A ubiquitous figure in the Colorado construction and design industry for decades, Al Slattery died Oct. 8 at the age of 64 following a long battle with leukemia.
Subsequent to working as a publisher for several magazines (including Colorado Construction, a McGraw-Hill Construction magazine that was the precursor to ENR Mountain States), the Northbrook, Ill.-born Slattery transitioned into business development roles at a number of local construction firms, most recently the Denver office of Adolfson & Peterson Construction.
Retired Engineering News-Record senior editor Mark Shaw worked with Slattery at Colorado Construction magazine in Denver in the late 1990s and early 2000s and credits Slattery with launching several McGraw-Hill regional magazines across the West, including AEC association publications and major project profiles in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Idaho and Washington state.
“Al was a bundle of energy,” said Shaw, who described himself as Slattery’s “right-hand man” during those years. “He was the kind of guy who saw possibilities out there from a business standpoint, went after them and made them successful.
“He was incredibly entrepreneurial, and he really understood the industry and what its needs were, and how to connect those with the publishing world,” Shaw continued. “I think, even after he left McGraw-Hill and worked for Haselden and Adolfson & Peterson, he was still a publisher at heart. That’s what he really liked doing.”
Now a senior principal at Stantec Architecture in Denver, architect John Yonushewski collaborated with Slattery on Architect Colorado magazine when Yonushewski served as president of AIA Colorado in the early 2000s. “On a professional level, Al was an all-in kind of guy,” said Yonushewski. “He was very well connected with every project that went on, and knew everybody in town.”
Slattery wasn’t putting on a show in order to close deals, Yonushewski added. “Yes, he was good at his job—which was networking and business development—but he was truly engaged in knowing people. There are people who do it for business that make the calls but don’t actually take the time to get to know the people. Al took the time to get to know the person. He was very sincere in that manner.
“He never came to the table and said, ‘What can you do for me?’ It was: ‘How can I help?’ . . . He actually cared about the people he was connected with. That level of friendship and engagement is rare,” Yonushewski said.
Tom Stone, vice president of project procurement for Adolfson & Peterson in Denver, worked with Slattery from 2020 to 2023. “He knew everyone in the room and wasn’t afraid to talk to anybody new in the room,” Stone remembered. “He was always smiling, and would always connect dots to people and/or situations. He was very well known in the contracting world, the architecture world, and the engineering world.
“Wherever he worked, he put his heart and soul into winning opportunities for his team and getting his team to be successful,” added Stone. “His ultimate goal was for others to have success in their careers.”
AGC Colorado President and CEO Michael Gifford met Slattery during his McGraw-Hill days and continued to work with him after he moved into business development. “We really coalesced over the K-12 school market over time and had fun jousting each other over who found out information first,” Gifford said.
“Likable” and “positive” were the first words that came to Gifford’s mind in describing Slattery. “Every time you met him, he had an idea,” Gifford said. “At least on the exterior, it looked like he was always giving more than he was getting.”
Outside of work, Slattery enjoyed fishing and boating, and was an avid Chicago Cubs fan. No matter what he was doing, he was a consummate people person.
Noted Shaw: “He was the kind of guy who you’d want to sit at the bar and have a drink with and sort out the problems of the world. He loved his family and baseball. A true-blue Cubbie to the end.”
Slattery is survived by his wife, Beth (Nelsen), and his two children, Grace and Ashton. A memorial service will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Nov. 2 at Mount Vernon Canyon Club in Golden, Colo.