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Legacy Circle: Joseph J. Albanese

Joseph J. Albanese
President and CEO, Commodore Builders

Professional and philanthropic interests:

I have a strong interest in leadership and workforce development. As chairman of the AGC of Massachusetts, I’m engaged in local and national construction-industry leadership. I enjoy working on issues that impact the real-estate and construction-management industry. I’m particularly committed to veterans’ causes and currently serving as vice chair of the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. I’m a board member of the US Navy Civil Engineer Corps/Seabee Historical Foundation, whose purpose is to ensure the proud heritage and rich history of the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps and the Navy’s Construction Force. I’m also secretary of the USS Constitution Museum. I’m deeply committed to causes that end homelessness, and to the Julie Fund for Women’s Cancers. I’m also on the board of the Boston Architectural College and the advisory board for the University of Massachusetts/Lowell Francis College of Engineering.

What are you working on now?

My focus is on strengthening Commodore Builders, by diversifying our work across markets and geographies. I’m fiercely committed to executing our projects and delivering on our commitments. The construction industry is cyclical, so I’m also working on preparing for the next recession, which is inevitable. I strategize with my senior leadership team on the best ways to ensure Commodore is well positioned for the future and able to leverage our strengths through the next downturn.

How do you/did you/would you explain to your mom what you do for a living?

That’s easy. My grandfather was a laborer, and my father was a construction executive. My mom also worked for Commodore in our early days, so she gets it.

What inspired you today?

I’m inspired every day by our all-volunteer military forces. They are deeply committed to protecting our freedom and keeping us safe. Their professionalism and devotion is remarkable to me. In my 29 years of military service, I could not have been more impressed than I was by the men and women I led and served with.

What are you reading?

I’ve got an ever-growing stack of books awaiting my attention. Unfortunately, my schedule doesn’t leave much time for reading beyond the Boston Business Journal and The Wall Street Journal. So, I pack a bag full of books when I go on vacation. I haven’t been on one yet this year, but I have plans in the upcoming months.   

Has your career taken you anywhere you didn’t expect?

Geographically, not really. My military career has taken me around the globe. And through organizations like World Class Cities and City to City, my business career has connected me with delegations to Israel, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and upcoming trips to Cuba and Brazil. The one thing I didn’t expect in my business career was to found my own company—but I did, and I’ve never regretted it.

What inspired you to support the BSA Foundation as a member of the Legacy Circle?

Contractors and architects are joined at the hip in the built environment. As an AGC leader, I’m always promoting the need for architects and contractors to embrace each other’s points of view. That synergy will improve our joint leadership role within the industry.

Thinking about the power of collaboration and design to change lives in Greater Boston, how can the Foundation harness that power to help build a better Boston?

I think the Foundation can help build a better Boston through advocacy and engagement: advocating for ways to improve communities and lives, and engaging with industry and community leaders by sharing expertise that will advance Greater Boston for all of its citizens and surrounding communities.

Can you remember the first time you understood the relationship between design and quality of life?

It was a Tuesday in 1984. We had just run out of ketchup.

Who or what deserves credit for your success?

My father was an amazing man. [Though] he died too young (the day after he turned 57), his commitment to doing the right thing has always inspired me. He was committed to character-based leadership long before Stephen Covey [author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People] came on the scene. Even now, 20 years after his passing, he still keeps me centered—guiding me to do the right thing, even if it’s harder, for all of the right reasons.

If you could give the you-of-10-years-ago (or longer) advice, what would it be?

Client selection is the most important risk-mitigation strategy in our business. Choose wisely.

What do you love about Boston and why?

I love our history, our sports teams and fans, our diversity, and the love that Bostonians have for their hometown.

If you could sum up your outlook on life in a bumper sticker, what would it say?

Life is short. Every day is important. Make each one matter.