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The Yankee Express

Hard-working Tracy Sharkey is GBI Avis’ new COO

Jul 06, 2021 11:48AM ● By Chuck Tashjian

GBI Avis’ Tracy Sharkey recently took on the position of COO, solidifying her role with the Douglas-based general contracting company.

play of these products can be seen on Main St.—Rt. 16—in Douglas), GBI Avis’ expertise extends as well to foundation and excavation, permitting and engineering, zoning requirements and title search, planning and conservation, electrical and plumbing, demolition and septic, Title V and design.
Ms. Sharkey’s thumbprints are on most of these facets of the business.
Mr. Tusino describes Ms. Sharkey as “a hard worker, from six in the morning. She’s the boss, I look for the deals. We have almost a thousand acres we have to turn around.”
Speaking of which, in the latest evidence that “she runs the show and she does a hell of a job,” as Mr. Tusino puts it, Ms. Sharkey closed the deal for sale of the former Serendipity site on Rt. 16 in Uxbridge (before that it was the home of the Patrick’s banquet hall) to Amazon for a 726,000-square-foot sortation facility.
“She was very instrumental in making that happen and it didn’t get appealed,” Mr. Tusino said. “She bought the land with my money and Amazon liked it. It will put a lot of people to work and help the commercial tax base.”
“I’ll be happier on Saturday morning!” she said, in accepting congratulations two days before the paperwork was to be signed.
Amazon’s redevelopment of two parcels, back and front, “should be finished in the first quarter of 2022,” she said. “They have a very aggressive timeline to get up and running before Thanksgiving.”
“Everybody said I would be stuck with it the rest of my life,” Mr. Tusino said, of the property.
GBI Avis weathered the pandemic with its typical commitment to serving the customer, Mr. Tusino said.
Like most everything else, modular homes activity was negatively impacted by the crisis, Ms. Sharkey said. “Last year it was hard to get building permits because town halls were closed. We had to pay close attention to the price of material. Our check boxes were still in place but we had to put a lot of effort into it. ”
“I think we will be very busy for homes this next year,” Mr. Tusino said.
GBI Avis is looking to build on Winter St. in Douglas, “up to thirty homes near Wallum Lake, and we have another eight hundred acres to go with that but we need a road,” he said.
Now eighty years old and with an adopted son, age five, Mr. Tusino says, of GBI Avis, “we have done this for fifty-eight years and we have survived it all.”
With seventy employees, GBI Avis is well-positioned for continued growth.
Ms. Sharkey is key to this.
“I needed someone with a specialty. She listened very carefully,” Mr. Tusino said, in bringing Ms. Sharkey on board and bringing her along.
“I can still play biologist,” she said, of her undergraduate focus. “Soil evaluating. I’m in the field at least once a week.
“Day-to-day, I wanted to take more responsibility so it all doesn’t fall on Lou.”
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.By Rod Lee
Lou Tusino wasn’t going to hire Tracy Sharkey when she expressed interest in coming to work for Guaranteed Builders Inc. (GBI Avis) fourteen years ago, not long after graduation from Springfield College.
“I didn’t want to give her a job,” he said in GBI Avis’s offices on West Street in Douglas the afternoon of June 25.
Now, the man affectionately known as “Uncle Lou” is glad he did.
Ms. Sharkey was recently promoted to chief operating officer (COO) of the company, from vice president.
“Get your real estate license,” Mr. Tusino told her, then, thinking it wouldn’t happen. “You can’t work here without a real estate license.”
When she came back a week later and produced the document, he had no choice.
“He’s a man of his word,” Ms. Sharkey said.
A go-getter in the fashion of Mr. Tusino himself, Tracy Sharkey has emerged as not only one of GBI’s most important operatives (more about why that is true, shortly), but a prominent figure in town. She holds a number of lofty titles with GBI Avis, including “Professional Wetlands Specialist” and “Registered Sanitarian.” She is a certified building official. She also chairs Douglas’s Planning Board and Conservation Commission.
“She studied biology, now she’s a sanitarian,” Mr. Tusino said, with pride in his voice.
“I love it here,” she said. “Lots of action, lots of flexibility and lots of opportunities to make money.”
Well-known locally for its garages and modular homes (a dis