Alumnus Leo A. Vecellio, Jr. Honored with National Highway Progress Award

Leo A. Vecellio, Jr. is the 2020 recipient of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) George S. Bartlett Award. The award was presented virtually during ARTBA’s national convention on October 20. Vecellio graduated from Virginia Tech in 1968 and is currently the chairman, president, and CEO of the Vecellio Group, Inc. based in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Beyond ARTBA, Mr. Vecellio serves on numerous civic, government, and business advisory boards. He and his wife Kathryn are members of Virginia Tech’s Ut Prosim Society and the College of Engineering’s Committee of 100. He was inducted into the Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 2006 and the College of Engineering’s Academy of Engineering Excellence in 2009. 

Vecellio, Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps to attend Virginia Tech. He graduated with distinction from the Air Force ROTC program in 1968. Since graduation, he has remained involved with the university philanthropically and through involvement in College of Engineering activities.

In 2001, the Vecellio family contributed $1 million to endow the department’s Construction Engineering and Management program. “The Vecellio family and our corporations have been involved in heavy and highway construction over 100 years,” said Leo, Jr. “Construction is an ever-evolving field that needs high quality research, education and well-trained personnel. Virginia Tech has a great program that answers many of the industry’s needs, and we hope that our endowment will boost the program to greater heights.” Since its establishment, the endowment has funded over 80 undergraduate scholarships and nearly 30 graduate fellowships, and it has supported 19 annual distinguished lectures in the Vecellio Construction Engineering and Management Program (VCEMP).

The full press release from ARBTA is shown below:

Leo A. Vecellio, Jr., chairman, president and CEO of West Palm Beach, Florida based Vecellio Group, Inc., and past chairman of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), is the 2020 recipient of the prestigious George S. Bartlett Award. It was presented Oct. 20 during ARTBA’s national convention, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Established in 1931, the Bartlett Award is co-sponsored by ARTBA, the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Transportation Research Board (TRB). The award annually recognizes an individual who “has made an outstanding contribution to highway progress.”  Previous recipients include members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, former U.S. Department of Transportation secretaries, state transportation department secretaries, and top transportation design and construction executives.

Vecellio was recognized for his 40 years of business success, extraordinary volunteer leadership contributions to national and state construction groups, and ongoing commitment to supporting education and research through the Vecellio Construction Engineering & Management Program at Virginia Tech.

Today, the fourth generation owned and run 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 served as ARTBA Foundation chairman from 2009-2016.  In 2018, the Vecellio family was inducted into the ARTBA Foundation’s Transportation Development Hall of Fame.

Vecellio grew up in the family business and joined it full time in the 1970s.  He extended the reach of the company beyond its West Virginia roots into the southeastern United States and beyond through a series of acquisitions, start-ups and expansions. He also diversified into aggregates production and energy services.  Today, under the Vecellio Group corporate umbrella are: Vecellio & Grogan, Ranger Construction Industries, Sharpe Bros., White Rock Quarries, Vecenergy and Hal Jones Contractor.

George S. Bartlett was regarded as the greatest single influence on the use of concrete roads in the United States.  During his career, Bartlett was lauded by contemporaries in the concrete and highway industry for his energetic and innovative promotion of concrete roads.  In 1909, he established experimental stretches of concrete pavement, working with the Wayne County Road Commission in Michigan – the birthplace of modern road construction – and the University Portland Cement Company.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) brings together all facets of the transportation construction industry to responsibly advocate for infrastructure investment and policy that meet the nation’s need for safe and efficient travel.  ARTBA also offers value-added programs and services providing its members with a competitive edge.