Leo A. Vecellio, Jr., chairman, president & CEO of the Florida-based Vecellio Group, Inc. and Wisconsin Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) are the recipients of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) highest honor—the 2013 “ARTBA Award,” which was presented at a gala dinner June 3 during the association’s Federal Issues Program in Washington, D.C.
Established in 1960, the “ARTBA Award” recognizes individuals from the private and public sectors for outstanding contributions that have advanced the broad goals of the association. Over the years, “ARTBA Award” recipients have included several governors, more than 25 U.S. senators or representatives, two U.S. secretaries of transportation and dozens of top leaders and executives from government and the private sector of the transportation construction industry.
Vecellio was recognized for his 40 years of private sector service in the transportation design and construction industry. A third generation contractor, he significantly expanded the West Virginia company his father, uncle and grandfather started in 1938 and diversified it into new markets and new industries. Today, the family-owned company is one of America’s largest and most respected contractors, with extensive heavy and highway construction, mining and petroleum operations in the southeastern U.S., mid-Atlantic and beyond.
Vecellio’s leadership in ARTBA over the past 15 years puts him in a very elite class, including current Transportation Development Foundation chairman, 2007 ARTBA chairman, senior vice chairman, first vice chairman, southern region vice chairman and vice chairman at-large. He and his firm have been major financial supporters of ARTBA’s “Transportation Makes America Work” campaign, which helps build public and political support for increased transportation investment. He is also a founder of the Floridians for Better Transportation and serves on Florida’s Council of 100. He is active in two ARTBA chapter affiliates—the Florida Transportation Builders’ Association and the Contractors Association of West Virginia.
Leo, and his wife, Kathryn, are heavily involved in philanthropic activities at home in Florida and around the country. Through their family foundation, the Vecellios have provided nearly three million dollars in college scholarships to worthy students since 1973.
Rep. Tom Petri has been a champion of transportation infrastructure issues in the Nation’s Capital for over 30 years. As a long-time member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and chair of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, Petri has helped shape the outcome of many surface transportation bills.
In 1997, he co-authored legislation redirecting federal gas tax revenue from the General Fund back into the Highway Trust Fund, paving the way for the historic investment levels found in 1998’s TEA-21. Petri also helped to craft the 2005 SAFE-TEA-LU law that contained important infrastructure investments and needed transportation policy improvements, and in 2012, his leadership helped bridge partisan divisions, leading to the long-overdue reauthorization of surface transportation and federal aviation programs.