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March 31, 2014 2014 Corporate Citizen of the Year

Business Leaders of the Year 2014 Corporate Citizen Award: Consigli Construction

Anthony Consigli

For a week in mid-December, in temperatures dipping into the low teens, 13 volunteers from Consigli Construction Co. worked to install a new handicapped ramp and widen door openings at the Bellingham childhood home of Air Force Master Sgt. Joe Deslauriers.

Deslauriers had been awarded the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest medal for combat valor, after losing his left arm and both legs clearing a minefield to save the lives of wounded Marines in Afghanistan.

But he couldn't go home again. The house in the Blackstone Valley town where he had grown up and his parents still lived wasn't handicapped accessible.

That's where Consigli Construction came in. A field superintendent for the Milford-based construction company, Jay Rodriguez, of Upton, heard about the situation and assembled a team of colleagues to help.

Consigli volunteers installed a ramp and concrete pad outside the house, upgraded the entry door threshold, enlarged door openings, and made it possible for Deslauriers to use a chair lift to the second floor while visiting his parents over the holidays.

“Words cannot express what this means to me and my family,” Deslauriers wrote in a thank-you letter to the company.

Rodriguez said he “didn't even have to ask” his colleagues to help. “I knew it was something they'd want to do,” he said. “That's the kind of company Consigli is.”

Volunteerism is part of the Consigli culture. The company and its employees donate thousands of dollars and man-hours annually to good causes across Greater Worcester and New England and beyond.

“We strive to build our community in any way we can,” company spokeswoman Helen Novak said.

“Whether volunteering our skills to help rebuild an orphanage in Haiti after the earthquake ... packing boxes at a food bank, or installing a new entrance on a local homeless shelter, Consigli employees are always ready to roll up their sleeves and help.”

“One of our slogans here is, 'Think Great,'” said Anthony Consigli of Milford, president at the fourth-generation family company. “It's impossible to build a great project if all you're concerned about is the construction. It has to be more than that.”

Consigli's great-grandfather, a stonemason from Italy, founded the business 105 years ago. Today, the company employs upwards of 800 people on projects throughout New England and eastern New York and around the nation.

In Worcester, the company has overseen the downtown CitySquare project and renovated the DCU Center. In Boston, it's helping renovate the Boston Public Library and the Longfellow Bridge.

Elsewhere, Consigli projects include the football stadium expansion at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; construction of the new Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn.; and renovations of the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery in Washington, as well as the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y.

At the same time, the company is building a legacy beyond bricks and mortar.

“We push all our offices to get involved in their respective communities,” Consigli said. “We give every person eight hours of paid time to donate. Several do a lot more.”

David Jordan, president of the Seven Hills Foundation in Worcester, recalled approaching Anthony Consigli in 2011 to ask his support for a project in Sierra Leone. Many immigrants to Worcester have come from the West African nation in recent years. The foundation hoped to build a primary school, birthing clinic and a clean-water well to serve 13,000 rural villagers in an impoverished region where the mortality rate of women in childbirth was high. Would Consigli donate $50,000?

“He not only immediately recognized the dire need of these 'poorest of the poor,' he pledged the $50,000 and then asked, 'Will you take me to see the people in Sierra Leone who will benefit from this initiative?'” Jordan recalled.

So, Consigli and his 17-year-old daughter traveled to Sierra Leone for eight days to see conditions there firsthand. The family has since made an additional $20,000 gift toward construction of a school for 400 children that will be dedicated this June in Bo, Sierra Leone's second-largest city, Jordan said.

“Simply stated, Anthony Consigli, his family, and the Consigli Construction Co. family have helped in saving the lives of well over 250 women to date, made available a medical clinic supporting 13,000 others, provided the only clean-water source for miles around our Bo campus, and have contributed to educating countless hundreds of children,” Jordan said.

“This act of faith and generosity has been, and continues to be, significant in the lives of some of the poorest people in the world and serves as an indication of the character of the man Anthony is and the values he embodies in both his family and business.”

Meantime, another Consigli family member, company Vice President Matthew Consigli of Medfield, has been hailed for his contributions to the American Red Cross. He serves both as a board member of the state chapter and board chairman of the Central Massachusetts chapter.

“Matt Consigli epitomizes the role of a true Red Cross ambassador,” said Lisa Piehler, executive director of the American Red Cross of Central Massachusetts in Worcester. “At the same time, he couldn't be more humble about his philanthropy.”

Community engagement is good business, Anthony Consigli said.

“[Ours] is a 100-year-old company that expects to be around for another 100 years. We can only do that by being engaged with the community. Our mission here is to build great buildings, great relationships and great people.”


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