Frank Mancuso is a passionate collector of baseball memorabilia, a hobby that began by accident. A lifelong New York Yankees fan, he went to games with his father, who “always sought out the big players to get their autographs on anything we could find—match book covers, napkins, whatever. It was like a prize.”
In addition to every ticket stub from every game he’s ever attended, Mancuso treasures most his priceless collection of baseballs autographed by such Yankee greats as Bobby Murcer, Dave Winfield, and Mickey Mantle—and of course Aaron Judge.
Along with his baseball treasures, there is something else he would never trade: his 39-year career, especially the last two decades in senior living.
Mancuso is the vice president of real estate and plant operations at Texas-based Colonial Oaks Senior Living, which operates nine communities in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. He is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the communities as well as for all capital projects and expenditures; he is also part of the acquisition team.
“I manage a lot of projects both big and small,” he says. “When I visit sites during construction, I can see the anticipation of both residents and staff. I love to see their excitement when the buildings are completed. It makes this an exciting place to work.”
The New Jersey native became interested in buildings after high school. Construction sites and public works projects fascinated him. “I always asked a lot of questions,” he says.
What gives him the most job satisfaction is “transforming a community to provide an exciting place for our residents to live. I also love being the subject-matter expert for our executive directors as well as our leadership team.”
Mancuso is currently overseeing major renovations at the Denver-based Harvard Square Community. The project comprises carpeting throughout the community and renovating resident rooms, as well as the memory care building. He is currently planning out a substantial renovation of Colonial Oak’s Arizona property. Several other communities are also in the process of renovations.
Creating “modern and exciting” spaces for seniors has evolved over the years. Seniors today are more active and engaged than previous generations. One might say that 65 is the new 50.
Mancuso says that perhaps the biggest challenge he faces in his job is trying to make all the residents happy. “It’s the most difficult thing for us to do,” he says. “Every community is different in the sense of what the residents want. But we need to consider residents both present and future.”
“We get them involved in the process,” he continues, “and we ask for some ideas as well as share a few of the ideas that we have come up with so far. It is probably a 50/50 split that residents like what we have planned, while the other half like things just the way they are.”
As a leader, Mancuso was influenced by playing sports in his formative years. As a member of teams both good and not so good, he says, he learned teamwork.
He describes his leadership style as “git ‘er done” but without intimidation. “I want contractors to be our partners, and not look on our projects as get-rich-quick scenarios,” the VP says.
Communication is key to a project’s successful fruition for Mancuso. From the pandemic and supply chain hiccups to labor issues, “as soon as an issue comes up, it is important to send a text or email or make that urgent call,” he explains. “My frankness is what I do best, and yes, sometimes it gets me into trouble. But some things you just can’t sugarcoat.”
In defining a project’s scope, Mancuso invites input and ideas and believes “it truly is a team effort.”
Mancuso cites several influential people and mentors in his life, ranging from his Little League coach Alan Spoto to “Mrs. Yuppa and Mrs. Meer, my favorite grammar school and high school teachers, respectively,” he says. “Throughout my career I have had bosses who have led me in the right direction and played a major part in helping me get to where I am today, which includes David Hammonds, Kenny Barton, and Jennifer Ingerson. Many coworkers, too, have shared their unique way of seeing things and helped me to see things in a different light.”
Perhaps the most valuable advice he himself imparts to people is to take a deep breath when things seem to be overwhelming. “It just makes you better,” he says. “Plus, I tell them they can always call me. And the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.”
As a career facilities and construction professional, he continues to seek more knowledge from colleagues and professionals in the field in order for him to continue to improve on his skills. He is also as a graduate of the Leadership for Greater Syracuse Program. Mancuso prides himself on being active in his community. He has been involved in Little League activities for nearly 50 years, including serving as president. He was also active as a youth leader with United Way.
After nearly 40 years, Mancuso remains deeply engaged in his role. “The world is changing the way we do things,” he says. “We just need to adapt to it. I love what I do, or I would not be in the same field for as long as I have been.”