By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published June 12, 2014
ATLANTA—John Schiavone is the new director of real estate development for the Atlanta Archdiocese, appointed the head of Catholic Construction Services, Inc. The department reviews and approves all construction contracts in the archdiocese when any of the nearly 100 parishes and missions starts a renovation or building project. CCSI staff also work with parishes and missions as project managers.
Schiavone succeeds George Barrie, the department’s first and only leader. Barrie retired in February after 17 years in the position.
Schiavone was with the Jim Cowart Companies from 1992 until 2010, serving as vice president of development and later president. The company developed several award-winning subdivisions with some 2,000 lots and homes in Gwinnett County and Fulton County.
Schiavone, a 62-year-old Florida native, helped oversee the construction of the 53,000-square-foot complex at St. Brigid Church, Johns Creek. He and his wife, Fredna, live in Alpharetta and attend the parish. They have two grown children. He graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in accounting. When he is away from the office, he likes to exercise, play golf, do woodworking, and when time permits, go fishing.
He answered questions from The Georgia Bulletin by email.
Q: What was the largest project you’ve helped to build and what was the result?
A: I was the building committee chairman for St. Brigid Church in Alpharetta (now Johns Creek) when Msgr. Joe Corbett was our pastor. It is a 53,000-square-foot church, office, social hall and classroom structure. That is one of the largest buildings I’ve been involved with. Most of my career, I’ve been in the residential construction and development industry and have developed communities ranging in size from 53 to 516 homes.
Q: What drew you to construction and engineering?
A: My dad was a mechanical engineer. He was the consummate do-it yourselfer. As a kid growing up, I helped him do all kinds of home repair and small building projects. I actually studied finance and accounting in college but had the opportunity to get into the residential construction industry here in Atlanta in the early ‘80s. The experience working with my father gave me the confidence I needed to jump from the accounting side of the business into operations.
Q: What is fun about it for you?
A: I’ve always enjoyed projects that you stand back and look at once they are completed. I enjoy working with people with different skill sets and helping them bring their talents together and accomplish a goal. It’s fun to help people convert a dream into reality.
Q: What appealed to you about this position?
A: It combined my passion for building and development with my appreciation and love for the church and the Archdiocese of Atlanta. I’ve been a parishioner at Christ the King, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Benedict and St. Brigid. Every parish has been a blessing for me and my family, and I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than help parishes and their pastors build and maintain their churches and schools.
Q: What parish or church do you belong to? What ministries are you active in?
A: St. Brigid. Until I started here at the archdiocese I was involved in a Bible study and a ministry called Man to Man. Both ministries meet at 7 a.m. after 6:30 Mass. My schedule does not allow participation right now because I’m headed down Georgia 400 at 6:30 every morning to get to the Chancery.