Providence, Rhode Island-based Gilbane Building Co. has selected industry veteran Heidi DeBenedetti as its next chief operating officer, effective Jan. 1.
DeBenedetti, who has 25 years of experience in the construction field and nearly nine years with Gilbane, will take over for current COO Adam Jelen, who will become Gilbane’s new CEO next year.
Currently, DeBenedetti is Gilbane’s chief administrative officer and regional president who runs the company’s federal and Southeast divisions. In her tenure at the firm, she has overseen more than 650 employees, with annual revenue exceeding $1.5 billion, per an announcement shared with Construction Dive.
In her role as COO, DeBenedetti will lead operations and administration in both support and field operations, according to the firm. She will also head Gilbane’s efforts in economic inclusion and sustainability, and continue to run the company’s federal business and enterprise oversight of insurance, safety and information technology.
As a member of the executive leadership committee for the industry’s Construction Inclusion Week initiative, DeBenedetti is also the firm’s executive sponsor for empoWer, Gilbane’s employee resource group dedicated to supporting women working in the company.
While women have made significant strides in construction in recent years, they still constitute only 10.9% of workers in the sector, compared to 46.8% in the overall workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. DeBenedetti’s promotion will make her one of the highest-ranking women executives in the U.S. construction industry.
“Heidi’s ability to develop high-performing teams, build operational excellence and lead complex projects is invaluable,” Jelen said in the announcement. “As our chief operating officer, she will be integral to positioning Gilbane for future growth while supporting a workplace culture that thrives on innovation, talent development, and inclusion.
DeBenedetti joined Gilbane in 2015 as a key part of the company’s global advancement initiative. Before that, DeBenedetti spent nearly 11 years with Englewood, Colorado-based engineering firm CH2M Hill. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and an MBA from Colorado State University.