Mario Leepow Appreciates the Visible Progress and Tangible Product a Construction Job Affords

Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium has an instantly recognizable design, including a roof comprised of eight massive “petals” that slide to open and close the structure. Thanks to CEFGA’s Construction Ready program, Mario Leepow can say he, quite literally, had a hand in this newly iconic component of the Westside Atlanta skyline.

After Mario graduated from Construction Ready’s TCWFI location in March 2017, he landed a job with Porter Roofing and started work just as the building’s crown was being installed.

“It’s good to drive by it now and say, ‘Oh, I remember when I was on that slope,’ or, ‘I remember when I was in that gutter,’” Mario says. “If I’m with an Uber driver or a Lyft driver, I’ll say, ‘Hey man, I helped build that.’ I think that’s a wonderful moment, because that building is going to be there years from now and one day I can tell my kids I helped build that stadium.”

Mario came to Construction Ready with some experience in the field, having traveled and served with both Habitat for Humanity and Americorp NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps). But he was ready for more stability and eager to build a lasting career. His mother heard about Construction Ready and suggested he give it a try.

“Construction Ready helped me get more experience with different kinds of tools,” Mario says. “It’s benefitted me a lot. I’m glad I did it – I don’t think I would be where I am now if it wasn’t for that program.”

While working on the Mercedes-Benz project, Mario leveraged his contacts to land a carpenter helper position with Holder Construction, which was part of the joint venture that served as the stadium’s general contractor. He went to work with Holder in April 2018, telling his interviewers he was ready “for a career, not a job” and eagerly accepting any task he’s assigned.

“I’ve done labor work, I’ve done carpentry, I’ve flagged, I’ve washed trucks,” Mario says. “I’m 27 years old and I’m looking for stability, a company I can be with for the long haul, and be able to move up with that company. I know it’s not going to be fast – I know it’s going to take time; I just have to prove myself.”

Whatever the task or job site, visible progress and a tangible product are what Mario finds so appealing about the construction industry.

“I love seeing the progression throughout the day,” he says. “You can go to work one day and build forms, build this long slab … and at the end of the day, you’re like, ‘I did that.’ You can see how far you’ve progressed from the morning until the evening.”

And then, when it’s finished, continue to see it for years and years to come.

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VIDEO: Watch as Mario discusses how Construction Ready has boosted his career and shares what he enjoys about his day-to-day work in the field. Follow us on our YouTube channel to hear about more successful construction careers in Georgia.

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