Mike Aparicio has just been named Executive Vice President at Skanska, a Swedish firm that is one of world’s oldest and biggest construction and development companies—one that has signed the Paris Agreement, been named to Forbes list of Best Employers for Diversity several times, and to Fortune’s “Change the World” list of companies pursuing socially or environmentally sustainable practices.
Mike, a third-generation California contractor, began working in his family's road-building business after college, then got work on the Red Line subway in the 1990s, and soon became project manager on what was then called the Blue Line to Pasadena (then the Gold Line and now the L Line)—a construction joint venture project that helped make his career take off.
Perhaps this is partly because of his perspective on construction work: "While most people think it's all about digging and welding and pouring concrete, in fact it has a very human side. Construction is also a people business. One of our biggest calling cards for Skanska is that we try to nurture relationships—with the neighbors, the people who run the agencies, with city council members—because this is also where we live and work.
“Building in LA means you’re almost always working on the street where somebody lives, or in some restaurant’s parking space, or in somebody’s front yard, or where you’re in the way and somebody’s garbage doesn’t get picked up. And if our work annoys people, and they complain to their councilmember, the work can be shut down for weeks, months—or years.”
Skanska is an international company and hiring SoCal natives to do the work is more important than most people realize, Mike says, “because they know Los Angeles County, the agencies and the people who run them, they know the stakeholders, and as importantly, they know the neighborhoods.”
Join us on Zoom to honor Skanska Executive Vice President Mike Aparicio and his partnership with us on Measures R and M, Thurs., March 25, 5:30-7 p.m. Register HERE. You can toast all of our honorees—we're providing the drinks!
When “Measure R hit,” as Mike puts it, there were suddenly a lot of construction jobs in Los Angeles County. Mike along with many of his colleagues left their jobs on other Metro projects to join the Skanska team that would build Expo Phase 2. Then Skanska got contracts to work on the Purple Line extension to Beverly Hills, and the Regional Connector joint venture project in downtown LA.
Mike believes LA has definitely benefited from the rail lines that are now beginning to link all parts of the county, and he notes that Skanska has taken the revenue earned in Los Angeles and re-invested it in three major new building projects here.
“In the beginning,” he says, “there were so many problems that happened during construction—from the sinkholes that occurred when the Red Line was built into Hollywood to the many controversies over which projects should be built first and how and where. But when Measure R delivered $40 billion for new transportation projects in 2008—and together with Measure M will make $120 billion available over 20 years—Skanska took a calculated risk.
"We had already built a team, and we became the winner of about $4 billion worth of projects. We are now the largest contractor in Southern California, the envy of the construction industry, and everybody wants to partner with us."
And Skanska has fallen for LA County—because of the work that’s been available certainly, but also because of LA’s diversity and cultural richness, Mike says, and because Skanska loves to be in the role of city builder, Mike says. Mike has been their main man in LA—and with his new title as Executive VP he’s now responsible for all Skanska’s work on the West Coast!
Join us Thurs., March 25, to also celebrate the accomplishments of Metro CEO Phil Washington, former Metro Boardmember/former Duarte Mayor John Fasana, former Metro Boardmember/Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, BizFed CEO Tracy Hernandez, Laborers Local 300 Business Manager Sergio Rascon, and LA Business Council President Mary Leslie! REGISTER HERE.