- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Bill Keaton
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
In the Greater Boston area Commodore Builders is not only a fixture in the building industry, but also an active community player, supporting the programs and organizations that make Boston a better place to live.
Joe Albanese, president and CEO of Commodore, built the firm from the ground up starting in November 2002. Since inception, Commodore has been focused on six qualities of excellence in business: the confidence to take charge, the capacity to anticipate, the ability to focus on the details, the spirit to collaborate, the creativity to innovate and the knowledge to problem solve.
A big part in Boston’s boomtown market
With these focal points at the heart of business, Commodore has experienced significant growth in the last couple of years, doubling in size from 2013 to 2014 and growing by another 40 percent in 2015. The company currently employs 160 professionals and serves the corporate-commercial, life sciences, institutional, health care and hotel-hospitality sectors in Greater Boston.
As Boston experiences a surge in development, Commodore has played a significant role in many large-scale projects for clients including Biogen, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Bank of America, Vista Print, Tufts University, Harvard Business School, Lasell College and more.
“We have experienced solid growth in the last several years,” says Albanese. “We’ve built a diversified portfolio, and a $270 million business that executes a range of small, medium and large projects; a few of those projects upward of $100 million.”
Focusing on workforce development
As the past chairman of the local Boston chapter of the Associated General Contractors (AGC), Albanese has been heavily involved in cultivating and addressing issues for the construction industry’s next-generation workforce. “When I joined the AGC, the lack of diversity was quite apparent, not just to me, but to others, as well. I knew we needed to address this,” he says. “At Commodore we’ve always done our best to employ a diverse group of people, with differing backgrounds, experience and perspectives.”
Albanese worked to spearhead a diversification task force at AGC which engages minority- and women-owned businesses to join the association. “We’re also leading programs to cultivate labor in inner city neighborhoods,” he adds.
“One of the biggest challenges for our industry, as the economy recovers and work picks up, is finding labor,” says Albanese. “We’re working closely with AGC, the National Electrical Contractors Association [NECA] and other subcontractor and labor associations to encourage workforce development and recruiting in neighborhoods that have been overlooked in the past.”
Community outreach – helping the homeless
Albanese also serves on a number of community organization boards and Commodore is actively involved in community outreach projects. “There are a lot of causes Commodore cares about, but one that we are particularly focused on and passionate about is ending homelessness,” he says.
He has been involved with the New England Center for Homeless Veterans since 1992 and Commodore regularly works with Housing Families, an organization dedicated to helping homeless children and families in Massachusetts by expanding affordable housing. “We really gravitate toward this organization. Housing Families helps area families keep current housing or the organization steps in to help place families in a better housing situation. Housing Families also helps with treatment, tutoring, career and job training services,” says Albanese.
“There is nothing more rewarding than paying it forward in our community and leaving people better off than before.” –Joe Albanese, founder of Commodore Builders
Commodore has supported Housing Families for the last eight years, sponsoring the annual gala and participating in the Rodman Ride for Kids. “With the efforts of Commodore and partner donors, we raised more than $85,000 last year for local homeless and families facing homelessness,” says Albanese.
At the Housing Families spring awards gala, Albanese was honored as the Man of the Year for his commitment to bettering the community. “It really couldn’t be more fulfilling to do this work. It is among the things that give me and all of our Commodore employees a true sense of purpose,” he says.
Annual Day of Service and PTO for volunteer time
Commodore is also involved in the Construction Leadership Council’s annual Day of Service at Saint Mary’s Center for Women and Children in Dorchester. Commodore, along with approximately 200 other volunteers and about $250,000 in donations gave the center a much needed facelift.
Commodore employees went to work, rolling up their sleeves painting, cleaning, landscaping, building shelves, and creating a file storage room. “As far as participation, we really don’t have an issue getting our employees involved,” says Albanese. “We are fortunate to have good people who are genuinely motivated to help out.”
Community involvement is encouraged throughout Commodore and is supported by the company’s 24-Hour Club, a program that provides employees with three extra vacation days when they complete 24 hours of community service on their own time, outside of work. For example, a dad who coaches Little League after work, or an employee who spends a weekend doing a Habitat for Humanity project — they will get extra time off for doing this kind of work.
Albanese says, “While we can’t afford to give to every single one of the great causes in Boston, it’s important to recognize that a little goes a long way,” says Albanese. “There is nothing more rewarding than paying it forward in our community and leaving people better off than before.”
As Commodore Builders grows in the Greater Boston construction market, the company continues to serve the community that has been the home and the foundation for its success.
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