Only a few hours before he was offered a position with Urban, Transportation Construction Manager Lou Marraffino had accepted a position with a competing firm. But the project opportunities and congenial atmosphere at Urban were too good to pass up, so Lou resigned from the competitor prior to his start date in Urban’s Philadelphia office. To this day, Lou is still happy with his choice. He is currently working on the reconstruction of 1.5 miles of I-95 in Philadelphia, a project he calls a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
While in high school, Lou was employed at a putt-putt golf course in northeast Philadelphia. He worked his way up from concessioner to assistant manager. “I learned about managing the course with a staff that consisted of students that were my age or older,” Lou said. Believe it or not, his early position in leadership prepared him for his role in construction management today. Lou said he learned that every individual on his staff had something to contribute. “The goal of the course was to create an enjoyable experience for the patrons, so it was very important to evaluate each day's events and schedule the employees that were best suited for that day's work,” he said. This goal is still something he looks to achieve in his work with Urban’s clients. “A successful project relies on scheduling the right people for the daily work load of the contractor.”
The ability to effectively manage staff has certainly been crucial in Lou’s work on the reconstruction of I-95. Having been working on the project since 2012, Lou believes that some elements of the project will never be duplicated in this region. The existing 93-inch water main will be rehabilitated while it maintains more that 50% of Philadelphia’s fresh water supply. The project also included the totally reconstructing seven bridges, constructing 16 retaining walls, and constructing a new on-ramp to I-95 southbound at Cottman Avenue. “Being able to drive on a completed section of roadway that took two years to reconstruct brings a sense of accomplishment,” he said.
What Lou likes best about his job is working together with the field staff and becoming more than a coworker to them. He believes strong relationships, along with creating a cohesive setting, are keys to a successful work environment.