In This Issue

I’m with ERIE

Contractor featured on ABC primetime TV

September 14, 2009

John Maleno, real estate developer

John Maleno
Customer with Historic Square Agency
in Erie, Pa.

Erie, Pa.

Occupation: Co-founder and president
of Maleno Development

Where you've heard his name: Maleno's company, Maleno Development, teamed with more than 180 local companies and scores of volunteers from the community to build a house that will be featured on ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." The house was built for Clara Ward, founder of the Youth Development Center in Erie, Pa.

Meeting the deadline: Maleno said the crew accomplished their goal to demolish the old house and build the new one in 106 hours. Typically it takes 90-120 days to build a house. “Each day on the Extreme build was like a month,” Maleno said, “and each hour on the build was like a day. The toughest challenge was coordinating all the different suppliers and subcontractors who don't normally work together. There were times when we had 200 craftsmen in the house at the same time.”

Family matters: “I have five children who are full-time in business with me and it was really a team effort to coordinate through all of us,” Maleno said. “It was a way for all of us to give back to the community to someone who has dedicated her entire life to serving the community”

Community effort: For Maleno, the best part of the experience was seeing thousands of people come together for a good cause. “It makes me proud that we were able to organize something that was more than just a company or a group of companies but the entire Erie community participating,” Maleno said.

Why Erie Insurance?: Maleno is both a personal and commercial lines Customer with ERIE, citing ERIE's personal touch and community involvement as reasons he trusts in the company. “Erie Insurance actually played an integral role in our build,” Maleno added. Jeff Wheeler, senior loss control consultant for ERIE, helped Maleno form a safety team that included Agents from the Historic Square Agency. He also gave a presentation about problems the team might encounter on the job site and how to avoid them.

“We had three different people on site 24 hours a day making sure accidents didn't happen, and we're happy to say there were no accidents on the job,” Maleno said. “I think that's in large part due to the fact that we were proactive in creating this team that helped us know what to look for and what to do.”

We can build on this: More than 2,000 people volunteered, and more than $1 million worth of material and/or labor was donated for the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" project. In an effort to build upon the goodwill harnessed by this event, Maleno's family has created the Maleno Family-to-Family Fund, a nonprofit fund that's going to continue projects in the Erie community for years to come. For more information, visit