We are excited to welcome Armond (AJ) Seretti to the team as Superintendent. As legend has it, during the 2018 Malibu Woolsey fire, AJ had just added a few hundred mature trees to a new development at a Malibu County shopping center. With access to the area closed, AJ chartered a small boat to gain access to the coast and make sure the newly delivered trees didn’t become another casualty of the devastating fires.
What attracted you to Reaume Richardson?
I applied while I was moving back to CA from NV and didn’t really know what to expect. Having been out of the industry in Los Angeles for a while and being in the middle of a pandemic, I was just trying to get in front of people and find the opportunity to prove myself.
How did you end up here today?
I grew up in construction, my father owned and operated Mar Vista Plumbing. My passion for building things started very early and often included scrap pipe pieces and other construction “trash.” I wound up working in construction following Mark Twains advice of “find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I genuinely love building and don’t feel like this is work. I started in a plumbing shop as a Service Manager, mostly because of my familiarity with the trade. I worked my way up in the company, eventually being trusted to be a Project Manager. While the plumbing company turned out to be a casualty of 2008, I wound up finding a job matching what I was previously doing but for an electrical company. This job was a little slow and I had to wear many hats but I was able to learn the trade, how to estimate, and (most importantly) how to run work in the field. This lead to my desire to become a Superintendent and I began looking for a position with a General Contractor. Within a month I had an offer from a large, national General Contractor. I started as a Project Engineer, moved to Assistant Superintendent, then eventually Superintendent. I left CA for the “greener pastures” of Nevada in January 2020. Because of Covid-19’s influence on the economy there, limited opportunities for social engagement, limited travel options to see family, and greatly underestimating the challenges of working outside when it is 120F, my family and I found ourselves back in Mar Vista where we belong.
What is a favorite project you have worked on to date?
The Park at Cross Creek in Malibu, CA– a ground-up shopping center for which I was the Lead Superintendent. This project provided challenges unique to the area, afforded me the opportunity to work with the City of Malibu to develop commercial codes and SOPs, required working around natural disasters, and a very rainy season. There was a bit of everything all on one property, each with its own schedule and set of challenges. There is a grocery store, a park with a playground, an amphitheater, retail shops, a bank of Tesla Supercharger stations, and restaurants. The challenges forced me to rise above my station at times, requiring long hours and absolute dedication to the project. Our team pulled it off and we are collectively very proud of the job we did.
What is one of the biggest work challenges you have faced?
The most memorable moment comes from my favorite project in Malibu. The Woolsey Fire broke out just behind the project and we were instructed to evacuate as we could see the smoke rising behind Pepperdine University in Malibu Canyon. We had just finished planting our site trees, 90 huge Sycamores, and didn’t yet have the irrigation complete. We knew going in we would have to hand water for a couple of weeks but obviously couldn’t anticipate the fire. As the fire grew, PCH was closed and it didn’t look like we were going to get to the site any time soon. I was worried about the trees, so I hatched a plan to save the trees (and our budget). Without my company or the owner’s knowledge, I packed a bag with supplies for 2 days and chartered a boat in Marina Del Rey for a one way trip to the Malibu Pier. I climbed a ladder near the end of the pier and walked to the job site where I used our water truck to water all of the trees by hand. I hitchhiked with a local who was evacuating out of the area to Sunset and PCH where I was able to Uber back to my house. I did this several times throughout the 16 days we were locked out of the city, each time finding a new way to get home. All of the trees (and the owner’s budget) survived!
Do you have any hobbies and passions outside of work?
While my hobbies and passions generally revolved around the interests of my young children, they are now old enough to begin enjoying my personal interests. My personal passions are offshore fishing, sport/competition pistol shooting, hiking, urban exploring, and community/local politics and activism.
What was your favorite childhood song and film/show?
My favorite childhood movie, which continues to this day, is Star Wars. I even have a Princess Leia tattoo!
If you weren’t at the office right now, what would you be doing?
Whatever my kids want to do.
Anything else you want to share about yourself?
I was previously an elected public official in the City of Los Angeles, serving as a Zone Director for the Mar Vista Community Council. As a part of my duties, I was appointed to Chair the Homeless Issues Committee and fought to represent the needs of both the transient population of Mar Vista as well as those affected by encampments near their homes.