New York City -areial viewThese men were concerned that the building and construction industry was disorganized. They left that meeting with the goal of creating an organization of owners, bankers, architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, manufacturers, suppliers, and labor representatives.

In the words of Mr. Kohn: "We started out with the idea that the only hope for effective improvement in the industry was to render through cooperation of all of its elements some measure of service which the public had the right to demand of us."

Out of this meeting was born the New York Building Congress.

Throughout its history, the Building Congress has served as a common forum for issues that affect all segments of the building community. In forging the dedicated alliances to discuss and act upon the issues of the day, the Building Congress has drawn upon the talents of the best and the brightest in the industry.

From the depths of the Great Depression, periods of preparing for and enduring war, the building booms of the 1960s and late 1990s, and the senseless destruction of September 11, the Building Congress has focused its energies on the issues of the day while helping to keep the industry, government, and all New Yorkers focused on the future.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Building Congress is the constancy of its mission. The very principles upon which the Building Congress was founded are as relevant today as they were 96 years ago. Within the industry, it is looked upon as a place where all sectors can meet and find common ground. As such, the Building Congress is recognized as a major voice of the industry, and its advice on a range of issues is sought by public officials and agency leaders.

Since its founding, the Building Congress has served as a productive forum for those entrusted with building New York City. Over the years, the Building Congress has attracted such notable public officials as former President Gerald R. Ford; Senators Baker, D'Amato, Moynihan, Clinton, Schumer and Gillibrand; Mayors Wagner, Lindsay, Beame, Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani, and Bloomberg; and Governors Roosevelt, Carey, Rockefeller, Pataki, Spitzer, Corzine,  Paterson and Cuomo. The business and labor community also has been well represented, including such luminaries as David Rockefeller, Harry Van Arsdale, Peter S. Kalikow, and Mortimer B. Zuckerman.

While its founders would not have recognized the term, "networking" has been another constant for the Building Congress throughout its existence. The Annual Golf and Tennis Outing, established in 1930, remains a tradition in which industry leaders, colleagues, and friends relax for a day of sun, fun, and recreation. Another traditional social event was the Fun & Frolic Show, first produced in December of 1938. While the show is no longer part of the Building Congress calendar, it has been replaced by two major annual events—the Anniversary Leadership Awards Luncheon and Industry Recognition Dinner— which, combined, attract more than 2,000 people each year and honor the industry's best and brightest.

The Building Congress remains an industry-directed organization. Its committees, task forces, and events are designed to galvanize an action agenda based on the involvement and interests of all sectors of the building community.

Thanks in large part to the women and men of the construction, design, and real estate professions, New York City has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 90 years. So too has the building community. This growth and the challenges it presents, combined with the modernization and globalization of the industry, serves only to intensify the need for a devoted and active congress of architects, engineers, skilled labor, contractors, real estate managers, and other professionals. The Building Congress remains committed to its role as a conduit for all sectors of the industry and looks forward to many successful and productive years ahead.




The following list identifies the industry leaders who have contributed their time and expertise to advance the goals of the New York Building Congress over the past 90 years. Their voluntary service, dedication to the industry, and commitment to the future of New York has helped the City achieve the prominence and prosperity it enjoys today.

President Stephen F. Voorhees - Engineer 1921-1925
President R.H. Shreve - Architect 1925-1929
President Robert D. Kohn - Architect 1929-1931
President Harris H. Murdock - Architect 1931-1935
President Thomas S. Holden - Economist 1935-1940
President Max Foley - Engineer 1940-1942
President J. Andrew Fouilhoux - Architect 1942-1945
President Max Foley - Engineer 1945-1949
President Louis Skidmore - Architect 1949-1952
President C. George Dandrow - Owner 1952-1955
President John F. Hennessy - Engineer 1955-1958
President Bradford N. Clark - Engineer 1958-1962
President Charles Haines - Architect 1962-1965
President Robert W. Cutler - Architect 1965-1969
President A. Wilson Knecht - Engineer 1969-1972
President Michael M. Harris - Architect 1972-1976
President John J. Collins - Owner 1976-1979
President Charles Schaffner - Engineer 1979-1983
Chairman George A. Fox - Heavy Construction 1983-1986
Chairman Joseph H. Newman - Building Contractor 1986-1992
Chairman John F. Hennessy III - Engineer 1992-1996
Chairman John A. Cavanagh - Building Contractor 1996-2000
Chairman Jeffrey M. Levy - Specialty Contractor 2000-2002
Chairman Marilyn Jordan Taylor - Architect 2002-2004
Chairman Frank J. Sciame - Building Contractor 2004-2006
Chairman Dominick M. Servedio - Engineer 2006-2009
Chairman Stuart E. Graham - Building Contractor 2009-2010
Chairman Peter A. Marchetto - Building Contractor 2010-2012
Chairman John M. Dionisio- Engineer 2012-2014
Chairman Thomas Z. Scarangello- Engineer 2014-2016
Chairman Richard Cavallaro - Building Contractor 2016-2018
Chairman Milo Riverso - Engineer 2018 -


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