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As a child, Joe Mannino was the de facto interpreter for his parents, who immigrated to the United States from Italy when he was five. Whether it was at the bank, a restaurant, or the post office, Mannino was well-versed at communicating complex ideas before most of us were even capable of forming them.
Add that to the DNA that was already in his veins. Mannino’s grandfather had immigrated to the US in the late 1800s and spent over a decade working in construction before returning to Italy.
“A recruiter once told me I’ve got construction in my DNA,” remembers Mannino, who is currently senior advisor of campus transformation at New York-based White Plains Hospital. “I never thought of it like that, but I guess he was right.”
Mannino—whose background also encompasses architecture, project management, and strategic leadership for planning, design, and construction—has overseen capital expenditure programs of $100 million annually. Over 30 years, he’s executed well over a billion dollars of construction projects. He has vast experience in stakeholder engagement including trustees, government agencies, and local community groups.
In essence, Mannino is still a master translator, just in a different language. He’s responsible for making projects come to life, and his résumé bears that out in boldface type.
Before Mannino was 30, he was overseeing the ground-up build of a 22-story apartment building for the Columbia Law School at Columbia University. “I was put in charge of that project and told to come back to leadership if there were issues,” he remembers. “Luckily, I had a good team, a good architect, and was able to learn a lot as we went along.”
Mannino left for a new role before opening day, but the project still stands out in his mind as his first major win. But it was just the beginning.
The senior advisor’s résumé may seem off to some. Between well-established learning institutions and his current healthcare organization, there are stints in specialty construction and private project management firms. It makes more sense if you understand what drives Mannino isn’t titles or designations.
“I used to joke that if there isn’t something new I can add to my résumé every four months, then I’m not learning or doing enough and it’s probably time to move on,” the senior advisor says.
One of Mannino’s standout roles includes eight-and-a-half years at Columbia University, where the leader would rise through two promotions and ultimately leave as vice president of planning and capital project management.
During that time, Mannino oversaw the building of the famed 14-story Northwest Corner Building and the 48,000-square-foot Campbell Sports Center located at 218th Street and Broadway in New York City. Both of these builds made the pages of the New York Times, and Mannino had the chance to collaborate with famed architects Rafael Moneo and Steven Holl.
Now at White Plains Hospital, Mannino spent most of the last six years in a VP role that supervised the construction of the Center for Advanced Medicine & Surgery (CAMS), building an outpatient care facility featuring state-of-the-art operating rooms; endoscopy, ambulatory, and procedure suites; a wound care clinic; and a litany of other services and specialty care.
Mannino had limited healthcare experience prior to coming to White Plains, but something just seemed to click. “There was a connection with my style and the way I connected with the White Plains culture,” he explains. “I do the best I can as quickly as I can in that order. It’s worked out well here.”
After five and a half years as VP, Mannino knew it was time for a change, yet again. But this time it wasn’t to leave White Plains Hospital. Mannino wanted to be closer to his extended family, far from his New York/New Jersey roots—in Wisconsin.
“I’m proud of the hospital for allowing me to evolve into this role,” Mannino says. “I wanted to focus on our master plan and new building exclusively, and I now have that opportunity. I don’t mind not driving the bus but being the one to raise my hand and recommend we take a left.”
The new role is a win-win-win. It’s offered Mannino the chance to spend more time with his wife, daughter, and extended family. He’s able to focus on that which he’s most passionate about at work. And it allows for succession planning and future leaders to step up on the building team at White Plains Hospital.
Mannino says his dad worked so hard at his pizzeria that it was tough to find time for any sort of vacation or quality time, so the time they did spend together was often spent working in the pizzeria. Now a father himself, Mannino wants his own daughter to have more opportunities to know her dad, and he’s making himself available as best as he can while still carrying on the building legacy that’s deep in his DNA.
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