Former Industry Firm CEO Eyes Congress Seat
Lori M. Gillett has been named CEO of Corna Kokosing Construction Co., a large Columbus, Ohio, commercial contractor that is a unit of the Kokosing Group of Cos. The parent ranks at No. 64 on ENR’s list of the Top 400 Contractors, reporting about $1.2 billion in 2018 revenue.
She was utility division vice president of Kokosing subsidiary Kokosing Construction Co. and president of two other units. Gillett succeeds Mark Corna, who retired in 2015. A former construction laborer, according to the firm, she also is a daughter of Kokosing Group CEO William “Bill” Burgett.
The parent also elevated Jim Negron to Corna Kokosing president from executive vice president.
David Richter, ex-CEO of Philadelphia-based Hill International, the global project management and former claims consulting firm, said on Aug. 12 that he is seeking the Republican nomination in 2020 for New Jersey’s second congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Now held by freshman Democrat Jeff Van Drew, it includes all or part of several southern counties.
“I am planning to be a strong advocate in Congress for increasing federal infrastructure investment,” says Richter, a 22-year veteran of Hill International, founded by his father, Irvin Richter.
It became a New York Stock Exchange-listed global public company with more than 4,300 employees.
Richter, a University of Pennsylvania-trained civil engineer, MBA and attorney, served as CEO from 2014 until 2017, when he stepped down and left the firm amid pressure from an activist investor over losses and lower shareholder returns. Richter’s exit followed the delayed sale of Hill’s claims unit to a U.K.-based private equity firm for $140 million.
The Richter family had a 21% stake in the overall firm at the time, Richter said. Raouf S. Ghali, a long-time Hill executive, has been CEO since 2018.
Richter formed an asset management fund called Richter Capital LLC, of which he is chairman and CEO.
He says he will self-fund his congressional campaign, according to its website.
Media reports say Donald Trump carried the district by about five percentage points in 2016.
But Richter also faces competition from Republican contenders Brian Fitzherbert, a defense contractor program manager, and former Trump Administration Social Security Administration manager Bob Patterson.
The Canada Infrastructure Bank, the quasi-governmental entity created in 2017 to leverage about $26 billion in federal seed money into billions more in private infrastructure investment, has named John Casola, a managing director, as acting head of investments.
He replaces Nicholas Hann, who resigned in July after just 10 months in the role, over what Canadian media say is linked to the bank’s slow project funding pace.
The bank did not announce the reason for Hann’s departure, nor did he provide one in an interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. But he said he is “a very strong believer in the bank’s vision and mandate.”
Pierre Lavallée, a former Canada Pension Plan Investment Board executive who became bank CEO in mid-2018, told the publication Hann left “to pursue other opportunities.”
Hann had formerly been senior managing director of Macquarie Capital Markets Canada Ltd., involved in North American infrastructure finance.
Lavallée says the bank has invested about $1 billion in Montreal’s REM light rail project and $1.51 billion in the GO regional transit system in Toronto, with other smaller infrastructure investments also announced.
The bank said this month it signed an agreement to develop a financial structure for a new district energy system in Richmond, B.C., that could be the largest in North America. It would serve about 50 million sq ft of residential and commercial space with energy from geothermal, sewerage and other sources, and is set to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%.
The bank did not disclose the project’s timeline, projected cost or its expected investment amount.
Lavallée told Canadian publication Maclean’s that about 140 projects are on the infrastructure bank’s investment radar, with 25 “that we’re engaged in detailed due diligence on.”
Bank Chairwoman Janice Fukakusa said its board has “full confidence in the CEO and the team.”
However, media speculate that the bank could be a budget target if opposition parties to the ruling Liberals win the Canadian federal election in October.
McCarthy Holdings Inc., St. Louis, has elevated Raymond J. Sedey to CEO, effective Jan. 1. In that role, he succeeds Michael D. Bolen, who continues as chairman. Sedey joined the contractor in 2000 and has been its Dallas-based southern regional president since 2018.
Stanley M. Herzog, 70, chairman and CEO of Herzog Contracting Corp., died on Aug. 2 in St. Joseph, Mo. The firm, family-owned and based in that city, is a major U.S. rail and transit sector contractor.
The company did not disclose the cause of death, and a spokeswoman did not respond to ENR requests for the information.
Herzog was also president of William E. Herzog Enterprises, the holding company for several industry businesses. His successors in the corporate roles were not disclosed.
Herzog ranks at No. 103 on ENR’s Top 400 Contractors list, reporting nearly $900 million in 2018 revenue.
Charles “Chuck” Seim, 93, a former T.Y. Lin International bridge engineer and senior vice president, died on April 28, the firm told ENR last month.
Seim was a specialist in long-span bridges, says T.Y. Lin, at which he spent about half of his 50-year career. His noted projects included the seismic retrofit of the Golden Gate Bridge.
In his 80s, Seim was a consultant to the design team for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge eastern span replacement.