With the pandemic’s worst, most economy-crushing days in the rear-view mirror and the Build Back Better taps being turned on, it’s a good time to be part of Pennsylvania’s construction industry. From highway projects to skyscrapers, campus expansions to home renovations, there is no mistaking the power and presence of this rejuvenated sector.
The aggregation of accomplishment that follows highlights the influential contractors, architects, engineers, labor leaders, government officials and other experts who are responsible for Pennsylvania’s ever-evolving built environment.
The City & State 2023 Construction Power 100 was researched and written by City & State staff and freelance writer Hilary Danailova.
Third-generation executive Hal Yoh heads one of America’s largest private companies – Day & Zimmermann, a Philadelphia-based multinational whose services include construction, engineering, maintenance, staffing and defense. From his Spring Garden headquarters, Yoh, who assumed the top job in 1999, steers the 122-year-old family business he has grown to 150-plus global locations and $2.7 billion in annual revenue. Yoh also chairs the Philadelphia Airport Advisory Board and serves on the executive committee for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.
The nation’s largest privately held building material supplier is in the hands of Maggie Hardy, who has led 84 Lumber, the Pittsburgh-area family business, for 31 years. As building materials prices have soared, Hardy has steered the company to record sales: Revenue more than doubled from $3.8 billion in 2020 to $8.75 billion last year at the firm’s hundreds of retail outlets across 35 states. Hardy, a high-profile Republican donor, also oversees the family’s AAA Four Diamond-rated Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington.
Since 2019, Tim O’Brien has shared the role of CEO with Jake Ploeger at the PJ Dick, Trumbull and Lindy Group. O’Brien had previously served as president of Trumbull Energy Services. Prior to that, he managed construction for the three-pronged Pittsburgh enterprise, which includes PJ Dick’s $9 billion construction management business, Trumbull’s $3 billion heavy highway and civil construction outfit, and Lindy Paving, Western Pennsylvania’s largest asphalt contractor.
Co-CEO Jake Ploeger has been with the company since 2009, joining as a construction manager before becoming president at PJ Dick, a firm with $9 billion in vertical construction to its credit. Ploeger is also now responsible for Trumbull Corporation, which has built 200 bridges over the past decade, as well as Lindy Paving, which continues to be the Allegheny region’s largest producer of asphalt.
Employee safety is a guiding principle for Ross Myers, who heads Allan Myers, his family’s third-generation transportation construction firm. Under Myers’ leadership, the Worcester-based company has boasted an OSHA incident rate less than a quarter of the national average for its industry, thanks to Myers’ insistence on hard hats and other safety measures. Myers also led the recent consolidation of his family business with two other construction companies, and has racked up numerous industry awards for asphalt paving projects.
As his fifth-generation, family-owned business closes in on its first century, Paul Detwiler III continues the family tradition of building and maintaining commonwealth roads. He heads New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co., a privately held construction materials supplier and highway contractor whose projects have included the Pennsylvania Turnpike,
PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field. Under Detwiler’s leadership, New Enterprise recently acquired Hempt Bros., a construction materials producer in Pennsylvania and Western New York.
A fifth-generation Gilbane family member, Regional President Paul Choquette III has led the Rhode Island-based Gilbane Building Company’s business expansion across the mid-Atlantic region. His leadership helped the 153-year-old firm, which has more than 3,000 employees, bring in $6.5 billion in U.S. building revenue last year. Choquette, who joined the company in 2001, has worked in roles from purchasing and scheduling to field operations and currently oversees the company’s national suite of public-private partnerships.
From the FMC Tower and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Buerger Center to Lincoln Financial Field, Chris Beck has helped shape the landscape of Philadelphia. He is a senior vice president at Turner Construction, overseeing regional preconstruction and construction management services for the multinational firm. Beck, a Bucks County native who holds an engineering degree from Lafayette College, previously managed Philadelphia business and the mid-Atlantic division for Turner.
Most of the Cleveland Brothers leadership team – including CEO Jay Cleveland Jr. – has been with the central Pennsylvania company for decades. It’s a testament to the culture of safety and mentorship that Cleveland, a three-decade industry veteran, fosters at the construction equipment business founded by his grandfather and great-uncle in 1937. Today, Cleveland oversees a well-known CAT equipment dealer with locations throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia that rent, sell and service heavy equipment.
After making history in 2021 as the first-ever Black leader of the influential Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, Business Manager Ryan Boyer has prioritized diversification for both the union and the industry. Boyer recently led the council’s participation in “Everybody Builds,” a collaborative effort to hire a more diverse workforce for Philadelphia construction projects. He also spearheaded a historic partnership with Bucks County Community College to create an 11-week apprenticeship course, offering students a new entry into the building trades.
Fifth-generation builder Greg Butz heads his family’s construction management business, the Butz Family of Companies, where his father chairs the board and his sons are also on the leadership team. Butz’s commercial and civic roots go deep in the Lehigh Valley, where his forebears designed and built the region’s signature covered bridges. More recently, Butz has overseen an expanded suite of companies and projects like Penn State’s Beaver Stadium, Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center, and the PPL Center in downtown Allentown.
James Daley has guided JJ White since 1985, assuming the presidency last year after overseeing operations for nearly four decades at the Philadelphia-based contractor. He started as a union steamfitting apprentice and now oversees a 103-year-old company that evolved from mechanical contracting to construction and construction management, HVAC, electrical and solar, and other services for the industry. Daley has also guided the firm’s expansion from the mid-Atlantic into New England and across the Midwest.
Since taking over leadership of IPS in 2007, Dave Goswami has tripled the size of the Philadelphia-area multinational company. The India-born entrepreneur, named Ernst & Young’s Greater Philadelphia Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018, now heads a firm with locations in 10 countries and offerings ranging from life sciences consulting to construction management, architectural and engineering services. Under Goswami’s leadership, IPS recently absorbed Linesight, a project management operation with 3,000 global professionals in 17 countries.
Mack Stulb heads LF Driscoll, a construction firm repeatedly ranked as No. 1 regionally by the Philadelphia Business Journal, becoming president in 2005 and CEO in 2021. Stulb has guided the construction of Penn Medicine’s high-profile new Pavilion, a $1.5 billion, 1.5 million-square-foot project, as well as Jefferson Health’s Honickman Center, a 462,000-square-foot ambulatory care facility, and the patient tower expansion at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a 1.3 million-square-foot, 27-floor building. Stulb is a longtime fixture on the General Building Contractors Association board of directors.
Since becoming president of the Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council last summer, Robert Bair has championed tighter workplace safety regulations and cheered the construction opportunities created by solar energy grants and other infrastructure projects. Bair, who was previously the business manager of IBEW Local 143, a Harrisburg electricians’ union, now represents tens of thousands of construction workers through his coalition of 16 regional councils. He also served on the workforce development subcommittee for Gov. Josh Shapiro’s transition team.
Since becoming the first Latino to serve as business manager for a major Southeast Pennsylvania union in 2016, Esteban Vera Jr. has been a visible advocate for workers, getting the labor vote out across Philadelphia in last November’s midterm elections. Vera, a U.S. Army veteran, is also the first Latino to serve on SEPTA’s board. As head of Laborers Union Local 57, Vera represents 3,000 mostly Black and Latino construction workers and has become a vocal proponent of diversity in the building trades.
Robert Cottone’s construction career dates, amazingly, to Conestoga High School in Berwyn, where he started his own general contracting firm. He’s still going strong nearly 50 years later, having spent nearly four decades guiding Malvern-based IMC Construction, the Philadelphia area’s second-largest commercial contractor, with an annual construction volume of more than $500 million. Cottone is also president of Citadel National Construction Group, a commercial construction firm with revenues exceeding $5.8 billion, offices in major cities nationwide and numerous services and sectors.
Since joining the Philadelphia builder INTECH in 2004, Phil Moses has worked on projects for the city’s most iconic institutions, including the Museum of the American Revolution, the Philadelphia 76ers and the University of Pennsylvania. Moses, a civil engineer who became president in 2021, is currently overseeing INTECH’s addition to the storied Walnut Street Theatre and neighborhood-defining developments in West Philadelphia. Under his leadership, INTECH has garnered numerous awards from the General Building Contractors Association and the Engineering News-Record.
John Mascaro Jr., who heads the Pittsburgh-based construction firm started by his father, is motivated by a passion rivaled only by his love of football. Whatever the Steelers are up to, Mascaro makes sure his clients in the buildings, industrial, power, bridge and highway and other construction markets are fans. He does this – to the tune of $350 million in annual revenue – with a staff of 175 full-time professionals and nearly 500 field employees.
Half of Target Building’s co-founding team in 1990, Rich Goodman currently serves as the company’s CEO and chairs its board of directors. His is the vision that guides strategy, growth and development for the Crum Lynne-based contracting and construction management firm, which specializes in commercial, health care and other institutional markets throughout the commonwealth, New Jersey and Delaware. Under Goodman’s leadership, Target has worked on projects with a collective value exceeding $650 million – all while maintaining a stellar safety rating.
Experienced entrepreneur Steve Muck has launched or acquired nearly two dozen businesses over his career – focusing largely on various aspects of construction, from niche markets to novel technologies and logistics. His current portfolio includes Advantage Steel and Construction, a bridge specialist, as well as the Brayman Construction Corporation, a heavy civil and geotechnical contractor. From his Saxonburg headquarters, Muck also chairs Advanced Construction Robotics, an award-winning venture he co-founded six years ago, and heads Specialty Underwater Services, a marine construction outfit.
Roads, rails and all manner of transport are the purview of Michael Carroll, a seasoned public servant and Pennsylvania’s newly installed acting secretary of transportation. Carroll served eight terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he was the Democratic chair of the House Transportation Committee from 2018 to 2022, and previously was the legislative liaison for PennDOT under then-Gov. Robert Casey. Carroll currently serves on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the State Transportation Commission, the State Planning Board and the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, among others.
Philadelphia native Ben Connors heads the General Building Contractors Association, leading advocacy on behalf of the region’s builders and managing organizational assets. He previously oversaw the association’s government relations and, prior to that, spent five years working at the U.S. House of Representatives. Connors, an attorney, currently serves on the boards of the Center for Architecture and Design, the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia and the Associated General Contractors of America’s executive leadership committee.
As executive secretary-treasurer of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, William Sproule advocates for projects like the proposed 76 Place Market East Arena development – anticipated to create thousands of construction jobs for Sproule’s 14,000 union members in the Delaware Valley. Sproule also heads day-to-day operations for local unions representing 42,000 carpenters across the mid-Atlantic, as well as serving on the board of the New Jersey Building Authority and as a vice president at the New Jersey State Building & Construction Trades Council.
Jim Lane, a University of Pittsburgh-trained civil engineer, serves as vice president for preconstruction at Skanska USA. He worked at LF Driscoll before joining the stateside branch of Skanska, a Swedish development outfit with $7 billion in American annual revenue. Lane oversees Skanska’s ambitious projects across the U.S., including, currently, terminal projects for the Philadelphia and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airports and the second phase of New York City’s Moynihan Train Hall.
Nancy Walker comes from a family of steelworkers and teachers, and she brings that labor consciousness to her new role as acting secretary of the State Department of Labor and industry. In 2017, Walker served as the first-ever chief deputy attorney general for that state office’s newly created Fair Labor section, advocating for the rights of workers and law-abiding employers across the commonwealth. Walker, a University of Pittsburgh School of Law graduate, previously had a private practice in labor and employment law.
As business manager of Steamfitters Local 420, James Snell represents Philadelphia plumbers, welders and HVAC technicians in a union chapter affiliated with UA, the North American Steamfitters union. The longtime labor activist advocates for policy and employment favorable to his membership, including opportunities on Pennsylvania’s gas pipelines. Snell is also responsible for the union’s benefits and its training program, which ensures a steady pipeline of pipefitters for the infrastructure needs of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia-based Stan Niemczak heads operations for the buildings and infrastructure Americas division at Jacobs, overseeing the multinational infrastructure firm’s projects in Pennsylvania and Delaware. His recent projects include the Longfellow Real Estate Partners research and manufacturing building for the University of Pennsylvania’s Pennovation Works, design management for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission I-276/I-95 interchange, and work on the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority Tunnel Management Program. Niemczak, who has degrees in civil engineering from Drexel and Villanova universities, previously worked for the City of Philadelphia.
The commonwealth’s new building chief is Reggie McNeil II, who was appointed by Gov. Josh Shapiro as acting secretary of general services, responsible for state buildings and procurement. McNeil, a U.S. Navy veteran and engineer by training, was previously the chief operating officer for the School District of Philadelphia, where he oversaw capital projects, facilities, maintenance and transportation. In that role, McNeil spearheaded three school buildings and guided myriad construction and environmental projects for a district with an aging, troubled infrastructure.
Industry veteran James Van Buren heads PennStress, a division of the MacInnis Group that manufactures prestressed and precast concrete products. He also runs his own private equity company and consulting firm, JVB Ventures, which specializes in manufactured products for the heavy and highway construction industry, and is a managing director and principal at Generational Transfer Entrepreneurs, a Pittsburgh-area coalition that helps owners transfer their companies. With all these endeavors, it’s little surprise that Van Buren shares his insights as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Carnegie Mellon University.
At P. Agnes, Pat Pasquariello III heads the fourth-generation Gladwyne construction company his family founded in 1918. Among his firm’s many large-scale Philadelphia-area projects are the AtlantiCare Medical Arts Pavilion, Temple University’s Anderson Hall renovation and the Biomeme headquarters and research space. The latter was recently named the best adaptive reuse project by the General Building Contractors Association, where Pasquariello chairs the labor policy committee, serves as treasurer of the executive committee and was recently honored with the 2023 Distinguished Director Award.
Twenty years ago, Emily Bittenbender founded Bittenbender Construction, which remains one of very few women-owned, union-affiliated general contractors in the Philadelphia region. Specializing in new construction, interior renovations and greenspace projects, the firm recently remodeled The Public Health Management Corporation’s new Market Street headquarters in the historic Provident Building. Bittenbender currently sits on the executive committees of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and the General Building Contractors Association.
From preconstruction planning to designing and building, M. Dean Mosites guides clients through the process of realizing their visions. He leads the building division of his eponymous family business, a Pittsburgh construction and development company that traces its roots to Mosites’ great-grandfather, a Greek immigrant who began contracting for painting work in 1917. Under Mosites’ supervision, the company has been recognized by Engineering News-Record, the American Society of Civil Engineers and other industry groups for project excellence.
The Delaware River’s bridges and transit infrastructure are supervised by John Hanson, who came to the Delaware River Port Authority 21 years ago as a commissioner and has been its CEO since 2014. Hanson oversees an agency with a $117 million operating budget and oversight of the four bridges connecting Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as the Port Authority Transit Corporation, which shuttles commuters across the region. Hanson previously held leadership positions with the New Jersey Department of Commerce under then-Gov. Christine Todd Whitman.
At Cozen O’Connor’s Philadelphia office, Bruce Ficken and Raymond DeLuca co-chair the firm’s construction law group, representing clients in construction and commercial litigation and consulting on all aspects of the construction process.
Ficken has served as lead counsel for more than 60 major U.S. trials. An arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, he has resolved major construction disputes both nationally and internationally and co-authored several definitive volumes on construction law.
DeLuca, a one-time design professional with an architecture degree, brings that additional perspective to his work litigating construction claims and representing owners, contractors and design professionals.
Lifelong Philadelphian Al Chadwick is proud of his contribution to the city’s most iconic buildings. Chadwick is the founder of A.T. Chadwick, a 54-year-old mechanical contracting firm responsible for some 5,000 projects around the region – including the plumbing and HVAC systems for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Buerger Center, air conditioning at the Please Touch Museum and plumbing at the Comcast Building. Under Chadwick’s leadership, the company has expanded to more than 250 employees, with services including lean construction, virtual reality design and fire safety.
Between his work at Torcon, where he helped found the Philadelphia office, and his leadership at the General Building Contractors Association, Michael Armento is practically synonymous with Philadelphia’s construction scene. Since launching Torcon’s Philadelphia Navy Yard site in 2006, he has overseen 4.5 million square feet of building projects with a total value exceeding $1.5 billion. Armento, who was previously an executive vice president with Skanska, is also currently board chair at GBCA, the Philadelphia region’s premier industry group.
Andrew Volovar is an avid outdoorsman – but at Walton & Company, he leads a mechanical contractor focused on structures and interiors. Volovar joined the firm in 2001 and became president last year after previously expanding Walton’s service department and growing the company’s revenue as CFO and treasurer. The 40-year construction industry veteran oversees a company with offices in York and Maryland and specialties in sheet metal and piping fabrication, design, engineering and building maintenance.
Between them, Cohen Seglias partners Lisa Wampler and Steve Williams are go-to legal resources for real estate developers, contractors, construction firms and other industry stakeholders throughout Western and Central Pennsylvania. A partner in the Pittsburgh office, Wampler co-chairs the firm’s construction contracts and risk management group. She was the first woman in firm history to serve as the Pittsburgh office’s managing partner. Williams, Cohen Seglias’ Harrisburg managing partner and the firm’s managing partner, is known for his expertise in resolving real estate disputes, as well as myriad aspects of commercial litigation, real estate and construction law.
If you’ve driven across the new Tappan Zee bridge in New York, you’ve traversed the 50,000 tons of structural steel fabricated by High Steel Structures, a Lancaster outfit helmed by Mike Shirk. As CEO of the 92-year-old High Companies, Shirk manages divisions specializing in concrete, construction, steel, engineering and real estate. He previously served as a vice president for business development and architectural specialties at Armstrong World Industries, also in Lancaster, and holds degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and Bucknell.
In his 30 years with Hill International, Raouf Ghali, now CEO, has steered a global expansion – the full-service construction firm has more than 100 offices worldwide – while making its presence felt at home in Pennsylvania. Ghali has overseen construction management for Harrisburg’s new federal courthouse, as well as the 58-story Comcast Center in Philadelphia, the company’s home base. Under Ghali, Hill has grown into America’s fourth-largest project and construction management firm, with projects whose construction value exceeds $600 billion.
Since his 2020 election to represent Allegheny County, state Sen. Devlin Robinson has secured $4.5 million in Commonwealth Financing Authority funding for his region and spearheaded successful 2022 legislation penalizing contractors who fail to verify employment eligibility – a win for legal construction crews. Robinson, a Republican and a U.S. Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, currently chairs the Senate Labor & Industry Committee and is also a member of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission.
When the state Senate’s Labor & Industry committee convenes, Sen. John Kane has a special understanding of the topic: He’s a plumber himself. The Chester and Delaware County Democrat is a former business manager of Plumbers Local 690, which he led through five terms. In the Senate, he recently announced $7.3 million in funding for local development and infrastructure projects and has championed bills around Pennsylvania Turnpike toll reimbursements, bridge maintenance funding and fair pay for laborers.
At the law firm Duane Morris, Brad A. Molotsky serves as team lead for the project development/P3 industry group and co-heads the opportunity zones practice group. A sought-after consultant on environmental, social, and corporate governance and issues, Molotsky launched and moderates the firm’s monthly public webinar series on these topics. He has been recognized as an Influencer of Law and Real Estate by The Philadelphia Inquirer and holds several board leadership positions with the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.
Philadelphia blocks are chock-full of distinctive vintage architecture, and Connie O’Shea, a longtime city educator, couldn’t help but notice. So after a quarter-century with the School District of Philadelphia, O’Shea left last September to become president of Bristol-based Armor Masonry Restoration. She now heads a 10-year-old certified Women’s Business Enterprise whose mission is to restore and preserve those historical landmarks – from Pennsylvania Hospital and St. Joseph’s University to Penn’s Landing Square – all of which are Armor projects.
Over 20 years at Jamison-based Shoemaker Construction, General Manager Maura Hesdon has brought her expertise to projects worth $1 billion – from colleges to corporations, elementary schools to retail stores. Hesdon also serves as Shoemaker’s liaison with its parent company, the Butz Family of Companies, and its fellow subsidiaries. In addition, she works closely with Philadelphia institutions to promote industry diversity: She co-founded MyWIC, a free construction industry girls’ camp, as well as the National Association for Women in Construction Philadelphia Foundation.
Industry expert Stephanie Schmidt has headed Poole Anderson, a State College-based commercial contracting firm, for nearly two decades, having joined the firm as a vice president in 1999. A Penn State architectural engineering graduate, Schmidt began her career at a national construction management company and later managed capital projects for her alma mater. She currently serves on the executive board of the Pennsylvania College of Technology Construction Management Advisory Committee and is the immediate past chair of the Associated Builders and Contractors national board.
Under the leadership of David Panichi, the construction firm of TN Ward Company has extended its presence throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey. Panichi, who joined the firm in 1979, has masterminded projects for such clients as the University of Pennsylvania, Yards Brewing Company and Holy Family University. With his guidance, the 105-year-old company has racked up numerous awards for design excellence, historic preservation and sustainable construction.
After years heading the Philadelphia-based Sheet Metal Workers Local 19, Gary Masino is taking on a new challenge: Philadelphia City Council, where he hopes union support will bolster his well-financed Democratic challenge to the last Republican district Councilmember, Brian O’Neill, who represents Northeast Philadelphia. Masino, who helms the 4,300-strong union and supervises its two apprenticeship centers, is also assistant business manager of the Philadelphia Building Trades Council and served on the workforce advisory subcommittee for Gov. Josh Shapiro’s transition team.
Gary Langmuir joined the Wohlsen Construction Company in 1980, shortly after graduating with a business degree from the University of Colorado, and has been with the Lancaster outfit ever since. He oversees a 132-year-old full-service company with $400 million in annual projects throughout Pennsylvania, the mid-Atlantic and Connecticut. Under Langmuir’s guidance, Wohlsen has been lauded numerous times by Associated Builders and Contractors for its quality and commitment to sustainable practices.
If light, sustainable construction is the future, then Mark Rayfield is helping engineer that reality as North America CEO for the French multinational Saint-Gobain. The Malvern-based Rayfield joined the company in 1999 and is also head of its CertainTeed subsidiary, which produces roofing, siding, ceilings and insulation. Across 150 locations, Rayfield boosted year-over-year sales by 15% – the U.S. is Saint-Gobain’s largest single market – and debuted a new $22 million electrical powerhouse at its Worcester flagship manufacturing site that will slash carbon emissions by half.
Following the tragic death of Kinsley Properties’ longtime chief Tim Kinsley earlier this year, Kevin Snelbaker was appointed his successor as president. The York native – who joined the privately held real estate development and management company as CFO in 2020, has a three-decade background in commercial real estate. At Kinsley, Snelbaker will guide the company’s expansion across the mid-Atlantic, where recent undertakings include a new warehouse distribution center for Mobile Climate Control in York and a manufacturing facility for Cotterman Company in Mechanicsburg.
Upon becoming president and CEO of S&B USA Construction last year, Peter MacKenna inherited the company’s largest-ever project backlog and promptly reorganized the company with a strategic vision for long-term growth. MacKenna brings 40 years of industry experience to the role, having served as chair, CEO and/or president in more than a dozen corporations – including several branches of Skanska. Most recently, MacKenna transitioned a firm from sole proprietorship to a professionally managed organization in preparation for an exit-strategy transaction.
From Philadelphia’s Navy Yard expansion and its Schuylkill Yards development to the electric vehicle revolution, Mark Lynch sees a bright future for IBEW Local 98 and its 5,000 members. Lynch became the politically powerful union’s business leader in 2021, following the federal bribery conviction and subsequent resignation of his predecessor, John Dougherty. Lynch, who previously served as Local 98’s safety coordinator, has prioritized women’s recruitment and participation and is promoting a more inclusive industry.
Former construction worker and labor veteran Kevin Boyle heads Ironworkers Local 401, the union where he serves as both business manager and secretary-treasurer. Boyle leads professional and political advocacy on behalf of 700 members at Local 401, which is affiliated with the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers of America. Under his guidance, the union maintains a four-year program training novices in structural steel, pre-engineered metal buildings and other in-demand fundamentals.
William Cobb Jr. is president of the Haverstick-Borthwick Company, the construction firm once helmed by his father and founded by his grandfather, Frank Borthwick. Cobb directs a 101-year-old Plymouth Meeting outfit that is still very much a family business – his brother, Arthur Cobb, is vice president – and has expanded to residential, commercial and industrial construction and remodeling across Southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and South Jersey. Cobb sits on the board of directors of the General Building Contractors Association.
Construction chief and civic leader Blane Fitzgerald Stoddart is CEO of BFW Development and principal of RB Development, local companies that build affordable and workforce housing. At BFW, a full-service construction management firm, Stoddart consults for a variety of clients throughout the mid-Atlantic. He also co-founded both the Anti-Defamation League’s Black Jewish Alliance and the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s CEO Access Network; co-chairs the Economy League’s real estate and construction committee; and recently served on the Shapiro transition team.
Angelo Perryman is the second generation to head his family’s 69-year-old construction management firm. He worked his way up through several international companies, overseeing commercial and industrial construction from Pennsylvania to Alaska before taking over at Perryman Construction. His recent projects include the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Family Health and Literacy Center and Drexel University’s health sciences facility. In 2011, Perryman was appointed by then-Mayor Michael Nutter to chair Philadelphia’s Advisory Council on Construction Industry Diversity. He currently serves on numerous building and workforce boards.
Philadelphia-based Shawn Carlin joined the Gilbane Building Company as a vice president in 2017. A Temple University-educated civil engineer by training, he has deep experience in the Philadelphia institutional space, having collaborated on projects for clients including the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson Hospital, Main Line Health and the Temple University Health System. Among Carlin’s most recent projects is a joint venture on the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s new Schuylkill Avenue research facility.
As Jefferson expands operations rapidly across metro Philadelphia, Clayton Mitchell makes sure it has the space to do so. Since 2019, he has overseen real estate and facilities for Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health – including its largest-ever capital project and a series of mergers that have grown its footprint across the region. Mitchell, who previously held facilities leadership roles at Kaiser Permanente, now guides infrastructure and public safety for the hospital system and its myriad academic and outpatient facilities.
Veteran litigator Wally Zimolong heads his Villanova firm, which has handled numerous successful cases involving real estate developers, building trade unions and the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections. Zimolong, who has an undefeated jury trial record, also boasts extensive experience in constitutional, election and public policy law and provides strategic consulting for political candidates, campaigns and nonprofits. A well-known advocate for Republican and conservative causes, he was the 2008 Republican nominee for Pennsylvania’s 182nd legislative district.
At Local 690, George Pegram oversees a proud Philadelphia plumbing tradition with 123-year-old union roots. Under his leadership, Local 690 maintains a five-year apprenticeship program that prepares its members for complex projects ranging from airports to hotels, restaurants, schools and manufacturing facilities. Pegram also oversees benefits administration, including a pension fund, as well as advocating for workplace safety, favorable legislation and employment opportunities on behalf of his membership.
As executive director of the Master Builders’ Association of Western Pennsylvania, David Daquelente leads a 137-year-old industry group representing the majority of commercial construction stakeholders across the Allegheny region. Daquelente oversees labor relations, legislative advocacy, safety resources and workforce development programs for a 300-strong membership that includes contractors, construction managers and service and supplier companies. He previously served as executive director for the Ironworker Employers Association of Western Pennsylvania.
Angela Vacante joined Bittenbender Construction in 2007, shortly after its founding – and in the two decades since, she has helped grow the company’s revenue from $11 million to nearly $90 million. Under Vacante’s leadership as a partner and COO, the firm is now ranked No. 4 by revenue on the Philadelphia Business Journal’s list of women-owned businesses. Vacante, who holds a degree from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, has served on the board of the National Association of Women in Construction.
Since 2018, Thomas Melcher has served as business manager of the Pittsburgh Regional Building & Construction Trades Council, advocating for the industry and their local union members. Melcher, a 48-year member of Iron Workers Local Union 3, spent three decades working in the field before serving five terms as its business agent. He has long championed opportunity, partnerships and recruitment at the council and on the executive boards of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, the Allegheny County Labor Council and the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania.
As her commercial construction company, JEM Group, celebrates its 20th anniversary, entrepreneur and philanthropist Jessica Meyers now helms Central Pennsylvania’s third-largest woman-owned business – and recently established JEM’s Diversity in Construction Scholarship to increase industry representation. Under Meyers’ leadership, JEM Group projects span sectors including corporate, health care, education, government, multi-unit housing and retail, impacting a half-million Pennsylvanians last year. Meyers also serves on the boards of the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg and Penn State Health, West Shore Region.
With Democrats newly in charge of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, Rep. Jason Dawkins was selected as majority chair of its Labor & Industry Committee last month. Dawkins, who has represented Philadelphia since 2015, sponsored recent legislation regulating the construction, renovation and maintenance of school buildings and co-sponsored a measure promoting union apprenticeships. He is a longtime champion of economic development, having secured numerous grants for local infrastructure.
As minority chair of the Pennsylvania State House Labor & Industry Committee, Lehigh County Republican Ryan Mackenzie authored bipartisan legislation penalizing construction employers who fail to verify employee credentials and served on the PA Public School Building Construction and Reconstruction Advisory Committee. In addition to his committee role, Mackenzie also represents the House on the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board and the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority. Prior to his 2012 election to the General Assembly, Mackenzie directed policy at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
Those cranes reshaping American skylines? They may well trace back to Aaron Ravenscroft, who, as CEO of Manitowoc, leads a multinational tower and mobile crane business. Under his leadership, the company posted 2022 revenue of $2 billion, a year-over-year increase of nearly 20%. Ravenscroft, who holds degrees from Bucknell and Carnegie Mellon universities, was previously a managing regional managing director at Weir Group, a British company that sells equipment for the mining, oil and gas and energy industries.
Gustavo Casagrandi has crisscrossed the Americas for Volvo Construction Equipment, but he’s based in Shippensburg, where he now supervises the company’s American operations. Since joining Volvo in 2010, Casagrandi, who studied mechanical engineering in Sao Paulo, has overseen VCE Mexico, led the deployment of Volvo’s production system across the Americas and introduced strategies to maximize profitability. In his current role, Casagrandi has consistently grown VCE’s North American sales by double-digit percentages, to $2.2 billion last year.
As a child in suburban Philadelphia, Brianna Pinckney marveled at structures like the Ben Franklin Bridge. After studying civil and environmental engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, she became the rare Black woman in a white male-dominated industry – and has thrived, first at Turner Construction and now at Target, where she directs business development. To cultivate industry diversity, Pinckney mentors with the National Society of Black Engineers, an organization she first joined in college, as well as the Brighter Horizon Foundation.
John Bland knows boilermakers play a vital role in construction projects small and large, from the boiler in your basement to a nuclear power plant reactor dome. Bland represents Boilermakers Local Lodge 13, which represents the Philadelphia members of a 50,000-strong North American union. In this role, he oversees everything from political advocacy to the union’s training and apprenticeship programs, as well as Boilermakers 13’s extensive civic and philanthropic involvements.
Accountant Marty McCarthy took over McCarthy & Company, PC, founded in 1967 by his father, in 1996 when it had six employees and has since built one of Southeast Pennsylvania’s – as well as the nation’s – top construction industry public accounting firms with more than 70 employees firmwide. Over the past few years, McCarthy has grown the firm exponentially, adding new accounting, medical services and transportation services. With a staff that has more than doubled, McCarthy has also expanded the firm’s Pennsylvania headquarters – adding 3,000 square feet – as well as doubling its New Jersey office to 6,600 square feet.
Inspired by his entrepreneurial family, businessman Craig Williams established Pride Enterprises in 1996. In the decades since, he has scaled the Norristown-based building and construction management firm to have a presence throughout the commonwealth with projects such as the Schuylkill River Park Trail and the 500,000-square-foot Live! Casino and Hotel, a 2020 joint venture with Gilbane Building Company. Williams also recently launched a complementary electrical supply business, American Power, as well as The Williams Group, Pride’s development division.
As head of Associated Pennsylvania Constructors, Albert Hoffman represents the road and bridge construction workers handling the commonwealth’s $1.6 billion highway industry. Hoffman leads work and safety advocacy on behalf of a 400-member union of active contract bidders, serving as a liaison with PennDOT and spearheading industry recruitment. He is also the longtime chief of Road-Con, a West Chester-based heavy and highway contractor whose clients include PennDOT, the City of Philadelphia, SEPTA, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the Delaware River Port Authority.
Joseph McCammitt is the Philadelphia-based project director for the construction team at Skanska USA, the Swedish corporation’s largest market, which brings in nearly $7 billion in annual revenue. He has shaped large-scale projects that include, in Pennsylvania, work on two Reading Hospital facilities, the University of the Sciences and the Philadelphia International Airport. McCammitt, who holds a degree in civil and construction engineering from Temple University, previously spent more than a dozen years at the Gilbane Construction Company.
When the Lennar Corporation split its Tri-State division in two, Tench Tilghman took charge of the Pennsylvania and Delaware markets, where he has accelerated growth ever since. Tilghman manages the dynamic Philadelphia metro area for a 69-year-old company that builds new homes, including active adult communities, across 26 U.S. states, with various subsidiaries that include mortgage, title, insurance and home technology divisions. Prior to joining Lennar, Tilghman was a division vice president for Toll Brothers and owned his own Media-based construction company.
Hunter Roberts Construction Group’s executive vice president is Daniel Dirscherl, a four-decade veteran of the construction industry. Dirscherl, who holds a civil engineering degree from Temple University, was part of Hunter Roberts’ startup team in 2005 and has since helped build it into one of the region’s top general contractors, with involvement in high-profile projects like The Laurel, Jefferson’s Specialty Care Pavilion, Spark Gene Therapy HQ and numerous buildings at the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel and Princeton.
After serving the Pennsylvania Builders Association for years in various capacities – including as secretary, vice president and membership chair – John Olson assumed the presidency this year. Olson is a construction industry veteran who started his career in Manhattan and New Jersey before launching the now-defunct JPO Construction in the 1980s, building homes in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He is also a longtime board member and former president of the Wayne Pike Building Industry Association. At the PBA, Olson will prioritize recruitment to keep the industry vital and dynamic.
As Toll Brothers built its reputation as America’s highest-profile home builder over the past three decades, Douglas Yearley helped build the firm’s momentum, parcel by parcel and house by house. Yearley joined the company in 1990, specializing in land acquisition and project management, and worked his way up through various leadership positions, becoming CEO in 2010. Under his leadership, the Fort Washington-based Fortune 500 company recorded annual revenue of $9 billion and built a record 10,500 homes in 2022.
Sooner or later, everyone in Philadelphia’s building industry encounters the Department of Licenses and Inspections, currently under the direction of Commissioner Ralph DiPietro. DiPietro, who supervises matters ranging from building code violations to streetery regulations, had previously spent over 20 years as chief of the city’s commercial fire inspection unit. In 2018, while a deputy commissioner at L&I, he received the Joan Markman Award for Integrity for his service to the city.
Shawn McCullough serves as the business manager for Philadelphia-based Roofers Local 30, a union representing nearly 1,400 members across five mid-Atlantic states, from New Jersey to Washington, D.C. and Virginia. McCullough heads a labor organization founded in 1908 and affiliated with a national group of 22,000 American workers. Under his leadership, Local 30 provides training and apprenticeships for roofing and structural waterproofing, as well as safety courses, political advocacy and a robust benefits program.
With nearly 40 years of industry experience, Raymond Gajski now leads Ruthrauff Sauer, a Pittsburgh-area mechanical contracting firm. He began as vice president of operations at a firm that dates to 1876, when William Sauer started the plumbing business that would eventually grow into a full-service firm offering sheet metal and pipe fabrication, welding, and design and building systems. Gajski has supervised myriad projects for the firm, including the UPMC Vision & Rehabilitation Hospital and major buildings for Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne universities.
As vice president of operations, John Sabatos helped build Rycon Construction into a national company with $820 million in projects annually. He recently returned to lead the Pittsburgh-based company as CEO, overseeing eight offices for an Engineering News-Record top-400 contractor that the publication also named its 2022 mid-Atlantic contractor of the year. Sabatos, who has a civil engineering degree from Penn State and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, sits on the board of the Master Builders Association of Western Pennsylvania.
Ivan Watson describes himself as self-made, Philadelphia-bred and proud to head one of the city’s minority-owned contracting firms. He started in the subcontracting market and then built The Watson Organization, which is collaborating on several multimillion-dollar projects for Jefferson, including a $400 million biomedical research tower and a $100 million renovation of Jefferson University’s alumni hall. Watson, who counts former Gov. Ed Rendell among his mentors, currently serves on Gov. Josh Shapiro’s commission on African American affairs.
PDM Constructors President Craig Melograno is set to launch the North Wales outfit’s third facility, bringing its total manufacturing space to 300,000 square feet. He is also overseeing a major project for Cooper University Hospital in South Jersey and forthcoming Great Wolf Lodge locations in Florida and Connecticut. Under Melograno’s leadership, Engineering News-Record named PDM its Mid-Atlantic Region Specialty Contractor of the Year for 2020. Melograno also chairs the General Building Contractors Association and the planning commission of Lower Gwynedd Township.
At the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Mexico-born Yael Tacher oversees Build Latino, a Spanish-language construction industry program that prepares small businesses to compete for building contracts. She also coordinates the annual Accelerate Business cohort, an eight-month training program for entrepreneurs, and spearheads the partnerships that nourish these programs. Tacher is married to fellow Mexican American Fernando Treviño, an attorney, political consultant, and 2019 Democratic City Council candidate who is currently Pennsylvania’s special deputy for environmental justice.
U.S. Navy veteran Jon O’Brien heads both the Keystone Contractors Association and its larger affiliate, the 1,000-member General Contractors Association of Pennsylvania, and also co-hosts The Building PA Podcast. O’Brien oversees the association’s strategic planning and its government relations, advocating for issues affecting the industry. Under his leadership, KCA launched a Construction Opioids Awareness Week, expanded psychological services with its Mental Health Awareness & Resources Task Force and has promoted workforce development through a social media collaboration with a local high school.
When she’s not globe-trotting or cheering for her favorite soccer team, AC Milan, Angela Fante helps Philadelphia-area buildings take shape. Fante is the director of engineering at Ballinger, where she is a managing principal, having joined the firm 23 years ago after earning degrees in architectural engineering from Penn State University. At Ballinger, her projects have included major structures for the University of Rhode Island, Tower Health and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
Matthew Rosenberg is such an expert on surety bonds that he literally wrote the book – three times. Rosenberg, the third-generation CEO of Rosenberg & Parker Surety, is the co-author of three "Dummies" books on the topic, as well as the construction industry’s go-to resource for bonding and surety needs. At Rosenberg & Parker, he heads a Wayne-based broker of surety bonds with offices in Philadelphia and Toronto, and clients around the world in energy, manufacturing, waste hauling and other construction-related fields.
Jeff Scarpello represents the workers who light up the tri-state area. As executive director of the Penn-Del-Jersey chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association – which represents America’s $160 billion electrical power, lighting and communications industry – Scarpello organizes a busy political action program as well as educational and workforce development programs, scholarships and leadership training. Most recently, Scarpello has spearheaded the chapter’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, launching an annual member award for achievement in the category.
For over 20 years, Mike Glezer has helmed Wagman, a fourth-generation, family-owned general contracting business headquartered in York. From its beginnings in 1902, when George Wagman poured concrete sidewalks and bridges, the company has evolved to include heavy civil, geotechnical and general construction divisions overseen by Glezer. Under his leadership, Wagman carries out institutional, commercial, highway and bridge projects throughout the mid-Atlantic region and also operates the Wagman University for Professional Development.
The Quandel family has been building Pennsylvania since 1882, and its Harrisburg-based business is currently overseen by Gregory Quandel, who assumed leadership of the fifth-generation firm in 2020. Quandel, who began as a project manager, now manages a full-service outfit that offers construction management and services, heavy and civil construction, and energy and conservation consulting. Among the projects under Quandel’s oversight are public schools, church renovations, wastewater treatment plants, hospitals and athletic facilities.
Joseph Mitchell Jr. has helped guide Norwood Construction through decades of growth and transition. Having joined the company in 1994, Mitchell was part of the team that engineered a management buyout of the Malvern-based outfit in 2017 and has served as CEO ever since. He leads a company with expertise in diverse construction areas, with recent projects that include the Toll Brothers headquarters, various bioscience facilities, a commercial bakery freezing system, and Lavazza North America’s manufacturing and training site.
As demand for steel construction has grown exponentially, Raymond Kalouche has seen his own career flourish alongside TMS International, the industrial steel mill services firm he joined in 1989. Having worked in technical services, marketing and operations, Kalouche is now CEO, steering the Pittsburgh company’s global expansion – 17 countries thus far – and cementing its position as North America’s largest steel service provider by revenue. Kalouche, who holds degrees in civil-structural engineering, is also active with the steel industry’s National Slag Association.
Shaping the look of modern spaces is Sherri King Parente, who serves as director of interiors for HOK, the global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm. A principal in the Philadelphia office, she specializes in workplace and higher education design and co-created HOK Futures, an annual university student competition for which she serves as a mentor and frequent guest juror. Parente is also active in the Philadelphia chapter of CoreNet Global, an international networking organization centered around corporate real estate.
Both an architect and an engineer by training, Jared Loos brings a unique perspective to his role overseeing EwingCole, a Philadelphia-based national design firm. Loos has guided EwingCole as it shapes the look and feel of institutions like the University of Pennsylvania’s Boathouse Row complex, Philadelphia’s Mann Center for the Performing Arts and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s emergency department. Under Loos, the firm racked up numerous 2022 design awards, most notably for its athletics and wellness center at Philadelphia’s William Penn Charter School.
The building industry has come a long way since the 1880s, when Herman Goldner started a Philadelphia construction business delivering supplies with a wheelbarrow and horse-drawn cart. Today, his great-grandson, also named Herman Goldner, is chief of the family’s mechanical construction firm, offering plumbing, piping and building automation systems. Under his leadership, the company has worked on such projects as Subaru Park, the Philadelphia Union’s stadium, and the HVAC conversion at the Wells Fargo Center.
Some years back, McConnellsburg-based JLG Industries hired Frank Nerenhausen as an intern through Oshkosh, the industrial truck manufacturer that is its parent company. Today, Nerenhausen is JLG’s president – and he’s still bullish on the internship program at the company, which produces and maintains lift and access construction equipment like elevated work platforms. Nerenhausen, an executive vice president with Oshkosh, also oversees its Jerr-Dan division, which produces towing, recovery and wrecker products.
Former public interest attorney Stefanie Seldin heads Rebuilding Together Philadelphia, a nonprofit that provides free home repairs so residents can remain in their dwellings and build wealth through home equity. Under Seldin’s leadership, RTP secured $1.7 million from the University of Pennsylvania to repair 75 homes, $500,000 from the state to repair 40 homes, and $750,000 annually from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to rehabilitate housing for asthmatic children. Seldin currently chairs the board of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.
Charlie Bacon can often be found at high schools, telling the next generation about the building industry as a vice chair of the ACE Mentorship Program, which he has grown to 70 active chapters. Bacon’s day job is heading Limbach Facility Services, an Allegheny County-based firm offering mechanical, plumbing, electrical and other building services. He is also a founding member of the Incident and Injury Free Executive Forum, which launched the industry’s National Safety Week, and he serves on the Construction Industry Round Table.
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