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Politics

George Leventis Honored on Top 25 Newsmakers List

May 3, 2018

NEW YORK – Langan International Managing Director George Leventis is one of the Top 25 Newsmakers of 2017 according to the Engineering News-Record (ENR) for his work on Greece’s €10-billion, 1000-KM roadway program. ENR’s editors selected a diverse group of individuals to be recognized this year “for their service to the construction industry and the public,” ENR reported, noting that Leventis “negotiated in an intense political environment to help broker deals that saved Greece’s multibillion-dollar roadway program.”

Leventis is Managing Principal in Langan’s New York City office and Managing Director of Langan International. He has over 30 years of experience providing engineering services for residential, commercial, industrial and supertall buildings; waterfront and offshore structures; and infrastructure projects. Leventis’ expertise also includes lender’s technical advisory services for international concession projects, and forensic technical support and services.

Between 1998 and 2001, Leventis served as Director General of the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, Athens 2004, S.A., overseeing all activities related to Olympic works and the environment. Currently, he is an adjunct professor at Columbia University, where he teaches a graduate course focused on deep foundations for supertall buildings. Leventis is also Regional Director of ACEC, an ASCE Fellow, member of The Moles, member of the Board of New York Building Congress, and member of the Advisors Board of the Stevens School of Business.

Leventis has a long history of overcoming the challenges that accompany complex projects in Greece, including his involvement in the Athens Olympics of 2004 and the Rion-Antirion Bridge. These experiences prepared him to navigate the intense political environment and ongoing financial crisis that surrounded the Olympia Odos motorway project, for which he served as the lender’s technical advisor since 2006 and was completed in 2017. This landmark project provides critical links to key destinations in Greece and is a vital part of the Trans-European Network.

“What should have been about $30 million per month in construction work slowed down to about $3 million during the crisis. But, working together with all the stakeholders, we kept it going,” Leventis said, ENR reported.

He told ENR that the experience of the Athens Olympic Games helped him sharpen his ability to “deal with different people with different agendas and needs. At the end of the day, I had to pull things together.”

When he suggested “privatizing Olympic venues,” ENR reported, he “encountered regulatory obstacles” and said the experience was “gut-wrenching, but it allowed me to become more confident in dealing with issues openly in a public forum.”

When Leventis was hired as technical adviser to Olympia Odos, one of the five concessionaires working to build or improve roads in Greece to help the tourism industry and demonstrate P3 viability, his diplomatic skills came in handy.

“George’s role was very instrumental in keeping the construction going in such a harsh economic environment,” Panayiotis Papanikolas, CEO of Olympia Odos, told ENR, adding that while construction ceased for three years and Leventis was involved in negotiations and “went beyond ‘his contractual responsibilities as technical adviser and participated in many discussions and negotiations with the state and the contractor. He managed to gain the respect and trust of all parties.’”

For two years the negotiations continued and changes were made to the details of the projects and deadlines including, “reduced bank loans and claims, a government agreement to cede expected toll revenue and cover inflation for extended deadlines, and increased European Union contributions,” ENR reported. The tough times continued as well “with austerity measures, national riots, changing governments and anti-toll sentiment,” ENR reported, adding Leventis’ recollection that the consortia “collaborated to keep enough money trickling in” and construction continued and was completed in 2017.

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