Cementing Excellence: Toyota’s Partnership with Aristeo Construction

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Before Toyota can build its lineup of quality vehicles, it must first build a quality facility in which to do the job. At multiple manufacturing and research & development centers across the country, Toyota partners with nationally ranked general contractor Aristeo Construction to craft the sites where employees and materials come together under the sturdy roof of the Toyota Way.

Aristeo has served for nearly two decades as a Tier I and Tier II indirect supplier to Toyota, partnering to successfully execute dozens of complex large-scale construction projects, including the most recent, Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina. Aristeo also happens to be the largest WBENC-certified general contractor in the nation.

The company transitioned to a new generation of leadership in 2018 with the retirement of Joe Aristeo, who co-founded Aristeo in 1977. The entire management team, including Michelle Aristeo Barton, president, and Anne Aristeo Martinelli, chief strategy officer, is committed to building on the company’s strong foundation by upholding core values and continuously striving to be the best in the business for their customers and team members.

“For us, it's important to maintain the high standards we set for ourselves and that exceed our customers' expectations. Our team focuses on doing the work the right way and delivering on our values of safety, quality, integrity, and excellence,” said Barton.

Joe Aristeo (middle) and daughters Michelle Barton and Anne Martinelli.

Taking a values-driven approach to running a company is a major common denominator for Aristeo and Toyota.  

“When we think of Toyota, we think of the core value of respect for people and the commitment to working long-range with the company’s supplier base. The focus on kaizen, which leads to mutual benefit and growth through partnership, really sets Toyota apart,” said Martinelli.

Aristeo is Toyota’s second-largest women-owned supplier in terms of project spend, and much of its work is helping Toyota set the stage for a future of vehicle electrification. This includes plant transformation projects in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Alabama, as well as the construction of the new $3.8 billion Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina facility.

“At Toyota, we prioritize collaboration with diverse suppliers like Aristeo because we know these companies are integral to providing the innovative thinking, new efficiencies, and overall excellence that will help us achieve Mobility for All,” said Beatrice Liau, supplier diversity lead.

For its exceptional service to Toyota over the years, Aristeo was honored with the 2022 Outstanding Business Partner Award, the top recognition given by Toyota to one indirect supplier each year. In keeping with Aristeo’s core value of teamwork, the company decided to celebrate by taking the award to the employees at each one of its Toyota job sites, Stanley Cup-style.

“We’re deeply humbled to be named Toyota’s top indirect supplier for 2022. For us, it’s a testament not only to our team, but to our partnership with Toyota that allows us to creatively solve problems together while meeting the highest standards for safety and quality,” said Barton.

In addition to the company’s hard work and overall excellence, Toyota also recognizes Aristeo for its steadfast efforts to elevate other diverse-owned businesses.

“After becoming WBE-certified, Aristeo started getting involved in mentoring and supporting other women-owned businesses. It’s a part of their personal pledge to develop other women-owned businesses, both in and outside the construction industry, to prepare them to work with global enterprises like Toyota,” said Liau.

One avenue that has helped Aristeo advance its supplier diversity goals is Opportunity Exchange, Toyota’s annual event offering targeted networking and educational opportunities for diverse businesses. The contractor looks forward to participating in this year’s event, to be held November 2 in Novi, Michigan.

“Opportunity Exchange helps Aristeo grow our pipeline of diverse prospective suppliers while reconnecting with Toyota and other partners. Last year, I spent three straight hours talking to people at our booth. There was consistent inbound traffic from suppliers and contractors who are interested in engaging with Aristeo,” says Martinelli.

Toyota is proud to highlight Aristeo, a partner who demonstrates that when companies lead with values, the possibilities are limitless.