Five Questions With: Greg Guglielmo

Greg Guglielmo is the newly named executive vice president at DiPrete Engineering, a Cranston-based firm that focuses on civil engineering and land planning. Guglielmo has had a 25-year career with the company. Among its larger current projects, the new campus in Johnston for Citizens Financial Group Inc. 

Guglielmo spoke to the Providence Business News about his work and some notable projects. The company has offices in Dedham, Mass., and Newport, as well as its headquarters in Cranston.

PBN: What are some of the most significant changes that have happened at DiPrete in your time?

GUGLIELMO: When I started we were fewer than 10 people. We’re over 50 now. During this time, we’ve had a steady growth. Even during the [Great] Recession, we kept chugging along and looking for ways to grow. We’re looking to grow our footprint more in New England.

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We’re heavy on civil and environmental permitting for projects. We really don’t stray too much from that. We also do land surveying. That really hasn’t changed over time. But our geographic footprint has changed. When I first started, it was mostly Rhode Island.

PBN: Has development just picked up significantly in New England, or are more-stringent regulations a factor in the company’s growth?

GUGLIELMO: The regulations have definitely become more intense than when I started 25 years ago. There is more of an emphasis on water quality, wetlands protections. More of an emphasis on making sure you’re having the least amount of impact you can on the environment.

I think why people seek us out and why we have grown, it sounds cliché but I know we really try to find out what the client’s needs are. We make sure we’re part of the team. We bring people in, our clients, contractors, and do trainings once a month to really get them to understand everything outside of engineering … [such as] the financing of a project, how you market a project, how you select the type of project you’re going to do, how you select a site.

PBN: Have you had projects that were halted by the presence of environmental factors?

GUGLIELMO: A lot of the projects we’re working on right now are redevelopment projects. So, people are starting to be aware that there’s a lot of existing inventory out there that we can reuse and repurpose. For them, it’s a little shorter on the timeline in terms of approvals, and sometimes it’s less on the construction side. You see a lot more redevelopment than I did 25 years ago. People are starting to move back into the cities. … A lot of that is a need that developers see.

PBN: What are some of the notable projects you’ve worked on?

GUGLIELMO: I’ve worked on a lot of the early stages of projects. It’s been kind of my niche here in the company. I enjoy the piece of figuring out what the best uses are and where the best uses should be. A lot of the projects I’ve worked on have been mixed-use or traditional developments.

One that I did, starting about 20 years ago, was in South Kingstown, the village of South County Commons. We worked with the town on helping them write the ordinance for that district. It has 200-plus apartments, an assisted living facility, some condos and a hotel.

PBN: What are some of the current challenges that you’re dealing with as executive vice president?

GUGLIELMO: I’m heading up all of the engineering groups and our survey groups. I have 12 project managers who report to me … on projects and proposal delivery. We’re busy. With all of this, the toughest challenge is scheduling. We really try not to take on too much, where we can’t meet our clients’ demands. It’s hard. Time is money. We totally understand that.

What’s really most difficult for us is to make sure we keep the trains running on time.  We’re working, at any given time, on 300 to 400 active projects. We do everything from surveying a small residential lot, in Edgewood, to hundreds of apartment units. On the East Providence waterfront, we’re doing Kettle Point. I did all the design work on that.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at macdonald@pbn.com.