New York’s construction industry isn’t slowing down. While the COVID-19 pandemic hampered public and private projects across the state, government officials and developers have pushed ahead to build and renovate major skyscrapers, highways, bridges, subway lines and airports. Gov. Kathy Hochul has ambitious projects, advancing the Interborough Express rapid transit project connecting Brooklyn and Queens as well as a redevelopment of Penn Station. Fueling the renewed flurry of construction activity are billions of dollars of federal infrastructure funding allocated to New York, helping jump-start long-delayed and badly needed projects such as the Second Avenue subway extension and the Gateway Program.
The Construction Power 100 – researched and written by City & State’s Kay Dervishi – highlights the influential contractors, architects, engineers, labor leaders, government officials and other experts who are responsible for New York’s evolving built environment.
Janno Lieber is well acquainted with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s capital projects. Having previously served as president of MTA Construction & Development, Lieber spearheaded the creation of the agency’s $51.5 billion capital program. Confirmed as head of the MTA in January, he plays a critical role in overseeing the whopping $6 billion in federal aid the agency received earlier this year. Among his priorities: extending the Second Avenue subway and moving ahead on the Brooklyn-Queens Interborough Express.
It’s been a big year for the revitalization of New York’s airports. Under Rick Cotton’s leadership, LaGuardia Airport finished its $4 billion project to renovate Terminal B. This dramatic improvement led an international panel of judges to declare it the “best new airport building in the world.” The Port Authority head has plenty more work in the pipeline to oversee, including wrapping up other renovations at LaGuardia and embarking on a $9.5 billion effort to transform Terminal One at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
New York’s construction workers have a powerful ally in Gary LaBarbera. He holds dual roles as president of the 200,000-member New York State Building & Construction Trades Council, a post he assumed last year, and as the longtime head of the 100,000-member New York City chapter. LaBarbera has backed Gov. Kathy Hochul’s emphasis on public infrastructure projects, such as renovating Penn Station and creating a new Interborough Express transit corridor. He is also an advocate for construction worker safety and recently denounced the prevalence of construction-related deaths in New York.
AECOM delivers a wide range of services on major infrastructure projects, from design and engineering to construction management – so it comes as no surprise that the firm ranks among the largest general contractors in New York City. With Jay Badame’s support, the powerhouse firm has used that expansive expertise to handle major projects in New York, including Hudson Yards and One Vanderbilt. The company is also set to assist with John F. Kennedy International Airport’s $9.5 billion Terminal One project.
Richard Kennedy directs Skanska’s construction work in the United States, which includes leading many of New York’s most prominent projects. Among his top priorities in recent months are the award-winning $4 billion redevelopment of Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport, which was unveiled in January, and serving as general contractor for the $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall. And until the LaGuardia AirTrain was put on hold, Skanska was one of four contenders shortlisted to handle the project.
Last year, Turner Construction Co. was the highest-earning general contractor not just in New York, but in the nation. Pat Di Filippo manages the company’s operations in much of the Northeast, including New York, where Turner is handling the construction of a 31-story commercial building at Two Penn Plaza. The firm is also taking a particular interest in one of the projects it’s helping to build at Hudson Yards, The Spiral, by relocating its global headquarters there.
As the real estate industry’s premier trade association, the Real Estate Board of New York plays an influential role in backing measures to revitalize construction in New York. James Whelan heads its efforts to get favorable policies passed in Albany and New York City. A report from the trade association in January revealed that construction in the five boroughs saw a major boost recently, but also highlighted the need for even more housing development.
Louis Coletti has been a go-to advocate for New York’s construction industry for decades, having headed the Building Trades Employers’ Association since 1997. His association has highlighted the various challenges facing contractors during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused a $9.8 billion loss for the broader industry. Coletti has called for policy changes to the procurement processes of both New York City and New York state to revitalize business in the area.
After having had his name floated as the next head of the New York City Economic Development Corp., Carlo Scissura is instead staying on as head of the New York Building Congress. He continues to focus on advocating for government leaders to more effectively direct federal infrastructure funds and on efforts to keep the construction industry thriving. One recent proposal Scissura has backed: using federal dollars to tear down the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
A huge influx of federal infrastructure funding headed New York’s way has major implications for the state Department of Transportation’s projects – and it will be Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez’s responsibility to use that funding most effectively. She is already overseeing major construction initiatives during the Hochul administration, such as a $216 million investment to rehabilitate and replace bridges across the state. If Hochul delivers on her promise to allocate $1 billion to repair potholes, Dominguez will be tasked with delivering on that as well.
About 250 general contractors and construction managers across the state turn to Michael Elmendorf for support and advocacy. As head of the Associated General Contractors of New York State, Elmendorf has prioritized getting the state’s elected officials to invest additional funding toward maintaining and revitalizing New York’s roads and bridges. He also joined other business leaders in criticizing a proposal from the state Climate Action Council that called for more than 90% of building space to be electrified by 2050.
Ralph Esposito joined Suffolk Construction in 2020 after more than two decades working at Lendlease, where he headed its construction division for the East Coast. The construction pro has had a hand in constructing the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and Columbia University’s expanded Manhattanville campus, among other major local projects. In addition to his work at Suffolk, Esposito became the New York Building Congress chair in February.
Gilbane selected John LaRow to lead its efforts in New York last fall. As senior vice president, he now oversees its construction operations in the region and the more than 440 professionals working on projects across the state. That ranges from building 1 Willoughby Square, a 495-foot office skyscraper in Brooklyn, to constructing a new home for the Buffalo AKG Art Museum in Western New York. Gilbane is also one of the contractors preparing a proposal to build a new jail complex in Chinatown.
Elizabeth Velez helms this second-generation construction company founded by her father in 1972, providing construction management and contracting services to notable projects across New York. Until recently, Velez also served as chair of the influential New York Building Congress, guiding the organization and its members through the COVID-19 pandemic. A staunch supporter of fellow women- and minority-owned business enterprises, Velez also joined the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board this year.
Tutor Perini Corp. has completed most of its work on the massive East Side Access project, which will connect the Long Island Rail Road directly to Grand Central Terminal when it opens to commuters later this year. Under Jack A. Frost’s oversight, Tutor Perini Corp. has handled many notable local projects, including 10 Hudson Yards and Newark Airport’s Terminal A. The New York City Department of Design and Construction issued an RFP to the firm to build a Brooklyn borough-based jail to partially replace Rikers Island.
Thomas Foley spent more than two decades at the New York City Department of Design and Construction before becoming its acting commissioner last year. Now leading the agency in a permanent capacity, Foley plays a key role overseeing all of New York City’s capital construction projects. Under his oversight, the city established its first floodgate to protect the Lower East Side from coastal flooding and has moved ahead on plans to build new borough-based jails to replace Rikers Island.
Having spent about two decades at the New York City School Construction Authority, Nina Kubota became the first Japanese American woman to lead the agency when she assumed the position of president and chief executive officer last year. Kubota will see 12 new buildings open this year, along with additions to seven centers for prekindergarten and three-year-old students. Kubota, who has been at SCA since 1998, is also overseeing a $178.9 million school building project in Woodside that will be the largest facility the agency has built to date.
The heavy civil construction industry has a staunch advocate in Robert Wessels. He serves as executive director for the General Contractors Association of New York, advocating for members’ needs before local and state governments. The association has consistently backed calls for government leaders to invest in the Gateway Program. And luckily for the group, a vital component of the plan, the Hudson Tunnel Project, is finally on track to begin construction.
Michael Neary and Eric McGovern, respectively, helm construction firms with a major impact in New York that fall under STO Building Group’s umbrella. Structure Tone and its subsidiary Pavarini McGovern ranked second among contractors in New York based on revenue. Neary has spent more than 35 years with Structure Tone, previously managing day-to-day operations associated with its business in New York. As head of Pavarini McGovern, McGovern has overseen a wide range of projects encompassing high-rise hotels, office buildings and other facilities.
Rich Cavallaro has spent a quarter century holding top positions at some of New York’s biggest and best known construction firms, such as Gilbane and Skanska. He brought that experience to The LiRo Group last March, soon after the company finalized a merger with Global Infrastructure Solutions. Under his leadership, The LiRo Group continues to handle high-profile endeavors in New York, including transforming Pier 76 into a public recreational space.
These two state lawmakers have spearheaded legislation in the past year that has major implications for New York’s construction industry. State Sen. Jessica Ramos and Assembly Member Latoya Joyner were behind a new law that makes construction contractors responsible for wage theft committed by their subcontractors. This measure was backed by numerous labor unions. Ramos sponsored another bill signed into law last year that created a registry of workplace fatalities in the construction industry.
Steven Sommer is now entering his second year overseeing Lendlease’s construction in New York. The Australia-based company has been at the forefront of numerous significant projects in the region. For example, the firm partnered with Turner Construction on the expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, adding 1.2 million square feet to the marquee event space. Lendlease also provided construction management services for Brooklyn Point in Downtown Brooklyn, which is now the second-tallest skyscraper in the borough.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams selected Rohit Aggarwala to lead the city Department of Environmental Protection in January, drawing on his experience in sustainability and city government. Aggarwala now oversees what is one of the largest construction agencies in the city, awarding more than $1 billion in contracts to manage the city’s water infrastructure. Aggarwala, who also serves as chief climate officer, will play a key role in implementing the law to cut carbon emissions in the city’s largest buildings.
J.T. Magen & Co. numbers among the top contractors in New York when it comes to alteration projects. As the company’s founder and chief executive officer, Maurice Regan has played a vital role in bolstering the firm’s reputation in the construction space over the years. J.T. Magen & Co. has served as general contractor for the One Wall Street project, the largest office-to-residential development constructed in New York City’s history.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has made major strides in contracting with minority- and women-owned business enterprises. Compared with other state agencies, it made the greatest number of payments to MWBEs in fiscal year 2021. That success can be credited to Michael Garner, who serves as chief diversity officer at the MTA. And with billions of federal infrastructure dollars headed to the MTA, Garner anticipates even more opportunities to engage with diverse contractors.
WSP USA ranks among New York’s largest engineering firms, pulling in $465 million in regional revenue in 2020. Bernard McNeilly is responsible for coordinating WSP USA’s operations and work in the state and the rest of the Northeast. In the past year, WSP USA delivered two major projects on behalf of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, helping bring Moynihan Train Hall and the East End Gateway to completion.
Ydanis Rodriguez is only months into heading the New York City Department of Transportation and has already come out with numerous projects to improve the city’s landscape. Rodriguez is spearheading plans to add 100 raised crosswalks each year to city streets to reduce traffic deaths and increase accessibility. A former City Council member from northern Manhattan and an ally of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Rodriguez also oversees other capital projects at the agency, such as repairing roadways and adding more bike lanes.
A park built on the pillars of the former Pier 55 in the Hudson River west of Manhattan, Little Island made waves when it opened to the public last year. As construction manager for the project, Hunter Roberts Construction Group had a major hand in completing the heralded space. James McKenna is the firm’s co-founder and an experienced civil engineer overseeing its work in the New York metropolitan area. Hunter Roberts secured a $43.1 million contract last year to prepare the site for a new borough-based jail in Queens.
Ashok Patel holds dual roles as CEO of OHLA USA and as president of its subsidiary, Judlau Contracting. The construction leader brings extensive experience in the transportation space, having previously spent more than two decades supporting capital construction at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. OHLA USA and Judlau Contracting served as the general contractor for a project replacing water siphons between Brooklyn and Staten Island, which was named one of the best projects in New York last year by the Engineering News-Record.
Peter Serpico heads this prominent construction management firm in New York, which has a hand in constructing and renovating hospitality, residential and educational buildings in the area. Over the past year, Omnibuild has wrapped up construction on the 45-story Hyatt Place New York Chelsea Hotel and completed a $30 million renovation of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. Serpico has led the company since 2015, following Omnibuild’s purchase of Cava Construction.
Halmar International landed a high-profile project this past year when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Construction & Development awarded the company a $1.85 billion design-build contract for the Penn Station Access project. The company’s leadership duo of Chris Larsen and Paul Atkins has made strides in bolstering Halmar’s reputation as a top contractor for large-scale transportation projects. The firm is also working on a project to reduce congestion on the Kew Gardens Interchange, expected to be completed later this year.
Mason Tenders’ District Council of Greater New York and Long Island fights for nearly 15,000 workers in New York, many of whom work in construction. Robert Bonanza coordinates with union members to promote the benefits of a unionized construction workforce and to advocate for pro-labor legislation that ensures construction sites maintain safety standards. He also plays a key role on the Mason Tenders’ District Council Political Action Committee that made numerous endorsements in New York City’s local elections last year.
The Women Builders Council is a vital resource for women in the male-dominated construction industry. Stephanie Burns serves as the association’s president, managing its efforts to promote professional development and advocate for pro-construction legislation. Under her leadership, the organization has doubled in size and established a diversity council. Burns is also vice president and director of workforce development and engagement at Turner Construction Co.
Joseph Chiarelli leads much of the Consigli Construction Co.’s work in the New York City metropolitan area, managing all project operations in the region. Chiarelli took on the role after Consigli acquired New York City-based T.G. Nickel & Associates in 2019. Consigli, which ranks among New York state’s highest-earning contractors, has worked on local projects such as the Essex Crossing Site 4 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Chiarelli also serves on the board of the Minority & Women Contractors & Developers Association.
Gensler is one of the most sought-after architecture firms in New York, a powerhouse in the field. Joseph Brancato and Robin Klehr Avia hold key positions at the company and support its expansive work in New York. Brancato is a co-managing principal for Gensler’s Northeast region and has brought the company into new markets in addition to chairing its board. Avia has significantly grown Gensler’s offices as well as directing many projects that have scored prestigious design awards. One major project that Gensler recently snagged: Designing John F. Kennedy International Airport’s $9.5 billion international terminal as part of a design-build team with AECOM Tishman.
José Luis Méndez Sánchez has spent the past decade at Dragados USA and has led the company in New York City as president since 2018. The contractor has developed a strong reputation for delivering on projects to construct and repair tunnels, dams, highways, bridges, ports and buildings. Dragados USA has worked on the Long Island Rail Road’s third track project and, before the project was put on pause, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey also had the firm shortlisted for the LaGuardia AirTrain project.
New York’s first offshore wind project finally began construction off the coast of Long Island in February. The Haugland Group’s affiliate, Haugland Energy Group, will play a key role in constructing the facility. It’s one of many major projects the contractor has snagged under William J. Haugland’s leadership. Haugland also is an active campaign donor who used to contribute to then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign. He and his family have since been behind Gov. Kathy Hochul’s effort to win a full term in office, collectively donating more than $200,000.
During his more than three decades working at Plaza Construction, Christopher Mills has accumulated plenty of experience working on major construction projects in the New York metropolitan area. Now the company president, he is focused on ensuring the success of its construction projects in New York City, which total more than 10 million total square feet. Plaza Construction played a major role in constructing numerous commercial and mixed-use buildings in Brooklyn Navy Yard and built the $1.4 billion MTA Fulton Transit Center.
Hope Knight plays a key role in boosting New York’s economy. As the president and CEO-designate of Empire State Development, that means investing in infrastructure and construction initiatives across the state. Empire State Development finances and supports a diverse range of affordable housing developments, energy facilities, transportation hubs and other projects. Knight brings with her previous experience as CEO of the Greater Jamaica Development Corp. and as commissioner of the New York City Planning Commission.
After his previous leading candidate for the position withdrew, New York City Mayor Eric Adams turned to Andrew Kimball to lead the New York City Economic Development Corp. The former Industry City leader now oversees a major job-creating institution that boasts a $3.7 billion five-year capital plan. One notable development the NYCEDC will play a key role in is the transformation of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal into an offshore wind port facility.
Mary-Jean Eastman and Bradford Perkins have transformed Perkins Eastman into a powerhouse global design firm since co-founding it in 1981. The company brings much of their expertise to large-scale projects in New York. That includes taking on the responsibility to design a proposed 800-foot residential skyscraper in Long Island City that would be the tallest building in Queens. The firm has grown in recent years under Eastman and Perkins’ leadership, including approved mergers with Pfeiffer Partners Architects and BLT Architects since last year.
Marc Herbst is one of the most prominent advocates for Long Island’s construction industry. Since 2006, he has headed the Long Island Contractors’ Association and represented its 170 members’ needs. Over the course of the past year, Herbst has called for greater investment to improve the region’s drainage system and celebrated the renewed repair work on Route 347 in Suffolk County. He also served on Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman’s transition team.
Joseph Geiger advocates for some 20,000 union carpenters in New York represented by the New York City and Vicinity District Council of Carpenters. In his leadership role, Geiger backed state legislation enacted last fall that makes general contractors liable for the wages of their subcontractors' employees. Geiger just helped keep a proposed renewal of the 421-a tax break out of the state budget and has criticized nonaccredited apprenticeships that he says leave participants underpaid.
Cheryl McKissack Daniel’s renowned construction company is part of the group that aimed to become the first majority-Black firm to build a skyscraper in New York City. However, the proposal hit a roadblock after the request for proposals was pulled. The fifth-generation leader brings more than three decades of experience to her eponymous company, which is working on the renovation of Terminal One at John F. Kennedy International Airport. McKissack Daniel’s life story has inspired Paramount+ to launch a television show based on it.
Kiewit Corp. has made a reputation as a top contractor for offshore projects. That made the Nebraska-based company a natural fit for Ørsted and Eversource’s venture to build New York’s first offshore wind farm. Kiewit has been tasked with designing and building the offshore substation for the project. Paul Geldmeier leads the company’s offshore wind power work, including this new venture in New York.
Bill Banfield supports carpenters across New York, overseeing efforts to help local unions in every corner of the state. As part of that work with the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Banfield has also called for more labor-friendly practices in the state’s construction industry. In January, he penned an op-ed in the Daily News denouncing “low pay, wage theft and illegal employment practices” in construction.
STV is the firm behind many large-scale projects in New York’s transportation arena. As part of a joint venture, the company served as construction manager for the redevelopment of Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport and designed plans for accessibility improvements in New York City’s subway system. Dominick M. Servedio has played a major role in driving STV’s success by providing planning, engineering, architectural and construction management services as chair.
The New York City Mayor’s Office of Contract Services has made strides in making the city’s procurement process more efficient. Lisa Flores, who took over the office in January, is focused on making it even smoother for businesses working with the city. New York City Mayor Eric Adams tasked the longtime city servant with identifying and removing “waste, fraud, and abuse” in city agencies. Flores is also focused on increasing opportunities for minority- and women-owned business enterprises.
The engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti is one of the largest engineering firms in New York City, and it has been a partner on high-profile Manhattan developments such as Times Square Tower, the Helmsley Building restoration and the Hudson Yards megaproject. Eli B. Gottlieb, the firm’s managing principal and co-leader of its work in the New York region, did the engineering work on the 10-acre platform built atop the rail yard at Hudson Yards.
Anthony E. Mann leads a third-generation family company with more than $4 billion worth of electric construction projects under its belt. The highest-earning specialty contractor in New York, E-J Electric Installation Co. raked in $650 million in regional revenue during 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Mann’s leadership, the firm has worked on notable projects such as the One Vanderbilt skyscraper and Moynihan Train Hall.
Fred Hiffa is a go-to lobbyist in New York’s transportation sector, with experience in highway construction, aviation, rail and transit. His previous work as first deputy commissioner at the state Department of Transportation and as an experienced Assembly staffer has given him valuable insight into state government. Rebuild New York and the New York Construction Materials Association number among the organizations that have relied on Hiffa’s expertise.
Peter Tully runs a family-owned construction company, bringing more than 30 years of experience in the industry. Tully Group has had a hand in a wide range of projects constructed for airports, highways, dams, reservoirs and treatment plants. In New York, the Flushing-based firm has worked on the Second Avenue subway’s 96th Street station and constructed a facility at the Newtown Creek Sewage Treatment Facility in Greenpoint.
For the past 15 years, William Goodrich has helmed one of New York state’s highest-earning contractors. LeChase Construction Services is behind many notable projects in Western New York, where the powerhouse construction firm is based. It serves as construction manager for Highland Hospital’s vertical expansion project and recently finished Niagara University’s project to renovate its recreation facilities. Looking toward the rest of the year, Goodrich is optimistic about future construction for the health care, education and commercial sectors.
Construction is a male-dominated field, but organizations such as Professional Women in Construction play an important role in ensuring it doesn’t stay that way. Nicole Dosso heads the organization’s board of directors in its New York chapter, overseeing its efforts to offer professional development opportunities to members. An architect at Vornado Realty Trust, Dosso has 25 years of experience under her belt handling tough projects in New York City, including One World Trade Center and 35 Hudson Yards.
Carl Galioto holds dual roles as HOK’s president and as the managing principal of its New York and Philadelphia studios. That puts him at the forefront of many of the architecture, engineering and planning firm’s biggest projects in New York City. HOK joined WSP USA in handling the architecture and engineering responsibilities associated with LaGuardia Airport’s $8 billion Terminal B renovation. Galioto has also overseen New York-area projects such as the NewYork-Presbyterian David H. Koch Care Center.
State Sen. Leroy Comrie oversees the state’s public authorities, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Port Authority. That role gives him key insight into New York’s transportation projects and their progress. He joined other lawmakers in pushing the Port Authority and Gov. Kathy Hochul to drop the controversial LaGuardia AirTrain project. Comrie also headed hearings last year on East Side Access, the MTA’s largest capital project.
While New York City Mayor Eric Adams still mulls over who to appoint as commissioner of the New York City Department of Buildings, Constadino “Gus” Sirakis is heading up the agency in an acting capacity. He has worked with the agency since 2006, having served recently as executive director of technical affairs. Sirakis is also spearheading efforts to revise the city’s construction codes to help building owners better comply with the rules.
The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t slowed down the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. Last year, DASNY completed construction projects totaling $312 million for higher education and health care institutions across the state. That includes everything from implementing new stormwater protections in Queens to renovating SUNY Plattsburgh’s Kent Hall in northern New York. Reuben McDaniel III has overseen its financing, designing and building of major projects in New York.
Since Nelson Ferreira founded Ferreira Construction Co. 34 years ago, the firm has transformed into a national contractor with offices across five states. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Jersey-based company generated about $580 million in revenue in 2020. Ferreira has continued to be a major player in New York’s construction landscape, securing work with Con Edison, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
SOM has been shaping New York City’s skyline for decades. And under T.J. Gottesdiener’s direction, the company’s architects, designers, engineers and planners continue to deliver on large-scale projects in the region. Last year, SOM unveiled plans to build a 1,646-foot-tall skyscraper replacing the old Grand Hyatt Hotel near Grand Central Terminal. The firm is also behind proposals to renovate the 1950s Lever House skyscraper in midtown Manhattan and the designs for the New York City Public Health Laboratory in Harlem.
Michael Zetlin is one of the premier construction attorneys in New York. His experience as a civil engineer and lawyer gives him the know-how to navigate complex litigation and arbitration, as well as contract negotiations for his clients. In addition to serving as senior partner at Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, Zetlin is also general counsel to the New York Building Congress and to the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Michael Prohaska leads Laborers’ Local 79 and is interim executive director of the Greater New York Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust. He opposes “body shops,” or businesses that funnel low-wage workers into nonunion construction jobs, arguing that they exploit formerly incarcerated New Yorkers. Thanks in part to Laborers’ Local 79’s push, the New York City Council passed legislation in November regulating these businesses to prevent such exploitation.
HNTB, which marks its 100th anniversary in New York this year, has built some of the biggest transportation projects in New York in recent years, including the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge – the largest bridge project in the state’s history – and the Kosciuszko Bridge. Phil Brake leads the company’s work in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, overseeing 800 professionals. Brake has been with HNTB for two decades, bringing extensive planning, engineering and construction management experience.
Sir David Adjaye’s work spans the globe. The architect’s practice hosts studios in Accra, Ghana, London and New York City. He took on a high-profile proposal to build an inverted skyscraper in Hudson Yards, which would have been the first skyscraper in the city built by a group of majority Black-owned companies. And while the project may no longer be coming to fruition, Adjaye remains active in the region. The residential building at 130 William St., which he designed, was recently completed.
Then-Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. launched the office’s Construction Fraud Task Force in 2015 to investigate crime in the construction industry. Rachana Pathak took over as head of the task force last year, managing its investigations into unsafe worksites, fraud, bid-rigging and other forms of corruption. She recently handled the prosecution of a case in which a city contractor allegedly evaded $1 million in insurance premiums.
GPI is one of New York’s largest design firms, boasting about $166 million in annual regional revenue and employing more than 200 workers in New York. Christer Ericsson has helmed the Long Island-based company for four years and oversees many big projects in the area. In 2020, it secured its largest engineering design contract yet: working with the state Department of Transportation on the Hunts Point Interstate Access Improvement Project.
Nigel Nicholls heads the New York office for Arup, one of the region’s highest-profile engineering and design firms. One of the company’s most headline-grabbing projects this past year was Little Island, a $260 million park built atop columns on the Hudson River. Arup has also worked on major projects such as the first phase of the Second Avenue subway in Manhattan and the creation of the Fulton Transit Center.
Harrison & Burrowes Bridge Constructors is a major bridge contractor in New York, pulling in around $50 million in revenue each year. Jeff DiStefano leads the 42-year-old company and manages its projects spanning across the state. The firm had a hand in replacing six bridges in Ulster County and seven bridges on Route 73 in Essex County. Harrison & Burrowes recently secured an $84.3 million contract from the New York State Thruway Authority for bridge replacement and rehabilitation in Onondaga County.
Joseph D’Amato fights for excavators and other construction workers in New York as business manager for the Building, Concrete, Excavating & Common Laborers' Local 731. He leads a union whose 5,000 members span much of New York City as he negotiates labor-friendly agreements on their behalf. A longtime union member, D’Amato has headed Laborers' Local 731 for more than two decades and also serves on the executive board of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.
The Walsh Group and its subsidiaries are best known for their work in the Midwest, particularly in Chicago. But this 124-year-old national contractor is no stranger to big projects in New York, most notably collaborating with Skanska USA on the design and construction of LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. As co-chair of the Walsh Group, Matthew Walsh has been responsible for transforming the company into a major civil contractor.
The surge of COVID-19 cases in New York City during the early days of the pandemic left New York City Health + Hospitals needing to increase the number of available beds. Christine Flaherty played a key part in expanding the needed capacity for the public health system and was recognized last fall by the National Association of Minority Contractors for her efforts. As head of the Office of Facilities Development, Flaherty manages all of the health system’s real estate, planning, design and construction responsibilities across the five boroughs.
Sandra Wilkin is one of New York City’s most prominent women in construction. And she has used her position to advocate for other businesses owned by women and people of color, particularly in her former role as president of the Women Builders Council. Under her leadership, the Bradford Construction Corp. has successfully delivered on projects in New York, including by providing construction management services for Stony Brook University’s Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center, and compliance services to the Moynihan Station Development Corp.
The Rev. Jacques DeGraff has made it a priority to support and advocate for minority-owned business enterprises. He chairs the MBE Leadership Summit, a coalition of business leaders and civil rights organizations in New York City, and has backed calls for state legislators to pass measures increasing opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses. His group backed three candidates in New York City’s mayoral election last year, including eventual victor Eric Adams.
The Building & Realty Institute is Westchester’s premier trade association advocating on behalf of builders in the region. Lisa DeRosa took over as the organization’s president in 2021, becoming its first female president in 75 years and bringing with her experience as head of DeRosa Builders. In the past year, the BRI has partnered with nonprofits in Westchester to call on state lawmakers to push forward legislation that would increase the housing supply in the county.
Bravo is a cooperative of four companies delivering a wide range of architectural, engineering and construction management services in New York. Ehab Shehata helms the organization, which recently brought Batska Consulting into the fold alongside Velocity Architecture & Engineering Group, Chu & Gassman Consulting Engineers and Bradford Construction. Bravo Group has had a hand in restoration work at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and renovations at John Dewey High School in Brooklyn.
George Leventis serves as managing principal in Langan’s New York City office, overseeing its wide range of engineering services for skyscrapers and residential and industrial buildings. The company has been increasingly active in the region, including working as the civil and geotechnical engineer for 425 Park Ave., a 47-story commercial development in midtown. It is also supporting the construction of The Alloy Block, a complex in Downtown Brooklyn.
Barbara Armand Kushner founded Armand Corp. some three decades ago, growing it into an influential minority- and women-owned business enterprise handling commercial, residential, educational and transportation projects across New York City. Her construction management firm has regularly coordinated with government institutions such as the New York City Economic Development Corp., the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the New York City Department of Design and Construction. New York City Mayor Eric Adams also selected her to serve on his transition team last year.
This year marks Granite Construction’s 100th anniversary – a notable feat for what started out as a small construction company in California. The firm can now be found working in much of the United States, to the tune of about $4 billion in projects. Kyle Larkin has headed Granite Construction since 2020; he has been with the company for nearly 25 years. In New York, Granite Construction has worked on the Kosciuszko Bridge replacement project and on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
Kenneth Thomas, alongside Jason Cintron, co-founded the Minority & Women Contractors & Developers Association to help member companies advance and grow. The real estate professional now serves as the association’s executive director, overseeing its efforts to build capacity for businesses owned by women and people of color. The organization partners with government agencies, banks and contractors such as Turner Construction to deliver that support to its members.
Unicorn Construction specializes in transportation and infrastructure initiatives across New York City. Its work is spearheaded by Sanjeev Dhawan, who founded the company 25 years ago. The general contractor has completed more than 100 projects during that time and has delivered work on behalf of the New York City School Construction Authority, the city Department of Transportation, Con Edison and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, among other entities.
Weeks Marine has been behind many marine construction projects in New York. That includes constructing the unique pier structure supporting Little Island, the $260 million recreational park on top of the Hudson River that opened last year. But the company also handles less flashy endeavors, such as constructing a new marine terminal in the Bronx. The marine contractor’s success can be attributed in no small part to Richard S. Weeks, who serves as chair and CEO.
A civil engineer by trade, Nayan Parikh helms Ashnu International Corp., a general contracting and construction management company based in New York City. Last year, his firm secured a contract to handle demolition, partitions and concrete work needed to create new health centers responding to COVID-19. Parikh is also a leader in advancing minority- and women-owned business enterprises and serves as the president of the New York Tri-State Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors.
Nontraditional Employment for Women is one of the few organizations dedicated to training women in underserved communities for careers in the building and construction trades. Since 2005, the nonprofit has placed more than 3,000 participants into careers as carpenters, electricians, ironworkers, laborers and plumbers. Kathleen Culhane has played a key role in driving the organization’s success in diversifying the construction industry. She also wrote in favor of the New York Blood Center’s new development in June, touting the job opportunities for construction workers.
For about 30 years, Samuel Padilla has headed his eponymous construction company and delivered on a wide array of projects. Padilla Construction Services, an MWBE-certified firm, has provided construction and engineering services to a broad range of government agencies, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New York City School Construction Authority. The company has been involved in building the United Nations’ screening building and, more recently, a public school in East Harlem.
Mitchell Pally heads one of the state’s largest associations for the home construction industry. General contractors, developers and other building professionals rely on his group to advocate for their legislative priorities on Long Island and in Albany. Pally is particularly well-equipped to handle state government, having previously served as a state senator. In the past year, he has opposed a new state law that makes contractors liable for wage theft by their subcontractors.
Edwin L. Christian serves as the business manager for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 14-14B, which represents workers who operate heavy machinery for New York’s biggest construction projects. He has fought for operating engineers for more than 30 years as an active union member, having also spent nearly a decade as the union’s president. Christian is also on the executive boards of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and the New York City Central Labor Council.
Patrick Purcell Jr. serves as executive director of the New York State Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust. In that role, he oversees a partnership between the Laborers' International Union of North America locals and management at construction companies to advance their goals, providing worker education and government relations support. In February, Purcell published a Gotham Gazette op-ed backing state-level legislation that would require workers to be paid a prevailing wage when they need to open up streets to conduct utility work.
Scott Snyder heads the New York State Builders Association, representing builders, remodelers and suppliers across the state. The organization has been active in lobbying Gov. Kathy Hochul to allow homeowners to more easily build accessory dwelling units. In the lead-up to those efforts, it also contributed $10,000 to Hochul’s campaign. The New York State Builders Association was also active in opposing a now-passed law that makes contractors liable for wages withheld by their subcontractors.
New York’s construction industry has faced notable labor shortages in the past year. David Meade of Building Skills New York has been trying to combat that, developing a partnership with Bronx Community College during the summer to provide workers training in electrical work, plumbing and carpentry. His organization also collaborated with Brookfield Properties to get more workers from the South Bronx hired for its development in Mott Haven.
The American Council of Engineering Companies of New York represents about 300 companies made up of civil, structural, electrical, mechanical, environmental and geotechnical engineers. John T. Evers has served as the association’s president and CEO since July, bringing with him extensive experience in government affairs. In the fall, the organization expressed concern about a state-level bill to require all new buildings to be fully electrified by 2024, arguing the timeline is too short.
One Vanderbilt holds the distinction of being New York City’s fourth-tallest structure. Severud Associates played a key role in getting the 67-story building built, having provided structural engineering services for the $1.4 billion project. It’s just one of many projects that have fallen under Ed DePaola’s purview as Severud’s president and CEO. He has overseen engineering support for numerous commercial, medical, residential and office buildings in New York.
Kenn Jones’ dual experience as a licensed architect and nonprofit manager makes him well-equipped to run the Salvadori Center, a nonprofit organization that provides educational programs in science, technology, engineering, arts and math to New York City youth, with a focus on the built environment. Under his leadership, the organization has received broad support from professionals from New York’s top construction, engineering, real estate and architectural firms.
Since its founding in 1994, the ACE Mentor Program of Greater New York has prepared more than 14,000 students in New York City for careers in architecture, engineering and construction. Sue Veres Royal serves as the organization’s executive director, overseeing the free after-school program, which primarily serves students from underrepresented communities. Many of New York’s top contractors and design firms support its efforts.
Deborah Bradley founded her construction company nearly 30 years ago, after participating in training programs and joining organizations that support women contractors. Since then, she has built up Deborah Bradley Construction & Management Services into a player in New York City’s construction realm, working regularly with the New York City School Construction Authority and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. Her company has also partnered with top construction management firms such as Turner Construction and Skanska USA.
Workers who die on construction sites in New York are disproportionately undocumented immigrants, nonunionized and Latino. New Immigrant Community Empowerment, an advocacy organization for immigrant workers, has been vocal in calling for state and local leaders to do more to protect immigrant workers in the construction industry. The group also backed an anti-wage theft bill that Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law last year. Diana Moreno has served as the head of the organization since her predecessor, Manuel Castro, joined the Adams administration.
Kieran Ahern heads the New York Structural Steel Painters Contractors Association, a 48-year-old organization that represents companies involved in the structural steel painting industry. The association’s members paint everything from subway lines to New York’s bridges and electrical towers. Its projects include providing a fresh paint job to the New York State Pavilion and a new coating system for the Brooklyn Bridge. As part of its responsibilities, the organization also negotiates with the union for painters and other members’ workers.
Plenty of construction in New York’s capital region is spearheaded by MLB Construction Services. As the firm’s executive vice president, Scott Shepherd plays a key role in driving its projects forward and maintaining its reputation in the area. The company is currently working on a $16 million renovation of Glens Falls National Bank’s headquarters. In the past, it handled general construction to restore Saratoga Springs City Hall.
The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health advocates for safe workplaces in the state, with a mandate to improve conditions in the construction industry. A report from the organization released in February showed New York City’s construction fatality rate decreasing – but still higher than the national average. Charlene Obernauer and her team have pushed for legislation to bolster the state’s Scaffold Safety Law, which makes owners and contractors liable if an employee falls and is injured without protective equipment.
More than 500 professionals from New York’s most influential structural engineering and design firms serve as members of the Structural Engineers Association of New York. The association’s work supporting structural engineers is overseen by Eugene Kim, who serves as the group’s president. He is also an associate partner at Gilsanz Murray Steficek and has worked on projects such as the redevelopment at 280 Park Avenue and the construction of the Moise Safra Center in Manhattan.
Angelo Angelone’s work with the Cement and Concrete Workers District Council dates back to 1986. In the ensuing 36 years, he rose through the ranks of the union, becoming president and business manager in 2016. Angelone now fights on behalf of more the 3,000 members across the council’s three locals and has advocated for measures promoting construction safety and protecting workers’ wages.
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