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Sellersville Senior Residences Celebrates Groundbreaking

Harkins Members standing side by side at the Sellersville Groundbreaking with shovels in hand.

Sellersville, PA

On Tuesday, June 22nd, Harkins celebrated the groundbreaking of Sellersville Senior Residences in Sellersville, PA. Constructed for Grace Inspired Ministries and in partnership with Leon N Weiner & Associates, Architectural Alliance, and Gilmore & Associates, Sellersville will be a new affordable community in Bucks County.

Made up of 50 senior apartment units, the 67,000 sf building will be a slab-on-grade three-story structure with a mix of stone veneer and vinyl siding residing on a 4.6-acre property. Residents will enjoy common area features, such as a two-story community room, laundry room, covered porches, and multiple lounge areas throughout the building. The Residences will be built to the highest energy efficiency standards, utilizing the Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready program.

Grace Inspired Ministries (GIM) was formed in 2017 through the affiliation of the Lutheran Community at Telford and The Community at Rockhill. GIM is a non-profit, faith-based entity dedicated to serving older adults. Sellersville Senior Apartments aligns with GIM’s vision to lead by identifying and meeting community needs with innovation and accountability.

Groundbreaking Photos

Celebrating 20 Years: ESOP Anniversary

Harkins crew gathered around smiling.

For over 55 years, Harkins has been providing exceptional preconstruction services combined with proactive on-site construction management. Our history and strong culture are rooted in our founder Thomas P. Harkins and his successor Blase Cooke. For the first 35 years, Harkins was run with sole ownership that transferred from Tom to Blase. In 2001, Blase established
the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), a new structure that would provide Harkins employees with an opportunity for a secure retirement benefit.

This type of succession plan is one that Blase believed all employees would benefit from. One of his greatest concerns was the many people that put in ‘sweat equity’, especially field personnel, who were not financially positioned to provide for their families through retirement. Our 401K plan was not something everyone fully participated in and social security would not suffice. When he was introduced to the ESOP, Blase was confident that this type of ownership would benefit all employees, as well as the future of the company.

We embarked on a year-long process of establishing the ESOP in 2001 with numerous consultants, documentation, and meetings. Former President Dick Lombardo, President & CEO Gary Garofalo, and I were the initial trustees involved in the collaboration of our bank relationships and bonding company to make Blase’s initial dream of the ESOP a reality for Harkins.

Former Retirement Benefits Administrator Gladys Hyman was an original committee member and a huge asset to organizing and keeping all of the documentation up to date. Gladys served the ESOP until her retirement in January 2020.

Unfortunately, 2001 was not the best year to introduce a major
ownership change with events such as the September 11th attacks, the dot-com bubble, and the Enron scandal. Nevertheless, Harkins officially became an ESOP that year. Blase provided a personal loan, along with our bank (SunTrust) that enabled employees to obtain 61% ownership in the company as the loans were paid off. Later that year, Blase learned he had cancer, but the ESOP process was well underway, with loans officially paid off by April 2005. The ESOP grew into a substantial benefit for all employees thanks to Blase’s selflessness for the greater good of our company.

Blase passed in October of 2007 knowing he had provided a meaningful gift and secured retirement to his employees. After his passing, upper management secured the remaining outstanding shares from Blase’s estate with Harkins and senior management personally purchasing that stock. The remaining 39% of the stock was sold to the ESOP in 2013, which allowed Harkins to become 100% employee-owned. Harkins still benefits from tax advantages and the ESOP has become a significant morale booster that keeps employees involved in the success of the company, along with being a recruiting tool for potential candidates.

Quote ESOP anniversary

Over the last 20 years, we have grown our company, share price, and dividends. Our employee accounts have also grown in addition to being a considerable part of our employees’ retirement benefits. Today, our ESOP is still run by an internal committee that has term limits, made up of current members: HR Specialist Megha Patel, Project Executive Casey Hughes, and Project Manager Greg Ferenschak. We have outside counsel, financial advisors, valuation companies, and auditors involved as well. Current Trustees are Controller Jim Beck, Senior Vice President & General Counsel Jim Thompson, and myself.

The Harkins ESOP was initiated by a remarkable man and continues to support a continuously growing company that owes its success to its exceptional employees.

ESOP anniversary timeline

Harkins Celebrates Habitat House Dedication

Habitat house dedication group photo
Baltimore, MD

On Friday, June 11th, Harkins celebrated the house dedication of 504 McCabe Avenue in Baltimore, MD, completed in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake.

This single-family home is made up of four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Built using Habitat Chesapeake’s 20’x30′ townhome footprint, the home was constructed more efficiently with less waste, offsetting lumber shortages and rising material costs faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new footprint will be used on approximately 27 homes in East Baltimore’s Orchard Ridge community, with each home designed using the same model but with unique attributes.​​​​​​​

Despite delays due to COVID-19, Harkins and our trade partners completed the project ahead of schedule. The project represents Habitat Chesapeake’s dedication to the neighborhood, which began in 2012 with their commitment to renovating 21 homes by 2020. With the completion of 504 McCabe, Habitat Chesapeake will now exceed its goal and have made future plans to build in the Greater Govans community, featured as one of Baltimore City’s “Neighborhoods on the Rise” by Live Baltimore.

Habitat homeowner quote

Harkins sponsored a home in the same neighborhood for our 50th-anniversary celebration in 2015. We are proud to have partnered with Habitat Chesapeake on yet another home in conjunction with their mission to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope.

Special thank you to recently retired Bid Manager / Small Business Liaison Walt Whitlow for leading the team of trade partners, who also donated their time and materials to the project. 

House Dedication photos.

President’s Message: Construction Safety Week 2021

President's Message for Construction Safety Week 2021

Beginning today and continuing throughout the week of May 3-7th, Harkins is proudly celebrating National Construction Safety Week 2021. Each day that we step onto a jobsite, we know what is on the line: our work, our reputation, and most importantly, the lives of employees and trade partners on-site. Construction Safety Week is an opportunity to recognize and highlight the importance of on-the-job safety.   

At Harkins, we take great pride in the role we play to improve people’s lives in our marketplace, in our communities, and in our company. But even more than that, we carry an unwavering responsibility to do whatever it takes to ensure that our people can return home safely to their families. 

In our industry, safety is a value and belief we all share. That’s why more than 70 national and global construction firms join forces for Safety Week with a single aim: to inspire everyone in the industry to be leaders in safety. 

I am very appreciative of all our employees, trade partners, clients, and design professionals for working to make and keep our projects as safe as possible. We will continue to demonstrate our renewed commitment to building a stronger, safer industry.  

From our team to yours, work safe! 

Gary's signature

Delaware CSMS Celebrates Ribbon Cutting

Delaware CSMS Ribbon Cutting Harkins Team
New Castle, DE

Harkins celebrated the ribbon cutting of the Combined Support Maintenance Shop in New Castle, DE on Thursday, April 15th.

Home of the Delaware National Guard Combined Support Maintenance Shop (CSMS) and Field Maintenance Shop #3 (FMS #3), the new 63,356 sf design-build CSMS serves as a vehicle service and repair shop. Amenities include a welding bay, paint bay, several general-purpose bays, a training room, fitness and locker rooms, administrative support spaces, and specialty shops, including carpentry, machinery, canvas repair, calibration, injector repair, radiator repair, communication, and an arms and vault shop. The project incorporated water source heat pumps, below-slab radiant heating, LED lighting, low flow faucets and fixtures, and 191 roof-mounted photovoltaic solar panels, achieving LEED v4.0 Silver Certification.

This CSMS is an upgrade from two small maintenance shops that have been of service to the Delaware National Guard since before the Korean War. The original CSMS consisted of a paint bay, a small arms room, storage space, and maintenance bays that quickly became too small to house the Delaware National Guard’s modernized equipment.

This was the first Harkins project to utilize BIM modeling before construction to plan proper placement of various mechanical aspects of the building. The team was able to mitigate risk and save time through the construction process by using this technology early in the process. It was great to hear the guard talk about how leveraging design-build as a delivery method enabled the building to be delivered faster and resulted in an excellent partnership amongst stakeholders from the onset of design through construction.

Ribbon Cutting Photos

President’s Message: The Path Forward

New CEO Gary's headshot

While most of us are happy to have 2020 behind us, we are starting 2021 in an environment that is no less challenging. As we head into what looks like the most difficult phase of this pandemic, Harkins continues with our established protocol of wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, and using thermal imaging cameras, which have all been vital measures in keeping our employees and our trade partners safe.

COVID-19 Social Distancing

One of the biggest challenges we are facing as a result of the pandemic relates to the disruption of the supply chain. The ripple effect of material delays and shortages is impacting our projects today and will continue to do so in the coming months.

Harkins has been leveraging our 55-year history and relationships with our clients, design teams, key trade partners, suppliers, and vendors to ensure that we are receiving the most up-to-date information about materials. By involving the Harkins team early in the project and making decisions promptly, we can obtain materials with long lead times well before they are needed, in lieu of just-in-time contracting.

Though vaccines are on the way, I encourage everyone to continue practicing safe routines until they are no longer needed. Even with material shortages and the pandemic, Harkins continues to have a steady backlog and offers an optimistic outlook for our continued growth and success. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and I know we will get there and be a stronger company after going through this journey together.

Gary's signature

Harkins’ New Community Outreach Program

Harkins Has Heart Community Outreach Program

‘Harkins Has Heart’ is our company’s newly branded community outreach and giving program. Harkins is committed to improving the lives of those among us who are most in need in our communities. While we reinvest a significant portion of our financial successes into many good causes, employee-owners give their own personal time, talent, and resources to help those who are less fortunate.

Harkins Has Heart Community Outreach Program - Group Photo

Through the program, Harkins focuses its attention on various non-profit partnerships throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. One of our most popular initiatives includes ‘Jeans for Charity,’ where employees choose a charity and donate $5 per paycheck for the privilege of wearing jeans on Friday. Harkins is proud to give back to the communities we build in.

Harkins Has Heart Community Outreach Program - Stats

Rob Tirocchi Earns National Design-Build Certification

Rob Tirocchi Design-Build Certification
Columbia, MD

Harkins is proud to announce that Government Programs Manager Rob Tirocchi has successfully completed the Design-Build Institute of America’s comprehensive education and certification testing program to achieve the design-build industry’s highest designation as a nationally certified design-build professional. Two to six years of substantial, documented direct project experiences in design-build project delivery experience is an additional prerequisite for Designated Design-Build Professional certification.

DBIA Certification is the nation’s only measurable standard of an individual’s knowledge of the Design-Build Done Right principles vital to successful project delivery. By completing these requirements, which touch on all aspects of design-build, candidates earn the right to display “DBIA” after their names, identifying them as experienced design-build professionals.

DBIA offers certification in design-build project delivery to:

  • Owners
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • General contractors
  • Trade partners
  • Project managers
  • Legal professionals
  • Academics

Maintaining the credential requires a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education credit every two years.

DBIA logo

Harkins Begins Construction of Dulles Downs III

Dulles Down III
Sterling, VA

Harkins’ Commercial Group is excited to announce that they have started construction of Dulles Downs III in Sterling, VA. This will be the first project completed for Prologis, with Powers Brown Architects.

Dulles Downs III is a 61,200 sf tilt-wall warehouse that is expected to reach substantial completion by December 2021. Located in the Dulles submarket, this industrial facility offers quick access to Route 28, 606, and the Dulles Toll Road. The site is conveniently located approximately one mile from Dulles International Airport.

The facility offers 1,000 sf of parking with 11 spots for trailers, 2,500 sf of office space, 19 docks with one drive-in (ramped) for convenient building access, and 40’x52′ column spacing throughout the space.

Dulles Downs 3 rendering

Rendering of Prologis Dulles Downs III.

Celebrating Women in Construction Week

WIC Week 2021

Harkins joined the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) in observing Women in Construction Week. This national week is celebrated annually in March and is dedicated to sharing the contributions of women in our industry while educating future generations about the incredible opportunities available within the construction market. The theme for this year was, “Connect, Collaborate, Construct”, and we are proud to say that the women at Harkins are crushing the stereotype that the construction industry is a man’s world!


Leitie joined the Harkins team as a field office manager and now leads our W/MBE outreach efforts as the chair of our Small and Minority Business Affinity GroupShe is also an active member of ABC Baltimore’s Diversity Committee. Her willingness to help and eagerness to learn makes her a strong leader within the company. 

WIC Week Feature Leitie Cobb-Gibson


Haley assists our preconstruction team in construction take-offs, analyzing plans and specifications, and assisting with contract documents before a project begins. She is actively involved in our Equity and Inclusion Affinity Group, contributing to the group’s mission of fostering a culture of equity and inclusion to improve the lives of our employees through diversity initiatives in education, training, recruiting, hiring, activities, and outreach. Haley is always eager to learn and dedicated to helping the preconstruction team perform at its best. 

WIC Week Feature Haley Hershey


Kristen works with our Commercial Group to maintain relationships with existing clients and track new opportunities for the company. She is a leader in our industry, serving as the 2020 board of directors president for the Commercial Real Estate for Women (CREW) and 2017-2019 chair of the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Women’s Leadership Initiative.

WIC Week Feature Kristen Schrader


Antonice joined the Harkins team as a summer intern. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, she began her career at Harkins on our Robinson Overlook project in Columbia, MD, where she is responsible for coordinating with trade partners on unit finishes, conducting and maintaining schedules, managing material deliveries, and getting the units ready for the owner’s first walk. Antonice’s ambition and compassion in her work make her a key member of any project team.

WIC Week Feature Antonice Turpin