This month’s FM spotlight is Vito Bacarella, Managing Director Head, Branch Real Estate at the global financial services company –UBS. Vito was honored by the Hispanic American Business Organization and was an integral part of the UBS branch office re-branding.
“Vito has proven himself to be creative and innovative in his approach to solutions in the design of our branch. His passion for design and his methodical process has delivered spaces which are cutting edge aesthetically and functionally, yet budget conscious and cost effective. Vito's innovative leadership and guidance was a critical factor in the successful implementation of 'breaking glass' as we created a new frontier in creativity and design of our world's largest and most successful wealth management office." - John Decker | Managing Director and Branch Complex Manager, UBS
What is one thing that no one knows about you?
“Few people know that I grew up in Sicily. I came here at the age of 13 and struggled to learn the language. I also make excellent wine.”
How did you get into the Facilities field?
“I'm a Registered Architect. I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Architecture and started my career working for a small interiors architectural firm before joining Merrill Lynch. At Merrill, I was responsible for managing the planning and development department for their six million square foot headquarters portfolio at the World Financial Center and other NY locations.
After Merrill, I joined Goldman Sachs running their design and construction department, responsible for all of the work in the Americas. After seven years at Goldman, I joined UBS managing the Wealth Management Branch Real Estate Group responsible for their 4.5 million square foot 400 branch locations.”
Tell us about a favorite project highlight.
"One of the most exciting set of projects that I have had the pleasure to manage and lead was the re-branding and development of the Ultra High Net Worth branch offices for UBS.
In addition to developing millions of square feet of office space, throughout my tenure at Merrill and Goldman, I had developed many trading floors, conference centers and food services facilities.
I built many state of the art branch offices across the country and in South America for UBS.”
What is your greatest success story?
“My greatest success story has been that our branch office designs have become a recruiting advantage for many Financial Advisers when choosing to join UBS over the competition.
‘The standard you walk by is the standard you come to accept.”
Tell us about a challenge or obstacle that you face in the real estate/facilities world.
"Developing efficient and flexible workplaces that are attractive and comfortable for people to enjoy every day in an environment where companies are trying to reduce occupancy and depreciation costs.”
What learning experience would you pass onto future FM’s?
“If you want to make change, don’t wait for someone to give you permission. If you believe in something, then start doing something about it and people will follow, if it’s the right thing. You can't wait for the world or people to pave the way for you.”
Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary.