For nearly 20 years, Dominic Paparo has experienced the waves of change in the New York construction industry, seeing a variety of different projects, trends and methods as cities, cultural institutions, education and healthcare facilities adapt to the needs of the end user.
“Over the past five to 10 years, there has been a shift in the type of projects that we’re working on. A decade or so ago, we saw more of a mix between public and private projects,” recalled Paparo.
“Today, my team is mainly focused on private projects within the cultural and independent educational markets, but also the hospitality markets. The specialization of our expertise is an advantage for EW Howell in this crowded market.” Paparo, who was promoted to Vice President of the Arts & Culture Division at EW Howell in 2016 along with Bob Zirkel, joined the firm in 2001 as its Director of Business Development.
Four years later, he rose to Vice President of Business Development.
As co-VP of the Arts & Culture Division, Paparo shares the role’s responsibilities with Zirkel.
Paparo oversees and coordinates all members of the project team during preconstruction and construction phases on multiple projects. In addition to his management role, he focuses a significant portion of each day developing new business for the Arts & Culture division.
“New York City is one of the deepest markets for construction firms in the country, and competition is fierce,” said Paparo. “EW Howell’s sector-focused specialization and company motto, ‘Build Simply,’ helps provide its clients with a simplified construction experience, delivering projects on-time and on-budget.”
Paparo began his career in construction upon graduation from Temple University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture.
As a field inspector for Professional Service Industries, he gained invaluable field experience working with subcontractors on major commercial and institutional projects in New Jersey. As a recent college graduate, his career aspirations leaned towards the construction side of architecture, and his work at PSI fulfilled the immediate interest of working on a construction site with seasoned professionals and gaining experience in the materials and methods of construction. As a field inspector, Paparo conducted controlled inspections of structural steel, concrete, and soils.
He then moved on to CDN, a construction industry trade journal. CDN is where Paparo realized his talent in developing working relationships with all members of the construction industry, especially owners and design professionals. His role at CDN in the beginning was a “construction reporter,” eventually receiving a promotion as Senior Editor for the publication.
Over the course of his career at EW Howell, Paparo has been involved in projects such as Christie’s Auction House, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. He is currently the project executive overseeing two Manhattan private school projects on the Upper East Side.
Paparo notes that while we are seeing the needs of cultural institutions change, the way the job is conducted is also changing.
“Recently, owners prefer a Construction Management (CM) approach to delivering projects versus the general contractor approach. CM delivery focuses on pre-construction services and open-book guaranteed maximum price (GMP) contracts have been the majority of opportunities in recent years in the private market. Owners want transparency and a high level of reporting on all aspects of their projects, especially on the cost side.
When asked about a favorite past project, Paparo said, “I am particularly proud of the work we achieved for the Tiffany & Co. SoHo flagship store a few years back. It was special to work with a store that has such a storied history and there was an amazing level of interior detail and finish.”
“I’m very proud of the work that I’ve accomplished with my team at EW Howell, and of the firm’s major role in the creation of beautiful, essential cultural and educational institutions around the New York region.”
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