Q&A with New GAI President Anthony Morrocco: A Familiar Name and Face

On June 1, 2017, consistent with the company’s succession planning strategy, GAI Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President Gary DeJidas, PE, MBA will pass the role of President to current Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Anthony Morrocco, PLS, PE, MBA. Mr. DeJidas will remain as CEO and Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors for several more years to assist in a smooth and orderly leadership transition. He and Mr. Morrocco will continue to work closely together to ensure business operations stay on track for both clients and employees. A 28-year GAI veteran, Anthony has served as GAI Executive Vice President and COO since 2009. With this new progression, the role and responsibilities of COO are now assumed by Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Hill and his direct reports.

28 Years at GAIJust before the announcement of the transition, we sat down with Tony to learn more about the new President—what he’s thinking and what’s in store for GAI in his new role. He shared his thoughts on why he chose GAI, some career highlights, what our clients can expect from him, and how he will guide GAI in the future.

You have been with GAI for 28 years. What made you want to build a career with GAI?

Tony: I started working here as a project manager in GAI’s Transportation Group in the Pittsburgh Office. My background was mainly in Land Development and I was encouraged to start a Land Development practice in the Pittsburgh Office. The job worked out great. I saw a lot of potential with the staff, no one micro-managed me, and I was continuously challenged to improve.

As time went on, I started and directed GAI’s Land Development and Survey groups, went on to the role of Group Manager, then led the Pittsburgh office. I’ve enjoyed every aspect in every job I’ve had here and I’m looking forward to the challenges that will come with my newest role [GAI President].

Describe some highlights from your eight years working alongside Gary as COO.

GAI Pittsburgh
GAI-Pittsburgh office (Homestead, Pennsylvania)

Tony: There were several great highlights in my years working with Gary, one being the purchase and fit out of our office in Homestead as we consolidated multiple GAI offices in the Pittsburgh area. Gary had just taken over as CEO and President and purchased the building which was just a shell at that point. Together we worked with the project architect and contractor to complete the interior improvements (fit out) of the building. It was really an education and new experience, as we got to be on the client side, the other side of the table. It took a lot of planning, a lot of work, but it was a good experience working with Gary to finish the building. It was also a major milestone to growing as one company.

I also enjoy traveling with Gary to our various offices and especially like the Town Hall meetings, listening to what staff have to say and giving them feedback.

Gary has a great perspective on business. He has been a great mentor over the years and I think I can say we have an excellent  working and personal relationship.

What will be your first act as GAI President?

Tony: Interestingly, I’ve been transitioning roles for the past six months, so I’ve been making “Presidential” decisions already. I can’t really say what the “first” act was, but we have put a new structure in place to take over my responsibilities as COO and lead Corporate Services. We no longer have a COO, but have a Chief Administrative Officer managing the day-to-day corporate services operations as I step into the role of President. I would say that was my first major decision.

What can our clients expect from GAI with you as President?

Tony: I will be continuing my relationships with our clients, many of which have become very good friends over the years, actually. We will continue to follow our Client First Program, providing our staff with customer service skills and awareness to support our clients’ needs. As always, our focus will be on quality, service, and safety.

How do you see GAI evolving over the next three years, and how will you guide that change?

Tony: The next three years offers good opportunities for us. The current administration is promising to increase infrastructure funding and cut corporate tax rates, which should mean more projects for us.

While other mid-size firms are being acquired, our goal is to both increase revenues and increase size. But we want to do it smart. We have a great team in place to bring us to the next level. We’ll go wherever the opportunities are, provide different services to existing clients, or open new offices if necessary. We have experience with acquisitions and have a good handle on that process. So there are many opportunities for us.

But again, we want to grow smart and go where the best prospects are. For example, right now the economy in Florida is booming, so we’re focused on opportunities there.

What does transforming ideas into reality® mean to you?

Tony: Actually, I helped come up with that tagline about 15 years ago. A group of us were working on our strategic plan at the time, and I suggested the line because that’s exactly what we do. As consultants, we listen to the ideas of our clients and we transform them into reality. Clients are the idea makers. We are the implementers. The line “Transforming Ideas into Reality®” seemed just right.

About Anthony Morrocco, MBA, PLS, PE, President, GAI Consultants

Beginning as a Project Manager in 1989, Tony established GAI’s Land Development and Survey groups and directed their development for several years, winning significant projects that changed Pittsburgh’s skyline.

Tony advanced his career at GAI from Project Manager to Group Manager then to the position of Managing Officer of GAI’s Pittsburgh office. During his tenure as Managing Officer, Tony assisted in developing additional office space to handle the consolidation and growth of GAI’s Pittsburgh office from 200+ to 400+ employees.

As the Chief Operating Officer, Tony was responsible for overseeing GAI’s Business Units, leading the Business and Strategic Planning processes and providing guidance and direction to GAI’s professional and administrative staff in all offices. Going forward, consistent with the company’s succession planning strategy, Tony is moving into the role of President.

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