Our History

Main Line Contractor John Zerbato

John Zerbato

ZMI Builders History

Main Line – Philadelphia Contractors With Lots of Experience

John Zerbato was always interested in carpentry work and construction. His father was a carpenter and he loved to go to work with his dad. He worked construction jobs in the summers starting at age 13 doing labor work and being a carpenter’s helper.

During college, he worked 30 hours a week plus the summers as a carpenter. Upon graduation from Villanova University on the Main Line, John worked for a framing and remodeling contractor along with doing side work on his own with the hope of eventually going into business for himself.

Like John, Lon Marcelli grew up in the construction business. His father was a mason and expected Lon and his (4) brothers to work in the masonry business. Lon too started work at the age of 13 after school and during the summers as a laborer until he received his baptism by fire.

One day his father told him that he had labored long enough and it was time to become a bricklayer. He sent him up on a scaffold and told him to finish the last 10 feet of a chimney. A bricklayer was born. Lon changed careers in 1982 and became a superintendent for a builder.

In 1983, John went on his own and started G. John Zerbato Inc. He did additions and renovations along with the entire interior finish work for mainline builder Lou Fanelli. It was here that he met Lou Fanelli’s superintendent Lon Marcelli. Lon’s area of expertise was construction management, and he to wanted to go into his own business also. They became friends and in 1990, they became partners along with changed the name of the company to Zerbato-Marcelli Inc.

Over the next years, Lon and John proceeded to build over 25 new houses along with high-end renovations, additions, carpentry work, kitchens, baths as well as small jobs and repairs. They never forgot where they came from and they still work with the tools along with years of experience they have gained. In 2012, we will be starting our 29th year.

We were doing a job recently that required the removal of several interior bearing walls and the installation of (4) steel beams, one of them weighing close to 1000 pounds. There were pipes, wires, heat ducts, brick walls, and columns, all of which we had to work around. After we installed the 1000-pound beam through a kitchen, a bath, a family room, around a sewer line and under a brick wall, Lon looked at John and said, “These people are so lucky to have us”.

John Zerbato lives in West Chester along with his wife Eleanor. They have (4) children. He likes to garden and cook but his passion is his model train collection and outdoor layout.

Lon Marcelli lives in Havertown. He has (2) daughters. Lon likes the Phillies, cooking, and spending time at his place at the shore.

Lon Marcelli

Lon Marcelli