Building Skills NY (BSNY) is a nonprofit construction workforce development organization connecting underemployed and unemployed New Yorkers to construction training and job opportunities throughout New York City. Our mission is to provide more opportunities for New York City job seekers to get trained for careers in construction, while helping employers find a ready, willing, and able workforce. As a workforce intermediary, we leverage our relationships within the real estate development and construction industry and are dedicated to reducing underemployment in communities across the city, ensuring that local jobs are paths to tangible economic gains.
Meet the Team
David Meade, Executive Director
David Meade joined Building Skills NY in April of 2017. He is deeply committed to the organization’s David Meade joined Building Skills NY in 2017. He is deeply committed to the organization’s mission of helping New Yorkers find career track opportunities in the construction industry. Under his leadership the organization has placed over 1,600 New Yorkers in jobs, trained hundreds more on industry valued credentials, and created industry informed skills training programs with community college partners. Before joining Building Skills NY, David was Executive Director of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC) where he led a neighborhood based economic and workforce development organization and assisted thousands of small businesses and local jobseekers in Brooklyn. During his tenure at SBIDC, he helped open and direct the Brooklyn Workforce 1 industrial and transportation center and manage the attraction and retention of industry in one of New York City’s largest Industrial Business Zones. David also spent time in the private sector advising small businesses and at Empire State Development where he managed the administration of economic development zones throughout New York. David is a board member of the New York City Employment and Training Coalition. He holds a BA from Canisius College and earned his Master of Urban Planning from The University at Buffalo. David is a graduate of Coro’s Leadership NY program.
Glenn Hilzen, Business Services Manager
Bringing more than three decades of business operations experience to Building Skills NY, Glenn works with developers, general contractors, and subcontractors to craft a job pipeline spanning over 70 New York City worksites. Since joining Building Skills NY, Glenn has expanded the organization’s employer network to include over 100 partners. In 2018, the New York City Employment and Training Coalition presented him with the Bonnie Potter Workforce Staff Award for his unwavering dedication to connecting historically underserved New Yorkers to construction jobs. Glenn holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management from the Martin K. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.
Felicia Forster, Business Development Representative
When Felicia joined Building Skills NY she brought a decade of experience in digital media, technology, and construction organization operations with her. Prior to joining Building Skills NY, she worked with construction organizations including Gilbane Building Company, Tishman Construction Corporation, and Suffolk Construction Company to introduce enhanced onboarding techniques and compliance technology solutions. Felicia is an active member of several minority and women in construction organizations, where she further explores her passion for helping underserved people develop their careers within the construction industry. Felicia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Buffalo State College.
Siera Nezaj, Director of Communications and Grant Writing
Siera Nezaj is a nonprofit development professional and writer passionate about giving voice to the voiceless. She oversees the organization’s communication, social media, and branding efforts, along with grant writing and fundraising campaigns. Prior to joining Building Skills, Siera worked as a grant writer at Westhab, Inc. where she raised $2.6 million in grants in under 14 months. Additionally, she has experience fundraising for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro-New York, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, the Montefiore Health System, and the harris project. Siera has also worked as a freelance reporter. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Fordham University.
Olivia Torres, Database Manager
Olivia Torres is an enthusiastic professional dedicated to improving the lives of others. She manages the organization’s database as a Salesforce-certified administrator and works directly with job-seekers iOlivia is an enthusiastic professional dedicated to improving the lives of others. She manages the Building Skills NY’s database as a Salesforce-Certified Developer and works directly with jobseekers developing careers in construction. Prior to joining Building Skills NY, Olivia worked as an Operations Manager for Lloyds of London and as a Researcher for Good Housekeeping magazine. Additionally, she received the ‘Chutzpah’ award for her outstanding work as a Grant Writer at the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, one of the most sought-after leadership development nonprofit programs in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College and a Master of Science in Social Research from Hunter College.
Tatanisia Lumley, Training and Operations Manager
Tatanisia Lumley has a passion for working with diverse populations and is creating career pathways for jTatanisia has a passion for working with diverse populations and creating career pathways for jobseekers within the construction field. Before joining Building Skills NY, she served as Program Coordinator for BronxWorks’ Strong Fathers, Stronger Families program, working to maximize training and employment outcomes for custodial and non-custodial fathers and mothers. Since joining the Building Skills NY team, Tatanisia has worked tirelessly to connect jobseekers to training and employment opportunities while also providing quality case management services.
Ariel Leyva, Program Administrator
Ariel Leyva joined Building Skills NY in 2018 as the Program Administrator. Prior to Building Skills NY he Ariel joined Building Skills NY in 2018 after serving as the Intake Coordinator at the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation’s Workforce1 Industrial & Transportation Career Center. Prior, he worked as an Office Manager and Bookkeeper for a construction contractor. In his role at Building Skills NY, Ariel supports all aspects of programming and job placement services, working directly with jobseekers and community partners.