Marcello Lalama Recognized Nationally for His Managing of Meadowbrook Mall
By Julie Perine on May 31, 2012
“It’s always nice to be recognized by your company. I’ve been with them for 22 years and received this once before,” said Lalama, who was awarded the same accolade in 1998. “It acknowledges the hard work that you do to make the mall better, but really this kind of award cannot be earned without having a great staff and great people to work with.”
The Cafaro Company owns 14 malls nationwide.The criteria for the award is determined by Director of Operations John Richley.
And the bar is set high.
“It’s how the individual property managers have performed over the past years. Sometimes it’s a matter of a special event or series of special events in which the property managers are involved in the planning and execution of,” said Joe Bell, director of corporate communications for The Cafaro Company.
Last year’s series of public safety training events is a prime example, Bell said.
“It was quite elaborate and (Marcello) coordinated with all the local officials and was widely praised for what came of it,” Bell said. “It helped paramedics, police and firefighters sharpen their skills and is something that was appreciated by our operations department.”
Bell said it's that textbook way of showing cooperation with local officials for the mutual benefit of the mall and community that draws special attention to managers such as Lalama.
Effectiveness of day-to-day operations is also considered for the award.
“That includes how well they deal with maintenance issues and how well they relate to the various tenants and merchants in the mall,” Bell said. ‘It’s how well they deal with crises that may come up or problems that arise and need to be dealt with. All those types of things go into managing a property as complicated as a shopping center.”
The Meadowbrook Mall encompasses nearly 1 million square feet of retail space and more than 100 merchants, including Elder-Beerman, JCPenney, Target, Sears and Marshalls.
Lalama compares the mall’s management to that of being “mayor of a small city.”
“People come to you daily with problems – all kinds of fires to put out with regard to leasing, security, maintenance and overseeing all of those aspects, as well as working with the community and dealing with local governments,” he said.
Marketing Manager Robin Urquhart works alongside Lalama. She said his award was well-deserved.
“It takes a whole team to pull it off, but Marcello is at the helm, and everybody was excited,” Urquhart said.
Richley referred to Lalama as “the go-to guy” when it comes to testing special programs. Insofar as day-to-day operations, he is “the consummate manager when it comes to knowing his mall property, his merchants, the community and the demands of the marketplace.”
“He’s just a well-rounded manager in every respect,” Richley said. “He is competent in everything he does.”
Lalama is originally from Liberty Township, Ohio and graduated from Youngstown State University. He joined the Cafaro organization in 1990, initially assigned as operations manager for Spotsylvania Towne Centre in Fredericksburg, Va. Just months later, he assumed the position of Meadowbrook Mall manager.
He lives in Bridgeport with his wife Ursula and three children, Jonah, Madelyn and Corinne.
Established in 1982, the Meadowbrook Mall Complex is located on Interstate 79, Exit 121 in Bridgeport.