Principal, Chief Executive Officer
For more than 20 years, Mr. Lajqi has been leading construction projects across multiple asset classes throughout the United States. He is an expert in construction management overseeing over $1B worth of projects in major capital improvements, redevelopment of residential and commercial properties, new ground-up developments, and infrastructure projects. Mr. Lajqi founded his general contracting business in 2010, and in 2014 he rebranded the company EmpireCore, to provide a new level of service integrating construction management to the company profile.
As Founder and CEO of EmpireCore, he ensures client needs are exceeded on each project. Mr. Lajqi partners closely with new and existing clients, making sure their projects are executed as promised. Under his leadership, EmpireCore has experienced tremendous growth and has been awarded notable contracts, including Blackstone and Greystar, the largest real estate investment firm and the largest property management company in the world, respectively. Furthermore, Mr. Lajqi expanded his operations across different markets nationally.
Earlier in Mr. Lajqi’s career, he built over thirty-two multi-family ground-up developments ranging from three to sixteen stories for private investors, having also worked with Artimus Construction as Construction Manager overseeing operations of two multi-story ground-up developments. These projects consisted of residential and student housing for Barnard College. Before starting EmpireCore, Mr. Lajqi served as Director of Capital Projects at The Dermot Company, managing the redevelopment of multiple residential assets worth over $880M throughout the NYC area.
Mr. Lajqi attended the Elliot School at George Washington University, pursuing his graduate degree in International Affairs, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College. He also earned a certificate in Project Management from New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
Chief Operating Officer
As COO of Empire Core, John Dimaras, in conjunction with Senior Leadership, manages the operations of the company and leads the construction team. Throughout his fifteen years of industry experience, John has consistently delivered projects within both time and cost constraints, approaching challenges in every phase with an innovative mindset that drives effective solutions. John brings a diverse experience of projects types having led and delivered complex projects in New York City, Australia, and Asia. Prior to joining Empire Core, John was a Project Executive and Head of the Residential and Commercial group of DBI Projects, a real estate advisory and project management consulting firm.
Previous projects include pre-construction and early construction phases for the ground-up development of the 43-story, 50-unit ultra luxury condominium building 45 Park Place in Tribeca. Delivered the development of 255 Columbia Street, a 13-unit, 7-story condominium building containing over 23,000-sf. Constructed using the principals of Passive House design. In partnership with The Collective, John managed the ground up development of an assembled site in Williamsburg into a 100,000-sf dual-purpose co-living and student housing project.
John holds a Master of Science, Real Estate Development and Finance from New York University, a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) from Monash University in Australia.
Director of Development
Veton Boga has over 10 years of experience in the construction industry with extensive Institutional and Healthcare project portfolios as well as experience managing large, complex multi-use development projects. He began his career as an Assistant Project Manager and evolved into positions including Head of Procurement, Project Executive, and notably Director of Development.
Mr. Boga has a vast understanding of construction projects with a proven track-record to bring projects to completion ahead of schedule, by way of efficient and streamlined project management.
In his prior role as Project Executive, Mr. Boga developed an environment of teamwork and ensured that strategy is clearly defined while overseeing performance and maintaining client expectations. His strong communication and client service skills enhance Empire Core’s process-driven management approach. Recently, as Director of Development, Mr. Boga has expanded EmpireCore’s portfolio, successfully finalizing a public works project with the Chappaqua Central School District as well as setting the groundwork for operations in Florida.
Mr. Boga, has worked as Senior Project Manager at large scale residential redevelopment projects in the NYC area such as Peter Cooper Village & Stuyvesant Town, Kips Bay Court, Riverton Square, and Spring Creek.
Mr. Boga graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Business from Berkeley College, USF Deans List 2011. He has continued his education in the industry at NYC College of Technology, having been certified in Cost Estimating/Advanced Blueprint Reading as well as a minoring in Building Materials and Methods.
Chief Financial Officer
As CFO of EmpireCore, Justin Kerker manages all financial activities of the organization. Mr. Kerker has streamlined accounting processes and implemented updated financial reporting internally and externally.
Mr. Kerker manages and prepares financial forecasting, budgeting, cash flow projections, and oversees the preparation of client financial reporting and billings. He also manages the accounting department consisting of project accountants and accounting managers. Mr. Kerker’s uncanny problem-solving abilities and grasp of macro-level processes, has resulted in enhanced standards of practice with a view to maximizing profitability.
Prior to joining EmpireCore, Mr. Kerker was the Controller and CCO of BMDC Construction developing a comprehensive plan for future growth and new market ventures. Prior to BMDC, he was the COO/CFO/CCO of a $3B Hedge Fund at Seminole Capital, where he managed everything from monthly financial reporting to daily trade reconciliations as well as launching new funds. These experiences provide him with an in-depth understanding and management of company financials.
Mr. Kerker holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Fran Ula brings to EmpireCore an effective, integrative approach to risk management and assessment. His understanding of company goals and on-site project work results in improved processes and standards of insurance and contract reviews, thus ensuring a high level of risk control with due consideration to project timelines.
As Risk Manager, Mr. Ula operates from a multi-faceted platform of risk mitigation coordinating with the executive team, project teams, and insurance professionals. He has also successfully handled an array of operational and compliance aspects related to EmpireCore’s diversified portfolio including prevailing wage procedures, staff restructuring, subcontractor assessment & quality control, and new market expansion. Notably, Mr. Ula worked closely with the CEO in outlining a dynamic plan of action to navigate the 2020 Covid pandemic. As part of an expanded role into human resource management, he has also revamped internal human resource practices to increase company efficiency and transparency.
Mr. Ula holds a Bachelor of Arts in Romance Languages & Literatures from The University of Chicago, a Master of Arts in Italian from University of Virginia and a Master of Arts in American & English Literature from The University of the South. He is a certified Construction Risk and Insurance Specialist (CRIS).
Senior Project Executive
Joseph Langan recently arrived at EmpireCore as a Senior Project Executive. Mr. Langan brings three decades of engineering and real estate development experience to the team. Mr. Langan is responsible for managing development deals from inception to completion. Mr. Langan successfully built and managed construction of over $200,000,000 of projects ranging from commercial offices to healthcare, science and technology, and multifamily housing. Mr. Langan has co-promoted and co-developed over $75,000,000 in commercial real estate projects.
Previously, Mr. Langan was the Principal and ultimately the President of River Drive Construction Co., Inc., for twenty eight years. Notable construction and development projects Mr. Langan completed while with River Drive include: River Drive Center, Riverfront Center& Riverwalk in Elmwood Park, NJ., a mixed use office, retail and multifamily project valued at over $100 million and JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, NJ, a $20+million multiphase project. Various other projects completed were for Verizon Wireless, Mack Cali Realty, CBRE and others in the Healthcare, Office and Industrial, Science and technology and multifamily residential sectors.
Joseph P. Langan graduated from Villanova University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and completed his Masters of Science in Real Estate Development and Investment from NYU in 1990.