Cushing-Gavin Award Recipient
Management Award, 2022
Since beginning his career in this field in 1997, Stephen P. Affanato has been widely admired by members of the labor-management relations community on both sides of the table. He is the Executive Vice President of NEMCA, which represents premier mechanical construction firms throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Steve and his team provide their contractors with labor relations, government relations, educational opportunities, outreach, and much more.
Steve served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an Infantry Officer from 1992 to 1996. “I was fortunate enough to go to work for Tom Gunning and the Building Trades Employers’ Association initially as a legislative guy, and was their Assistant Executive Director when I moved to NEMCA in 2009.”
Weeks ago, NEMCA signed a new four-year contract with the Pipefitters #537. “I deal with quality folks on the union side,” Steve explains. “They have their job to do, and we have ours. But we work together to reach fair deals, then combine our focus on building our market share project by project.“
Steve’s commitment to the industry is evident in his service as an Employer Trustee of major joint training funds for several building trades. Steve currently holds this role with the Pipefitters Local 537, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 104, and Plasterers & Cement Masons Local 534 Benefits Funds. He’s also served as a trustee on Funds for the Carpenters, Laborers, and IUPAT DC 35 (Painters) unions. “Our member contractors want the best-trained, most highly-skilled and licensed workforce, and these Apprenticeship programs produce them.”
Steve has led NEMCA’s pro-active recruitment efforts. “Reaching out to help folks get a start in a well-paying trade or management-track position—well, it can change someone’s life. We visit Vocational Education students and support programs like Helmets to Hardhats for veterans, and Building Pathways for inner city women and minorities.”
Steve and NEMCA also ramped up recruitment for supervisor/ entry-level management positions and ongoing training for supervisors. Their annual golf tournament raises funds that support these efforts plus two very active NEMCA Student Chapters at Northeastern University and Wentworth. Mechanical engineering students discover the industry’s scope and fast growth and learn about student co-op placements and terrific career opportunities for estimator and project manager apprenticeships with NEMCA contractors. Before entering the military, Steve received a BA in Political Science from Merrimack College in North Andover. He is married to Courtney Affanato, and they are the proud parents of Ella (16), Stephen (15), Nora (13) and ten-year-old Julie.