A Conversation with Entrepreneur and Community Leader Robert Landino

A Conversation with Entrepreneur and Community Leader Robert Landino 1Connecticut entrepreneur, real estate developer, and community activist Robert Landino has a lot to be excited about these days. His new business ventures are generating a lot of buzz in Connecticut and beyond and his philanthropic efforts are changing lives and inspiring others.

Currently, Robert Landino is CEO of Center Earth LLC, a full- service consultancy and concrete construction company serving Connecticut market and he also serves as President of Heartwood Homes in North Haven, Connecticut.

Robert Landino is a great example of how someone can do business and find success in Connecticut. He may be best known as the founder and former CEO of Centerplan Companies. In this executive role, Landino directed the development of over one million square feet of real estate development, construction management and oversight including retail, healthcare, industrial, residential and urban mixed-use projects.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that New Haven is experiencing a renaissance,” Robert Landino is proud to tell critics and doubters, who only see red tape, bureaucracy and high expenses as strong barriers to success in the Constitution State. “I’m not one of those folks who talks about how one cannot do business in Connecticut. I like to talk about how one can do business in Connecticut.”

One of his ongoing passions is to build residential mixed-use buildings in downtown New Haven, and he began working on one memorable real estate development project in 2006. Originally dubbed CollegePlace, it was modified over time by economic and political forces into a $65 million effort redubbed “College & Crown.” College & Crown is one of several well-known urban mixed-use projects in New Haven and surrounding communities where he was actively involved.

The state of Connecticut is very close to Robert Landino’s heart, and history. His family ties run deep. “As a first-generation Italian-American my father [Al Landino] was the first member of his family to go to college and he truly was my hero in every respect,” Landino explains, “He then became the City Engineer of New Haven during the time that ‘urban renewal’ projects were sweeping the country’s city centers. I remember sitting at the dinner table night after night and listening to my father talk about the work they were doing to transform New Haven, reduce blight, combat chronic poverty, and provide better homes and neighborhoods for the people living there. That was my first introduction to urban planning, real estate and construction … and it sparked a life-long passion for civil engineering.”

Prior to his involvement at Centerplan Companies, Bob Landino was the President and Chief Executive at BL Companies, an Engineering News Record (ENR) Top 500 Architect & Engineering firm with offices throughout the northeast and mid-Atlantic states. he co-founded the firm in 1987, when it began as a two-person consulting practice. BL Companies grew to employ more than 250 professionals and support staff located in seven offices. BL Companies was included in Inc. Magazine’s prestigious list of the nation’s 500 fastest growing privately held companies.

Robert Landino is a fervent believer in the importance of education and giving back to the community. He received a B.S. in civil engineering in 1983, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in several states, including Connecticut. He is extremely active in his community and has been fortunate enough to be involved in multiple Chambers of Commerce, various civic groups, and community organizations that aim to promote and enhance the populations they serve. Bob has won numerous awards throughout his career, including Business Person of the Year by the New Haven Chamber of Commerce.

Landino also served three terms as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives until his retirement in 2000. He represented the towns of Clinton, Essex, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook, and he served as House Chairman of the Banks Committee and Vice Chairman of the Planning and Development and Finance Committees.

One of his proudest accomplishments to date, besides his many business successes and his most important and meaningful role as father to his children, is Robert Landino’s active involvement with THE LAUNDRY TRUCK LA, a free mobile laundry service that provides many families, men, women, and children experiencing homelessness in the downtown and greater Los Angeles area with clean clothes. “We are thrilled to see The Laundry Truck helping so many people in Los Angeles,” Landino said. “Access to clean clothing is a fundamental component of living a healthy life. It is also a key factor in self-esteem, mental health, and social acceptance. It is our goal to help disadvantaged men, women and children in the nation’s second largest city gain access to clean clothing. It’s something many of us take for granted–and something many others lack.”

Like most entrepreneurs, especially in real estate where boom and bust cycles spare noone, Robert Landino has experienced his share of ups and downs, but he maintains an uncommonly positive attitude and determination to keep going, driving ahead and focusing on the future.

“Every entrepreneur goes through various high and low points,” he says, “sometimes you feel like you’re unstoppable, and other times you feel like the world is crashing. There will be times of doubt, but keep moving forward and positive things happen. The most important thing is to have strong values at your core that will help you get through those valleys. It’s easy to do the right thing when everything is going well. It’s how you conduct yourself and the decisions we make when times are tough that define us and motivate us to pick ourselves up and keep climbing. My family is my compass, whether it’s the old-world values my parents instilled in my siblings and I, or its being the best father for my children that I can be. Those are the things that have carried me through periods of doubt and continue to help me succeed.”

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.