Theresa Giacomino, CCS, LEED AP is a recognizable face for most people working on the Lower Hill Redevelopment. With experience in both architecture and design she supports construction development efforts in her role of Project Manager and CCIP Manager for Lower Hill Redevelopment. Serving in this capacity, her time is currently focused on FNB Financial Center, the new 26-story office tower anchoring the 28 acre redevelopment. She has been with PJ Dick Incorporated for 11.5 years. Hear from her in the Q & A below:
How does your background in construction tie into what you're currently doing with the project?
Over the past 25 years I’ve worked in both the design and construction industries. During that time, I’ve established strong relationships with a variety of subcontractors, including many owned by underrepresented groups (MWBE/SDVO/DBE). As the CCIP manager for the FNB Tower project, I’ve built on these relationships during the FNB project, fostering open and honest conversations with each on how to work together, form partnerships, and think outside the box to create opportunities for MWBE companies and establish goals for hiring craftspeople from diverse backgrounds.
How has your role evolved working on the Lower Hill Redevelopment project?
The role began like any other project, diving into the drawings and specifications, getting your bearings, talking to people and creating a plan. Quickly I learned how important the role was, and all it could become. This was the opportunity to help change how we all do business and contracting in the construction industry.
I began thinking outside the box of how we can make these connections between MWBE and Non-MWBE companies even in the midst of a pandemic. We created virtual networking opportunities. These included Bidder Information Sessions, dedicated sessions where Subcontractors and Suppliers could learn about the project as well as learn more about MWBEs and the services they could offer and held dedicated sessions for non-union companies to discuss the path from non-union to union. Connecting firms and the people working for them has been very rewarding, both professionally and personally.
What do you like most about what you do?
By far the most gratifying is talking to people and learning that what we have done differently on this project has made a difference in their careers and businesses. When I hear that an MWBE company was awarded a scope of work for FNB or for another regional project, it really hits home that this project – and my role in particular – is making a difference.
Do you have a mentor or advisor that has helped you along the way? (Personally, or professionally) Alternatively, do you do any kind of mentoring, coaching or teaching?
My first mentor was the late Janet McCarthy. She was a strong, intelligent and ambitious woman who helped me see that I can grow and learn in the industry as a woman, regardless of my education. She was both my employer and my friend. It’s important that we all help those around us to succeed by sharing experiences and encouraging words. There are many men and women that I learn and grow from, every day. I take any opportunity I can to encourage others to grow, learn, and be the best version of themselves.
Do you have any words of encouragement for other women currently in or considering entering the construction field?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make mistakes. That is the best way to learn. And if anyone doubts your abilities, prove them wrong. You can do anything you set your mind to accomplish.
March 17, 2022 - Buccini/Pollin Group's Bomani M. Howze, Vice President of Development was joined by panelists, Tracey McCants Lewis, Deputy General Counsel & Director of HR, Pittsburgh Penguins and Dr. Diamonte Walker, Deputy Executive Director, URA for an exciting update about the Lower Hill District project at the monthly NAOIP Pittsburgh Chapter meeting, Thursday March 17, 2022.
Panel Discussion was moderated by Marita Garrett, Founder & President, Civically, Inc. (Former Mayor, Wilkinsburg Borough)
NAIOP Pittsburgh is the regional association of developers, owners, investors and professionals of commercial real estate - a leading industry resource to foster business relationships, promote responsible development and support growth of the region through education, leadership and advocacy. NAIOP Pittsburgh is the regional chapter of NAIOP. NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, is the leading organization for developers, owners and investors of office, industrial, retail and mixed-use real estate. NAIOP comprises 20,000+ members and provides strong advocacy, education and business opportunities through a powerful North American network. Learn more about NAIOP Pittsburgh membership here. Read the full Developing Pittsburgh Fall 2021 Magazine here
Click here for all the photos
So far, the new development of the former Civic Arena site and the early work on the new 26-story FNB Financial Center has translated into $25 million in contracts to minority-owned businesses and $5 million to woman-owned businesses.
That's according to Bomani Howze, a vice president of development for the Buccini/Pollin Group, during a panel discussion update on the major Lower Hill redevelopment at a monthly breakfast event by NAIOP Pittsburgh.
"We dig deep," he said before the local real estate organization's breakfast audience at the River's Club downtown. "We don't just put numbers in the air."
The development of the new FNB Financial Center is expected to cost in the range of $240 million to build.
While the city requires 12% MBE and 7% WBE contract values, Howse and Pittsburgh Penguins Deputy General Counsel and Director of Human Resources Tracey McCants Lewis, a fellow panelist, said the standards for the Lower Hill redevelopment are for 30% and 15%.
They're standards aimed and achieving broader goals of overcoming the systematic disinvestment, redlining and discrimination with past development on the site and the rest of the Hill District and building wealth in Pittsburgh's minority- and woman-owned business community.
It was a panel discussion in which Diamonte Walker, the deputy executive director of the URA, joined as a third panelist on a major public-private redevelopment strategy in which her agency has played a key role.
Read more in Pittsburgh Business Times
By Tim Schooley – Reporter, Pittsburgh Business Times
Mar 17, 2022 Updated Mar 18, 2022, 9:29am EDT
Celebrating Diversity and Talent in Development from Local to National Consultants
Three-hundred square feet of business signage has taken shape on Washington Place and Centre Ave., across from PPG Paints Arena. Visuals of the new FNB Financial Center and the Lower Hill District along with project partner logos celebrate the diverse range of local and national talent playing a part in the new development.
Architectural designer for the signage structure completed by local MBE, Graves Design Group, infrastructure construction and installation completed by local MBE, General Contractor, Ray Zellars and art installation completed by WBE print fabricator, Alpha Graphics.
Watch the project livestream here!
The First Source Center is hosting a Job Fair and Open House, March 30, 2:30pm - 7:30pm. This is an opportunity for current and former Historic Hill residents to meet prospective employers offering CAREER opportunities with family sustaining jobs.
Representatives from the following organization will be present:
Job Fair attendees will have the opportunity to take a free professional headshot - courtesy of Rick on the Run Media!
Refreshments will also be provided.
Please pre-register to inform us of your career and job interests so we can best accommodate your interviews!
March is Women's History Month, a month where we acknowledge women's historical contributions and recognize the sacrifices made by women, to help make the world, and our country, a more inclusive and diverse place. Meet Project Engineer, Olivia Grunseich, a bright and shining star at BPGS Construction who's been working on the Lower Hill Redevelopment project for nearly two and a half years. She spent her early days orchestrating community outreach efforts focused on minority and women owned businesses (M/WBEs). This critical work effort opened up a direct communication line to Lower Hill job training and employment opportunities, now funneled through the First Source Center.
"Initially, I put a lot of time into building our M/WBE database of Pittsburgh companies, and spent a lot of time assisting our internal team because I became the person that basically had a hand in everything. As time went on and we started growing our partners and team, I was able to dive deeper into the development / construction realm, and began focusing more on tracking our development budget, schedules, and report metrics," says Oliva.
Acting as Development Coordinator for the Lower Hill Redevelopment, Olivia draws from her educational background in civil engineering and construction management to navigate the development process. She attributes her success to date on past projects and says by educating herself on things like contracts, RFI’s and schedules it has helped her have a better understanding of how everything works allowing her to have a better overall understanding of the project. "I’m excited to see through the different stages of construction and development for each of the projects on the Lower Hill and hope to gain a better understanding with each day," she says.
While acknowledging the wealth of knowledge gained working in collaboration with the development team and many consultants, she notes her time spent working alongside BPGS Construction Manager Matt Corace as some of the most impactful thus far;
"Matt has one of the toughest jobs and still puts aside time to teach me about construction. As the construction manager for the project, and a native Pittsburgher, Matt has taught me so much over the years and I really admire his drive and attention to details."
Similarly, Olivia has taken on a "teacher" role coaching small construction business owners in a two part class on bidding and estimating. For the second year in a row she is working with Riverside Center for Innovation BizFIT Tier II Construction cohort.
For women currently in or considering entering the construction field, Olivia's shares these words of encouragement:
"My advice for other women is to not dismiss your own thoughts and feelings. It can be very intimidating to be the only woman in a room full of men, but in a lot of situations, you bring a whole different perspective to the table. Building confidence is so important when working in a male-dominated field and the first step to succeeding is by trusting your own ideas and contributions."
Firms interested in construction opportunities click here
Individuals interesting in construction opportunities should go to the First Source Center