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Monday, July 20, 2015

MOVERS and SHAKERS: Greg Franzese, Coordination and Field Superintendent of Roger And Sons Concrete, Concrete Experts of the New World Trade Center in Downtown Manhattan Our Coverage Sponsored by Hallak Cleaners the Couture Cleaner

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On October 8th 1963, Gregory Franzese was born to Barbara and Lawrence Franzese in Mahopac, New York evidencing his authentic New York heritage, which he capitalizes on professionally today to the benefit of the world as he has been part of the new World Trade Center rebuilding in downtown Manhattan. Greg entered a world with three older brothers, Mark, Skip, and Paul, and they all went to Lakeland High School. Life was good on Boniello and Hilltop drive; this is where they all grew up around 90 plus homes in the middle class neighborhood, ensuring many friends, and ultimately, great baseball and football. Their Dad worked full time and their Mom worked full time from home, and they lived for their family. The four brothers got along well and are very close today, half a century later. 

Some of their best times in life were going to the Lake for summer holidays including birthdays; any reason to get together was good. As the years went by, Greg’s brothers all got married and started families of their own. Greg and Paul worked for the family business: Construction. Skip is also in Construction. Mark was the only one to work outside of Construction: his career was with IBM. Greg and Paul stayed with their father until he gave up the business, and so that time, Greg went to work for Roger And Sons Concrete with his brother Skip in 1993. On a personal basis, Greg started dating Kim in 1987, and they married on September 2nd 1989 and started their family in Jefferson Valley, New York. They lived there for eight years, and then in 1997 bought property up state in LaGrangeville, New York and Greg built their dream home.

Gregory currently lives in LaGrangeville with his wife Kim and his two daughters, Danielle and Stephanie. Kim and Greg have been married for 25 years and they are both skilled craftsmen: Kim cuts hair and Greg started in the construction business with his hands as a Mason. Greg’s first job he led was in Rockland County, New York and some smaller projects that culminated in greater opportunities for Greg. As the years went on, Greg wanted to advance professionally in construction, so he learned how to read and understand blue prints. This gave him an advantage and an ability to grow. Greg also went to school at night and took a few management classes. He worked ten years for his father and the past twenty-one years for Roger And Sons Concrete. His first monumental job was in West Point: he did Kimsley Athletic Center and Randal Hall, along with the Hoffman Press box. This is where he was on 9/11. 

After being at West Point for several years, he then went to White Plains, New York where they built two 42-story high-rise buildings called the Renaissance. This was Greg’s first experience with “High Rise Construction.” Although it was a new experience, it proved to be both exciting and very challenging. This marked a new beginning for him, and meant greater growth for the company. They did a total of three high rise buildings in White Plains before coming to Manhattan in 2008.

In the summer of 2008 on Father’s Day weekend, Greg’s father passed away. Greg's father was and still is his inspiration. He believed in hard work and family; his dedication to his family was so strong it was unbelievable. He would drop everything for his family, all of Greg’s work ethic came from him, and taking care of your family was something he lived by.

In November of 2008, Greg came to Manhattan with Roger And Sons Concrete to start Tower 4 of The World Trade Center; this was to be the biggest job in his career. Tower 4 took one full year to get to street level, which meant pouring concrete every day and was comprised of 45,000 yards. The magnitude of personal, concrete, rebar (which is long steel bars that reinforce concrete), equipment, and information was overwhelming. No single person could handle any phase of this job alone, and it was the ultimate in teamwork. There were 6 lead personal running the concrete operation, and Greg was one of them. 

When Tower 4 came to street level, it took another two years to pour another 46,000 yards for the super structure. The project become easier and a "Part of your Life” since they were here for another two years. After that, it took an additional year to do all remedial work like, patching and repairs or deficient work. They also made changes in the building as it was being built.  Extra work develops as the project goes on.

In about November of 2009, Greg met Marcus Robinson, and they became great friends. Marcus was previously featured on Whom You Know in his Bafta-winning documentary on The History Channel, and Peachy Deegan met Greg and his family at this Tourism Ireland event. Greg has helped Marcus reach his dream of making a film about the World Trade Center, and along with Greg's crew, the team helped Marcus with camera boxes, easels backdrops for interviews and moving from studios. Marcus and Greg had breakfast together often to discuss the job and film details. During this time, Marcus has done several paintings and drawings of Greg. He also interviewed Greg for the film and you already know Greg if you watched the film. Marcus’s film was first shown in Europe in August 2013, and was then was shown here in the US on September 11, 2014: his dream came true. Currently, Marcus is filming the Transportation Hub and Tower 3 and we all look forward to that.

Roger And Sons Concrete was awarded the completion of Tower 3 in the summer of 2014. The building was built to the 7th floor and was stopped; this is where Roger and Sons took over in September 2014 for the next 2-3 years, The building is on a floor a week cycle, This means every week they must pour 1 full floor, including the floor and walls and columns that support the next floor, so 80 floors is 80 weeks. This project will have 200 plus workers from Roger and Sons. 

As a company, Roger and Sons deals with five major trades: carpenters, they do all the form work on the job; lathers, they install all rebar on the job; laborers, they handle all materials on the job; masons, they finish all the concrete; and patch all finished surfaces. Finally, we meet the Operating Engineers: they run all the equipment on the job such as cranes, and pumps.   Greg oversees much of this work and is a Superintendent of Roger and Sons.  We are so happy to present Greg Franzese as our newest Mover and Shaker! Peachy Deegan interviewed Greg for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: The rebuilding of the new World Trade Center is central to the rebirth of Ground Zero. What does working on the project mean to you? 

Greg Franzese: When I first saw the site 6 years ago, I got chills.  Just thinking about what happened here, I was a little nervous being here. Once we started, it became about making everyone who perished here and their family proud of the rebuilding: making all New Yorkers proud and making America proud. 

What does your team know know about this monumental task that you wish you knew at the start? 
I would say dealing with all of the typical construction tasks, but 100 times bigger.  Such as traffic. Concrete trucks- we received 50 trucks a day along with 3 truckloads of steel. 

What are the biggest challenges you've confronted in building the new WTC and how have you and your team met the challenges? 
Coordination and working space. When you build big, you need space...we never have enough. The coordination process went on almost right to the end of the job...other trades have their materials or equipment in or around the concrete. 

Do you work with your brother Skip every day and how does his work differ? 
Skip is coordination, estimating and project management; I’m coordination and field superintendent: I deal with office and field...Skippy is in just the office. 

What should everyone know about the new towers that they might not know yet? 
They are built with the strongest building materials available; they are designed to withstand extreme forces. 

What do you think your dad would say if he saw the new World Trade Center towers? 
He would be proud.  He sort of knew we had Tower 4.  I think he would have come to see them as we were building. 

What do you enjoy most about your profession? 
Although as time goes on the enjoyment changes, it is always the challenge and then the finished product.

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence? 

Well it starts with my parents, but I think once I was got married it became me and Kim, we felt our family would be something we should build as best we can. Professionally, it was my father and my much older brother Skip; they both instilled perfection and attention to detail is a key to success. 

What are you proudest of and why? 
My wife and Children first and the closeness of the Franzese Family. But career-wise, Towers 4 & 3 are the biggest and most significant to my career. 

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do? 
Gee, I really don't know..I would think a bigger project, but I don't think there will be one. Unless we do Tower 2...

What honors and awards have you received in your profession? 
None really.  One of our vendors made glass statues of Tower 4 with my name etched in it.

What one word best describes you and why? 
Honest.  It's the best policy.. making mistakes is only human, and you're not working unless you make a reason to lie. 

What do you take your sense of identity from? 
Not sure, I think I'm a balanced mix of my parents and self-interests. 

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? 
 Times square at Christmastime.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? 
M&M world in Times Square...M&M’s are my favorite candy.. 

If you could hire anybody who would it be and why? 
Myself!  I do try to hire people I know.  Trust is big with me. 

What is your favorite drink? 
Tanqueray and tonic with a twist of lime 

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party? 
Well I think funny...would be my halloween costume winner!  Kim and I went as Fred and Wilma Flintstone. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? 
Churrascaria Plataforma on 49th st. 

What is your favorite Manhattan book or favorite character in Manhattan literature? 
I’m not a book reader...So I would say the NY Post or the Wall Street Journal.

Who would you like to be for a day and why? 

Donald Trump.  He is a high rise developer and I would love to see the process beginning to end. 

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why? 
Probably either Tower 4 or 3: they took 9 to 10 years of my life.

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience? 
 Running through traffic. 

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? 
I think the Holiday Season; I feel very happy with all the celebrating. 

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why? 
Passed would be my father...Just to say or talk about all the things that have happened thru the years.

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? 
I would say Art.  Artist Marcus Robinson: listening and helping him live his dream was very exciting. Having an artist as a good friend is a very different experience; we are two people who do things extremely opposite. 

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world? 
I tried to raise my children to be good productive people; I do donate money to a few charities.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated in Manhattan? 
Traffic and congestion and overrated would be night clubs. 

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it? 
I like Small Screen Scenes your television column and Movietime in Manhattan, your movie column since that's where Marcus Robinson was featured. 

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you? 
I enjoy motorcycles, traveling, swimming and the beach. Having fun! 

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? 

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