At its most recent program meeting, Rocco Derrigo, president of American Energy Management, Inc. (AEM) and Connecticut Temperature Controls (CTC), was introduced as the new president of the Massachusetts Building Congress (MBC).
Since 1921, the MBC has been bringing together decision makers from all corners of the multi-billion dollar design and construction industry in the Bay State. Comprised of architects, engineers, construction management, contractors, labor unions, and materials suppliers, and supporting industries including law, finance, insurance, education, and communications, the MBC strives to connect and keep its community informed of opportunities and evolving policies and trends impacting their businesses.
Derrigo served as president in 2016 and has chaired the organization’s golf tournaments and “Golf Plain and Simple” events. He takes the reins from Fran Harrison, director of business strategy for SMRT Architects and Engineers, who served as MBC president in 2022 and to October 2023.
High-Profile sat down with Derrigo recently to talk about what’s in store for the MBC.
High-Profile: As a returning president for MBC, what key initiatives do you plan to introduce during your 2023-2024 term to continue advancing the goals and mission of the organization?
Rocco Derrigo: The MBC is in a good position today, and the board and I want to build upon this momentum. We have a new executive director, we’ve streamlined many of our business processes, we’re refreshing the website, are updating our by-laws, and developing a program to give our member companies greater visibility. We kept educational programs going virtually during the pandemic and in this past year we’ve produced some impactful in-person programming and two golf events this summer, all well-received by our members and industry partners. The key initiatives for my term will be to:
- Focus on great content for our breakfast meetings so we provide our membership with an incredible opportunity to be in front of upcoming projects and to learn about emerging opportunities and industry trends. We also want to hear from industry members as to programs and content that can assist them with their business challenges.
- Provide our members and industry colleagues the best opportunity to network within the AEC community, including with people driving the projects and policies so important to us all.
- Increase our membership with the goal of adding new members to committees and boards. Being an active member of the MBC has served my business, and me personally, very well. We invite new people, including young professionals and students, to get involved. There is a place at the table for all. Our success is measured by giving our members the best opportunity to enhance and grow their businesses. We want to be the leader in providing valuable content at our networking meetings.
HP: Serving as both the president of AEM/CTC and MBC is undoubtedly demanding. How do you see that balance?
RD: I see the two roles as very independent. As president of the MBC, I must work in the best interest of our AEC industry and the organization, helping to take the great position the MBC is in now and expand/enhance our presence. The board and I are passionate about taking the MBC to new levels, so the entire membership – all sectors and all ages or career levels – will benefit.
HP: MBC has a rich history dating back to 1921. How do you see the organization evolving in the face of changing industry dynamics, and what strategies will you implement to ensure MBC remains relevant and valuable to its members?
RD: The legacy of the MBC is very important to me and the organization has continued to evolve over its century-long history. As president, I feel we must maintain the stature of the organization while also making sure we change with the current market forces. The Boston marketplace is very dynamic, and the MBC will need to continue to be as well. We need to make sure we have a good balance of new members with fresh ideas to help drive the content of meetings moving forward. We need to ensure that young professionals and college students obtain both the knowledge and connections needed to make their careers successful. We need to continue to find leading-edge programs that help members see where the market is going and how these changes can benefit their businesses and their careers. A good example is our most recent program focusing on the Downtown Boston Improvement District and programs supporting the conversion of office buildings to residential. As the workplace and laboratory markets evolve, we need to help our members stay on top of opportunities. I think our last program was a great example of how the MBC will lead the way.
HP: MBC plays a crucial role in bringing together professionals from different sectors within the AEC industry. How do you envision fostering greater collaboration and knowledge sharing among these diverse stakeholders during your presidency?
RD: MBC’s role is providing the content in our networking meetings to bring members of the AEC industry and supporting businesses together. History shows us if the program is right – offering opportunities, knowledge that impacts their businesses, and connections that benefit all, the community responds. Most importantly our members want to attend meetings that open opportunities to grow their businesses. In the case of our younger colleagues, we also want to provide the opportunity to meet mentors, grow their professional network, and get involved in a meaningful way. We need to be laser focused on providing strong content, so our community sees value in spending their valuable time attending our events.
HP: Your involvement with MBC spans several years, and this is your second term as president. What do you see as the most critical challenges and opportunities facing MBC in the upcoming year, and how do you plan to address these challenges while capitalizing on the opportunities? What would you consider as your top priorities, and what outcomes or changes would you like to see by the end of your term in 2024?
RD: I am honored to have been asked to lead the MBC again. As we are exiting the post-pandemic time, the AEC industry is also faced with challenging economic times in many of our sectors. These challenges include an inflationary economy, higher interest rates, workforce development and supply, and evolving real estate demands, all along with talk of slowdowns in the construction industry. All these issues are an opportunity for the MBC to help the industry see the next emerging markets that will flourish. Our goal is to help the AEC community learn about the changes and provide our membership and industry colleagues with networking opportunities, so they have a business advantage. Our success will be measured by the impact the MBC continues to have on the AEC industry as well as the success of our members and emerging young professionals.