, road trips – it just touches on every single facet of my life.” Because not only does the Sprinter 4x4 suit his work needs, it brings passenger car comfort to those much-deserved getaways, when heavy equipment is replaced with motorcycles, and the GPS is set to go across the border, toward the winding roads of North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains.