Change Agent Joe Aiello Retires


by William G. Reinhardt, editor

Joseph Aiello, a much admired and highly effective member of the P3 community, has retired after 13 years with Meridiam Infrastructure Managers, a private equity investor/developer of infrastructure. He had variously served as CEO of North America, Investment Committee member on a variety of the firm’s funds and more recently as a partner and member of the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee. Based in Paris, Meridiam now manages in excess of $5 billion invested internationally in projects with a constructed value exceeding $60 billion.

In the U.S. market, Aiello was a key team member on a number of the industry’s “signature” projects such as the NTE and LBJ managed lanes projects, the Port of Miami Tunnel (POMT), the Long Beach Courthouse, and the Purple Line LRT project in Maryland. All tested the creativity of the owners, developers and builders to deliver these market-making megaprojects.

Prior to joining Meridiam, Aiello served as an Executive Vice President at Aecom where he held a number of operating positions including President of Aecom Enterprises.
Since July 2015, Aiello has served as the pro-bono Chairman of the Fiscal and Management Control Board at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in Boston. He was appointed to a five-year term by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. In the past three years, MBTA has accrued approximately $600 million in operational savings against an annual $1.5-billion budget while maintaining and recently increasing levels of service. The MBTA also has increased its annual capital spend from $300 million to $900 million and is projected to exceed $1 billion in 2019. Aiello has been a particular champion of using alternative procurement methods to obtain better outcomes for the MBTA. He spent considerable time stewarding the recently awarded Automated Fare Collection PPP contract.

Aiello is an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School where he has frequently guest-lectured and served on discussion panels. From 2010 to 2015 he served on the Belfer center’s Advisory Board.

Aiello has always been driven by the notion of fairness and equity. He was a key community activist that shaped Boston’s big dig from an early proposal that would have torn apart a city neighborhood to the carefully designed and constructed project it became. He spent a number of years as a developer of non-profit and affordable housing across the Boston area. He has always been a force for insisting that firms take the broad view of infrastructure investment’s impacts on people, neighborhoods, and the environment.
Aiello will continue to serve Meridiam as a part time Senior Advisor.

A gentleman
“I’ve known Joe since the early days of the current generation of P3’s in the US. Most notable was my experience working with Joe on the Port of Miami Tunnel Project which survived the 2008 financing market disruptions, numerous counterparty bankruptcies, changing administrations, and expired project commitments. Joe was a true master at guiding the project team around the various roadblocks to achieve commercial and financial close almost four years after Florida DOT originally bid the project.

He was, still is, and will always be a true gentleman in dealing with all the individuals and circumstances the US P3 industry faces. I look forward to Joe continuing to serve as one of the leading P3 industry ambassadors as infrastructure delivery continues to evolve in this country.”
Stephen Howard
Infrastructure & Project Finance

A change agent
“To build and sustain a true industrial revolution you need a small handful of unique multi-faceted leaders. People who combine unusual strengths in policy, transactions, politics and interpersonal communications. Straight shooters who see a better future, apply that vision to the present, challenge the status quo without guile or ego, and build consensus within an enterprise, a project, a program and a mission.

Joe is such a rare individual. During a time of necessary turmoil in defining the public interest in public works delivery, Joe has played an outlier role in changing for the better how governments deliver their largest and most complex projects. Part of that challenge has been the development of solid metrics to establish more effective roles for private business in that endeavor.

And yet, balanced against all that is Joe’s unfathomable passion for the Celtics and the Red Sox. Nobody’s perfect.”
Geoffrey Yarema
Partner, Nossaman

A visionary
Joe is not only an excellent professional with a unique understanding of the infrastructure world in America, a visionary who was able to anticipate the tremendous success of the P3 industry in the last decade; and one of the secret weapons behind the spectacular success of Meridiam; he is also and very specially an exceptional individual with whom it was always a pleasure – both in the good and bad times – doing business.
Nicolas Rubio
Global Operations Director, Cintra

An industry resource
“Joe Aiello has been a consistently honest and patient resource to me over the 30 years I’ve been reporting the news of the P3 industry in Public Works Financing and before that at Engineering News Record magazine. Joe is a kind, intelligent and diligent man who’s accomplished more than most and shares his knowledge willingly. He’s not fully retiring, just deplaning and staying close to home, so we’ll have his good company for awhile longer, I’m pleased to report.”
William G. Reinhardt
Editor, Public Works Financing newsletter

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