- Australia-based property group and general contractor Lendlease has appointed Mike Fratianni the company's new managing director of construction for the Americas, succeeding Andrew Council effective March 1. Lendlease said Fratianni will oversee the "growth and diversification" track of its construction business in the U.S.
- Fratianni started his career placing concrete and then as a field engineer at Huber Hunt and Nichols, and spent more than 30 years there as the company transitioned to Hunt Construction Group and then AECOM Hunt, where he served as CEO and Chief Operating Officer, respectively. In the year between leaving AECOM Hunt and this new position with Lendlease, Fratianni started his own consulting firm. Some of the projects he's worked on include the International Terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta; the Barclays Center in New York City; and Walter Tower Methodist Hospital in Houston.
- During the last 20 years, Lendlease has provided construction and other services for approximately 3,000 projects representing more than $60 billion in revenue.
Even though Fratianni doesn't officially step into his new role at Lendlease for another month, he's already been busy at the company's New York City office doing "a lot of listening and learning," he said, which actually started during the interview process.
"It was very important to me when I was interviewing with Lendlease to hear from [CEO of the Americas] Denis Hickey and to understand his vision and what his expectations were, and it aligned hugely with where my head is and what I've done in the past."
Easing the transition has been Council, whose knowledge of the organization has helped Fratianni prepare for what’s ahead. "Certainly, there's more listening and learning to do," he said, "but I'm excited to carry things forward.”
But Fratianni has plenty to bring to the Lendlease table as well, not the least of which is his approach to the business, molded by years in the field, he said.
"People tend to assume your background is nothing but through education or engineering or architecture or one of those pieces, so they totally underestimate your field knowledge," Fratianni said. He's worked his way up through most positions in the industry, which has served to boost the credibility behind what he calls his mantra of, "Don't ask somebody to do something you couldn't do yourself."
Fratianni also puts a premium on teamwork, he said, looking to strike a balance between driving the organization and knowing when to hand over the reins, allowing others to "do things the way they do things."
Moving forward, Fratianni said that one of the challenges to Lendlease and to the construction industry in general is the shortage of skilled labor and being able to maintain consistency in that area from coast to coast. However, Fratianni said that, hopefully, advancements in technology will be able to offset the shortage somewhat. The company is also trying to mitigate the lack of craft workers through offsite construction.
What is different about his future at Lendlease, though, is that this next chapter is about more than just construction. He said he's looking forward to collaborating with the company's development and finance arms as part of the integrated work ahead. "Now there are three legs to the stool, and I find that exciting because the learning continues."