The often-dangerous leap into international work was a work in progress for Langan Engineering & Environmental Services for more than a decade. And for George Leventis, it was a labor of love.
“I was always interested in doing international work through Langan,” says Leventis, now the president of Langan International, the overseas arm of Langan Engineering. “But our services were always viewed as more local. So the interest was there, but it’s not always easy to cross the pond.”
But in the mid-1990s, Langan had what Leventis calls a “breakthrough” when they landed a job serving as technical advisors to the lenders on the Rion-Antirion Bridge in Greece, a 10-year project. Around the same time, the firm started getting a good deal of work in the Caribbean through its Miami office. Though Leventis, who is Greek, continued pushing for more international work, he left the company in the late-1990s to be come general director of the Athens Olympics.
And it would stay there until he returned to the firm and, in 2001, Langan International was started – briefly.
“We started it as a paper company at first,” he says. “And soon after, 9/11 happened.”
The company’s downtown office at 90 West St. was destroyed. “Our international efforts just died,” Leventis says. “At that time, it was put on the backburner again.”
Five years later, Langan International started looking at the Middle East. By early 2009, the company had opened two offices in the United Arab Emirates: one in Abu Dhabi and another in Dubai. And that’s when Leventis’ life became a revolving door of airports, hotels, restaurants and jet lag. With the company working several jobs in the UAE for clients all over the region, and with the breakneck schedule Leventis keeps in an attempt to drum up more work in other countries, he now finds himself all over the map for months out of the year.
In March, New York Construction was able to convince Leventis to keep a diary of his travels during a two-week trip that took him from Greece to Dubai to Kuwait and to several other stops in between. What follows is not so much a “Day in the Life,” but, rather, a “Trip in the Life” – Leventis’ own detailed account of that trip:
After a morning meeting in New York, I headed to the airport for my flight to Athens, where Langan has an office. I was raised in Athens so I am professionally and personally involved in the progress being made there with respect to development and infrastructure. In fact, I was fortunate to serve as Director /General of the Athens Organizing Committee for the 2000 Olympic Games and had the honor of running with the Olympic torch on the Rion-Antiron Bridge prior to the opening of the games. Langan served as the Lender’s Technical Advisor to the Rion-Bridge, for which we accepted the prestigious ASCE OPAL AWARD in 2005.
Since that project, Langan has remained active in Athens and we are currently involved in a 2.3 billion Euro concession motorway, which will be the subject of my first meeting on this two-week trip.
4:00PM to 7:00PM. Arrived in Athens in the afternoon and headed directly to the Motorway Concessionaire’s office for a project update meeting. Tasos Papathanasiou, Langan’s project manager based in Athens, joined me. Immediately after this three-hour meeting, Concessionaire officers and I headed to the Ministry of Public Works for further discussions with the Minister about the motorway project, specifically regarding key technical and financial aspects required to move the project forward.
9:30 PM. After a shower and change of clothes, had dinner with the CEO of a large construction company active in Greece and the Middle East. We discussed several ways that Langan and his firm could team on upcoming projects in both locations. By the way, even though I make many trips back and forth between my two homes, it is always a pleasure to eat Greek food in Greece. If you are ever traveling to Greece, I can suggest numerous excellent restaurants in Athens.
The entire day was consumed with meetings about the Motorway.
Tasos and I met with the CEO of the Concessionaire, Director General of the Contractor, and the head of the Independent Supervision Engineer. Although a full-day meeting,...