100 People to Meet: Builders
From real estate to global construction projects to major business expansions, these are the professionals who are building Virginia’s future and constructing legacies.
President and chief operating officer, Bechtel Corp.
In September, Craig Albert stepped up to fill the gap left by former COO Jack Futcher, who retired from the nation’s largest construction company (which reported more than $25 billion in 2018 revenue) after a 40-year career. Albert, the company’s previous infrastructure business president, oversees the company’s four global business units as well as business strategy and development, diversity and inclusion, regions and corporate affairs. Because Bechtel operates in 160 countries on all seven continents, Albert, who has 22 years of experience with the company, spends time focusing on infrastructure, energy and mining projects at the company.
Senior vice president of technology, HITT Contracting Inc.
As more and more people rely on technology to adjust to the new normal brought on by the pandemic, a pressing need for more data centers and broadband infrastructure has come out of the woodwork. Evan Antonides, the senior vice president of technology for HITT Contracting, one of Virginia’s largest general contractors, says the data center market is seeing an unprecedented surge in demand that will result in record growth in 2021. As such, his focus during 2021 will be working with global cloud and digital infrastructure providers. “Data center providers and design and construction stakeholders will need to drive innovation and adapt to meet the rising demand, while ensuring socially and environmentally conscious development,” he says.
Managing partner, Venture Realty Group
Mike Culpepper is making waves in Virginia. His company is behind the $325 million Atlantic Park project, a surf park and entertainment center planned for the Virginia Beach Oceanfront and backed by Grammy-winning musician and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams. Venture Realty Group — which since 2016 has developed 6 million square feet of projects worth more than $600 million in the Hampton Roads market — partnered with Williams to plan the destination. “We want to be associated with a project that is transformational not only for the oceanfront but for the entire city,” Culpepper told Virginia Business in December 2019. The project is expected to be operational in the next four to five years. As Venture Realty’s managing partner, Culpepper coordinates construction and property management as well as new development and lease coordination.
President, The Runnymede Corp.
Carrying on a family legacy, Matthew Fine this spring was promoted to president of The Runnymede Corp., the third-generation, family-owned commercial real estate development company founded by his grandfather, Louis Fine. A Runnymede board member for 30 years, Fine is a founding director of Suffolk-based TowneBank and has owned and managed his own Safe Place storage facilities for 20 years. A glass and granite sculptor, he also owns the Okay Spark Gallery in Norfolk. He and his brother, Jeffrey, have co-written and co-directed independent feature films, including “Art Show Bingo.”
President and CEO, ASGN Inc.
Ted Hanson made Virginia one Fortune 1000 company stronger. In October, he finished moving the headquarters of ASGN, his California-based technology consulting company, to Henrico County. Hanson joined ASGN in 2012 as chief financial officer when the company acquired Glen Allen-based staffing agency Apex Systems. The company’s $12.4 million investment to bring ASGN cross-country is expected to create 700 jobs across the Richmond, Virginia Beach and Roanoke regions. Hanson credits Virginia’s “strong pipeline of information technology talent for both the commercial and government sectors,” for encouraging the move and plans to grow. Since its June headquarters move announcement, ASGN has also acquired Fredericksburg-based remote sensing and data science provider Skyris LLC and Boston-based consultancy LeapFrog Systems LLC.
President, Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group
Matt Huff, who became president of Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group in January 2020, takes pride in his Roanoke roots — so much so that he’s made it his mission to encourage development in the region. Having been with Poe & Cronk since 2008, he’s seen growth this year both internally within the company and externally in the Roanoke community. “Roanoke has just had a lot of opportunity and I think that we’ve been the beneficiary of … a [pandemic-driven] migration back to rural communities,” he says. “We’ve definitely seen more people moving back to Roanoke because they have the opportunity to do so.” This year, Poe & Cronk expanded its sales team and in 2021 plans to focus on renovating and expanding its office.
President and CEO, Motleys Asset Disposition Group
Motleys Asset Disposition Group encompasses a large scope of businesses, including commercial real estate, foreclosure and logistics, and property auction services — but has been singularly focused on growth. Mark Motley, who earned his auctioneer’s license at the age of 16, expanded Motleys in late 2019 through the acquisition of Chesterfield County-based River City Auction & Realty LLC. The Motleys industrial division also opened an office in Houston to service the oil and gas industry and held the first auction at its new Roanoke office on Nov. 17. In commercial developments, the company broke ground on Wigwam Crossing, a 22,000-square-foot shopping center in Hanover County. Motleys also expanded its Richmond operations with more than 500,000 square feet of warehouse space.
CEO, House Buyers of America
In today’s sellers’ market, residential real estate is going fast as buyers rush to purchase homes while interest rates remain attractively low. House Buyers of America offers another option for those who don’t want to go through the trouble of flipping and selling their homes amid the hectic market. Through custom software and a dedication to tech improvements for users, Nick Ron’s company buys, renovates and resells homes in large volumes. The company’s services are initiated through an online web portal that provides sale price estimates to potential sellers in minutes. “The market is going to continue to be strong,” Ron says. “What’s driving the market is limited supply and high demand. That dynamic is not going to change any time soon.”
Director of offshore wind business development, Hampton Roads Alliance
Winds of change are coming for the energy industry — and Matt Smith is at the forefront of these developments. The Hampton Roads Alliance in July announced a new initiative to develop a comprehensive supply chain to serve the burgeoning East Coast offshore wind industry through a $529,788 grant from GO Virginia. “During 2021, we’ll be working hard to bring offshore wind companies to Hampton Roads and Virginia,” Smith says. Also coming in 2021 is an initiative with Dominion Energy Inc. to educate Hampton Roads and other Virginia businesses about how they can participate in the offshore wind industry. Offshore wind development is already underway off the Virginia Beach coastline, where Dominion has plans to erect the nation’s largest offshore wind farm by 2026.
CEO, Global Technical Systems
This year, Navy veteran Terry Spitzer’s company landed a $782 million contract to manufacture equipment for his former U.S. Armed Forces branch’s combat system network. Under the contract awarded to Global Technical Systems (founded by Spitzer and his wife, Yusun, in 1997), GTS will manufacture high-tech equipment, including servers, processors, encrypted devices and cybersecurity hardware. They have other big plans in store for 2021, as well. GTS is building a $70 million headquarters and manufacturing facility on the site of the former Owl Creek Golf Course on Birdneck Road. The defense contractor could add as many as 1,100 employees to its existing 100-person workforce after the 630,000-square-foot facility is fully operational in fall 2021.
James S. Utterback
Project Director of Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel Expansion, Virginia Department of Transportation
The big dig finally commenced in late October. The Virginia Department of Transportation’s largest-ever project — the $3.8 billion Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) expansion — will increase tunnel and interstate capacity along 9.9 miles of Interstate 64 between Hampton and Norfolk in order to reduce congestion and improve access to the Port of Virginia. And James S. Utterback is overseeing it all. Although the project won’t be finished until 2025, Utterback says that in late 2021 Virginians can expect to see the arrival from Germany of a 46-foot-diameter, custom-built underwater tunnel-boring machine, which is as tall as a four-story building and weighs as much as 10 fully loaded 747 airliners. It will dig through soil and construct tunnel segments, a major step in the construction process. It will begin boring in 2022.