Alumni Spotlight: Frank Fortino


Alumni Spotlight: Frank Fortino

November 3, 2015

Frank Fortino (B.S. '87) is founder and president of Metropolis Group, a building and construction company with offices in New York City. He is also a longtime supporter of NYIT and recently established the Fortino Family Endowed Scholarship Fund. Fortino spoke to NYIT Magazine about his path to success.

BUILD YOURSELF A BETTER LIFE My dad, an immigrant, came here to live a better life—to achieve. From the start, he believed in owning real estate; he bought property, but he also worked as a mason in construction. He was a very wise, hardworking man who expected nothing from anyone when he was making his way in society. He said, "You can have everything in life but that doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have your name. Your name is a bond, like a handshake. If you give your word and hold to it, people can trust you, a relationship develops."

HARD WORK PAYS OFF When I enrolled in NYIT School of Architecture and Design, I was working for architecture firm Emery Roth & Sons. I started as a draftsperson, and by the time I was 24, I was the head of code and zoning, coordinating all the approvals and permits for new constructions and renovations. During that time, I put myself through school and attended class at night. I had a wonderful experience at NYIT, and I earned my degree while working for a job that allowed me to shape the New York City skyline. When the market crashed in 1987/1988, I started my own company. My wife had an excellent job, and she gave me a year to build my business. Now, 28 years later, Metropolis Group has 84 employees and fills a niche in construction, architecture, and engineering. Our offices are across from the World Trade Center. With my background in architecture and construction management, it has been wonderful to watch the birth of such an iconic site.

STAY CREATIVE; STAY POSITIVE You can influence the outcome of everything with positivity and creativity and by holding on to the idea that nothing is impossible. One of my favorite projects was combining the tall modern Palace Hotel (which my former employer Roth created) with the landmarked Villard Houses on Madison Avenue to develop a new building. It took nearly five years to complete all the phases of the project—but we did it.

GIVE BACK I have three children, all college graduates with great jobs. My wife and I are very proud. Our philosophy is: The most important thing you can do is to give back to kids. I wouldn't be here if I hadn’t had an education at NYIT. My wife and I established our NYIT scholarship and joined the Friends of the NYIT School of Architecture and Design to express our gratitude and help others.

This story originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of NYIT Magazine. It is also part of The Box's "60 Years in 60 Days" series featuring alumni anecdotes in celebration of NYIT's 60th anniversary in 2015.

By Kate McCormick