In 1988, Mt. Lebanon native John C. Mascaro decided to start his own construction company with the simple goal of “doing the job right the first time.”
He did his job right for more than three decades, as evidenced by high-profile Mascaro Construction projects from the city of Pittsburgh to the South Hills, and at institutions of higher learning from Morgantown, W.Va., to Indiana.
Mascaro, whom everyone called Jack, died July 19 at age 75. Not only does he leave the legacy of a successful business, managed ably by his three sons, but also a history of philanthropy and giving, especially with regard to his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh.
The son of the late Peter and Jean Mascaro grew up with a work ethic he gained from his father, who in 1941 started a bridge construction company that later helped build the Parkway East.
A member of South Hills Catholic High School Class of 1962, Jack earned his bachelor’s degree from Pitt four years later and, in 1980, added a master’s in the same field to his résumé. He worked in executive positions for construction firms before going on his own with the full support of his wife, Darlene, whom he married in 1967.
Starting his company with the proceeds of a second mortgage and using the space atop a home ping-pong table, Mascaro received numerous honors as the business grew. Among them were being named Pittsburgh’s Civil Engineer of the Year in 2001 and Western Pennsylvania Entrepreneur of the Year the following year.
Also, in 2002, came the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Real Estate and Construction, the first time a Western Pennsylvania businessman received that distinction. He was presented National Business Ethics Award in 2012 as the first and only contractor to be so honored.
At the University of Pittsburgh, he established the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation at the Swanson School of Engineering. He also was instrumental in founding the school’s construction management program, for which he endowed the Peter J. Mascaro Fund in his father’s honor.
Of the multitude of projects on which Mascaro Construction has worked, some notable examples include serving as general and lead prime contractor for the latest iteration of Bethel Park High School; designing and building residence halls and houses at Washington & Jefferson College; and constructing the Southwestern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial in Pittsburgh’s North Side, near the company’s headquarters.
Also in that general neighborhood, the Mascaro firm constructed the original Heinz Field in 2001 and since then has worked on several renovation projects for the home of the Steelers.
An Upper St. Clair resident at the time of his death, Mascaro is survived by Darlene; sons John, Jeffrey and Michael; nine grandchildren; two brothers, Vince and Peter; a sister, Polly Martin; and many nieces and nephews.
Following a private family service at Beinhauer Funeral Home in Peters Township, Mascaro was laid to rest at Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum, also in Peters.