CEO & Managing Partner, LeChase Construction Services, LLC
Years in current role: 14
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I’ve been fortunate to not only do what I love, but to lead a company whose culture is deeply committed to family and community. The best part of my role is connecting with people — customers, industry peers, community members, and especially employees. It’s a privilege to watch them grow into their roles and take on new responsibilities, and I’m proud of their successes. They’ve enabled LeChase to become the premier construction firm in Western New York, and have given us the opportunity to be a part of many projects — in health care, education, housing and other sectors — that have had a clear and positive impact within the Rochester community.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?
Obviously, COVID-19 brought unprecedented challenges and uncertainty. In our industry not everyone can work from home, and at one time we had 81 project sites on pause with no real control over when they could restart. We also had a pipeline of work that hinged on how the pandemic was impacting our clients. Still, we always run toward our challenges. We immediately developed a playbook to address health and safety, managed aspects of the business we could control, and had a taskforce reassess future planning. The silver lining is how everyone came together as one LeChase — reaching across projects and geographies to share resources, opportunities and best practices. It was a challenging year, but we came out a much stronger company.
What do you see as the biggest changes in the real estate and construction industries in the next 3-5 years?
The consensus among industry groups we engage with is that construction spending will be down about 20% over the next few years, but it’s not across the board. While the lingering effect of COVID may delay or cancel projects in sectors like hospitality or higher education, spending will increase in other areas — for example, pharmaceuticals and distribution. So you will see a shift in the types of projects being built.
In terms of how projects are built, technology and off-site prefabrication will play an increasingly larger role going forward. That’s partly to address the continuing challenge of finding enough new tradespeople to enter the industry, and partly to improve efficiency, safety and quality on project sites.
What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?
Rochester is a special, giving place. Personally, I’ve been involved with United Way for more than 30 years, and I’m honoured to be this year’s Greater Rochester campaign chair. It’s a critical time in our community, and I deeply believe in the United Way’s ability to connect those in need with available resources. I also support local economic development initiatives like ROC2025, and groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Rochester Enterprise. With so many social and economic factors impacting us, it’s time to work together and strengthen our community for the future.
What are you most looking forward to doing as COVID restrictions ease?
No question, I look forward to spending time with family and friends, and interacting in person versus through a computer screen. Direct contact is not something you can replace. Similarly, social events have long been an important part of work-life at LeChase, and it will be exciting to have people gather and celebrate together again. Beyond that, I also look forward to doing some traveling — both for work and for recreation.