Donations to the Plant Your Roots in Greece by Langan International
NEW YORK – Langan International and its Senior Principal George E. Leventis have received many awards in recent years from organizations in the United States and abroad for their work, which includes construction on Greece’s Rion-Antirion Bridge and dozens of other civil engineering projects worth anywhere from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. Several weeks ago, Mr. Leventis and Alain Pecker, President and CEO of the French firm Geodynamique et Structure were invited to an awards ceremony in Colorado Springs, where they received the prestigious Outstanding Project Award, which is the geotechnical industry’s equivalent to an Oscar. “This award was given by the Deep Foundation Institute, which is an international network of heavy construction professionals. The Rion-Antirion Bridge received this award as a geotechnical project with deep foundations,” said Mr. Leventis, who presented the foundation design and construction methods for the world’s largest cable-stayed bridge to U.S. audiences.
“We are very happy because this is the first time that a project constructed outside of the U.S. won first prize, and it came from Greece. Although these awards do not have any monetary prizes, they nevertheless offer a sense of moral satisfaction and help promote our company,” Mr. Leventis said, while providing a tour of his firm’s offices, located on Manhattan’s West Side, on the 7th and 8th floor of 21 Penn Plaza. It is fitting that a major civil engineering company like Langan would have such functional office space and such an imposing doorway. In place of the usual portraits most offices are decorated with, Langan’s offices are filled with pictures from its many award-winning projects, with the photos, aerial pictures and plans for the Rion-Antirion Bridge being the most eye-catching.
Visitors to Langan who pass through the general reception area, as well as in and out of office rooms can see posters describing the magnitude of the disaster caused in Greece by last summer’s forest fires, and calling for donations to the Plant Your Roots in Greece campaign, which is collecting monies to aid in the reforestation of Penteli and other fire-stricken areas in Greece. Through the generosity exhibited by Langan’s employees – Greek and non-Greek alike – and the company’s decision to double the amount of total contributions, $25,000 have already been raised to benefit the Plant Your Roots in Greece Foundation. As a matter of fact, a check in the amount of $25,000 was presented to the foundation’s local representative Nancy Biska by Mr. Leventis at a new year’s celebration he organized this past Wednesday at Kellari Taverna in New York City.
Langan International’s offices are also equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for its employees professional development, including ultra-modern computer systems which enable direct employee communication and simultaneous viewing of seminars conducted in all the other offices belonging to Langan’s parent company, Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, located in Elmwood Park, N.J., New Haven, Conn., Philadelphia, Pa., Doylestown, Pa., Miami, Fla., Las Vegas, Nev., Trenton, N.J., and most recently, Tallahassee, Fla.
“We are blessed as a corporation because we are involved in many interesting projects. In New York, we are working on building extensions to Columbia University, the United Nations building and Lincoln Center. We are also involved in rebuilding the Jacob Javits Center and moving Madison Square Garden. We are one of four companies working on the West Side Yards projects, and we have also assumed work on the September 11th Memorial Site. Our Miami office is involved in all the work done on the city’s seaside skyscrapers, Miami Arena, as well as four large hotel complexes being built in the Caribbean. Our Las Vegas office is presently working on the city’s tallest building. In New Jersey, we are involved in the construction going on at the new Giants-Jets Stadium. Therefore, we have the privilege of working on projects that may end up being candidates for awards,” Mr. Leventis said, while noting that “our basic concern is to do a good job in order to ensure that we can participate in major projects like this.”
Mr. Leventis commented on the projects underway as well as the ones being bid on, saying that “there is a frenzy of projects going on in New York, and 100% of the credit belongs to the municipal administration. The administration is very well organized right now, it has a business mentality, and it continuously looks to the future. It has already finished working on plans for the year 2030. The current mayor owes nothing to anyone, nor is he obliged to do anyone any favors. He sets goals and strives to reach them. He does not involve himself with endless political machinations, as was the case with the stadium that was proposed to be built in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The plan was a complete failure, and worst of all, along with the new stadium went any hopes of winning a bid to organize the Olympic Games. Once the proposal to build a new stadium was voted down, we got involved in other major projects like the new Giants-Jets Stadium and the Jets training facility in Floral Park, N.J., which is absolutely amazing.”
Mr. Leventis also spoke about the major construction work going on in the Javits Center, the Hudson Yards, and the relocation of Madison Square Garden and Penn Station to the present site of the landmark James A. Farley Post Office, which will span three entire city blocks. He also pointed out that much more large-scale work is now being undertaken, and since every square foot is worth money, construction begins dozens of feet underground, to make room for parking spaces and other related projects. “We are working on a skyscraper that is being built on 67th Street and 1st Avenue, where we dug 78 feet – 6 stories – below ground level. This would have never been conceivable in the past. Things have really changed, and this creates many jobs for construction companies and geotechnical specialists like us.”
Giving his opinion on last summer’s collapse of the Mississippi Bridge, Mr. Leventis commented that “I think this coincidence was key in making the American public realize that they have an outdated infrastructure. Without a proper infrastructure, you cannot go anywhere. The bridge collapse became a big story. There was also a steam pipe explosion in Manhattan that occurred around the same time. New York City’s steampipe system is 100 years old, and ever since the day that the two pipelines began working, there has never been any maintenance done on them. They have never been checked and no one knows what condition they are in. New York City decided to build a third pipeline, and this is expected to be completed in about two to three years. After that, the pipelines can be checked one by one.”
George Leventis was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1959. When he was one-and-a-half years old, he and his family moved to Greece, where he was raised and went on to receive a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens. He later pursued graduate studies at the University of Illinois, where he earned an M.S. in Geotechnical Engineering. His area of expertise lies in projects involving tunnels, boulders, shafts, excavation, etc. While at the University of Illinois, he met his wife Lilly Deligiannis, who was working on her doctorate in Microelectronics. The couple has three daughters together, Christina, 12, and two ten-year-old twins, Evangelia and Natalie. Mr. Leventis’ oldest daughter was born on New Year’s Day 1995, and although she was not the first child born on the new year, she happened to be receive the first New York State birth certificate issued for the year 1995.