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Suffolk Hires Trammell Crow's Boston Head To Lead New Investment Push

Former Skanska USA and Trammell Crow executive Charley Leatherbee

Suffolk, one of the nation’s largest construction firms, has hired a former Trammell Crow leader to spearhead the company's real estate investment efforts.

The Boston-based firm named Charley Leatherbee as president of Suffolk Capital, it announced this week. Leatherbee will focus on co-general partner investments with developers nationwide. Coinciding with the hire, Suffolk rebranded its investment arm from Suffolk Ventures, a representative said Tuesday afternoon.

The commercial real estate veteran most recently served as Trammell Crow senior vice president after being hired by the Dallas-based, CBRE-owned company in April 2019 to open its Boston office. Prior to Trammell Crow, Leatherbee was an executive at Skanska USA’s Boston office, leading nearly 2M SF of Greater Boston projects including the 121 Seaport office tower.

“The real estate and construction industry continues to change rapidly,” Suffolk Chairman and CEO John Fish said in a statement. “Rather than simply react to these changes, Suffolk has undergone an exciting expansion and re-invention that will position us for future success and growth.” 

Suffolk announced two additional hires Monday, including naming former Related Cos. Senior Advisor Mike Trovini as head of its FUSE “self-perform” arm. FUSE, formerly known as Liberty Construction Services, was founded in 2007 and is responsible for equipment rental and construction materials. Trovini previously advised on Related projects in New York City including Hudson Yards and luxury condo buildings Lantern House and 15 Central Park West. 

Suffolk also hired 35-year Turner Construction veteran Kevin Sharkey as executive vice president of national business development.

Suffolk, founded in 1982 by Fish, has grown to include a massive nationwide construction footprint. Its Boston projects include the 51-story South Station tower and the billion-dollar Winthrop Center and various multifamily, educational and healthcare facilities.  

The hires represent Suffolk’s continued efforts to vertically integrate its construction business. The prolific construction firm has increasingly moved to vertically integrate its operations, and it has invested in virtual design, construction and artificial intelligence tools for project management, Fish said this summer.  Among those efforts include the launch last September of Suffolk Boost, a “mini-accelerator” for construction tech startups.

“Markets in our industry don't like a lack of predictability,” Fish said. “We yearn for predictability, so from a technological point of view, we are exploring how to use technology and artificial intelligence to design a building and deliver a product much more predictively.”