Mary Zappone

It doesn’t seem as though Mary Zappone, CEO of BRACE Industrial Group, ever stands still. Notable for her top-tier strategies and achievements in transforming multiple businesses into success stories, Zappone’s background in engineering and finance allows her to focus on driving business performance. By aligning the profit/loss leaders and functional departments of the organization, she drives the BRACE team to deliver exceptional value to customers in a safe, high-service, repeatable manner.

BIC Magazine recently visited with Zappone to learn more about BRACE’s success as a leading provider of industrial construction services and multicraft capabilities and how she drives profitable growth at the company.

Q: What led to your position at BRACE?

A: I was appointed CEO of BRACE in October 2017, but I’ve always been interested in the industrial and energy space. I have a versatile background in chemical engineering, reliability and maintenance, operations and HSE. I was excited about the opportunity to lead BRACE to a new level of performance. Earlier in my career, I gained expertise in process improvement tools, including Six Sigma and lean manufacturing. I use many of those tools (particularly root cause analysis and cross-functional problem solving) to focus on the time-critical, execution-critical and safety-critical aspects of the recurring maintenance and major capital projects our customers face.

Q: What is the biggest news at BRACE right now?

A: We are driving profitable, organic growth in the U.S. through geographic expansion. We have a national footprint that enhances customer experiences with a high-performance team specializing in multicraft services and best-in-class safety practices. We are expanding our crafts and geographic reach in the continental U.S., specifically into the Rockies, Ohio Valley, and Wyoming. Our union and nonunion divisions offer scaffolding, insulation, fireproofing, heat tracing, industrial siding and decking, painting and coatings, lead/asbestos abatement and refractory. Our customers span the power generation, petrochemical, refining, agricultural and commercial end markets. I also continue to unify the company with a “OneBRACE” collaborative mindset as an industrial services provider.

Q: What is the most important part of your position?

A: To continue building our superior team at BRACE, drive extraordinary results, and grow the business by serving our customers well and inspiring our employees at every level. This involves maintaining our commitment to safety. Safety at each job site, in each trade and at every level of the organization is our most important commitment.

Q: What should someone know before taking this type of position?

A: A CEO aligns numerous stakeholders every day by listening to their ideas and concerns. I enjoy traveling to meet face-to-face with employees, customers, suppliers, and investors. It is rewarding to see the transformational results of an aligned and high-performing team.

Q: How do you maintain a good work/home life balance?

A: I integrate my work and home lives and view my personal and professional lives as “one big life.” While I really enjoy my career, I also love traveling, food, exercising and, of course, my family. We’re eagerly awaiting our first grandson, who will arrive in March. It’s also important to give back to our community, and I have a special passion for encouraging women in STEM education and careers.

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