Neighbor Spotlight: Johnny Vacchiano
Neighbor Spotlight | Johnny Vacchiano | December 2020
“You’re late!” Johnny will say with an endearing smirk on his face if you walk into a 1:15 pm meeting at 1:17 pm. Most of the Interfaith Neighbors’ team knows a conversation with John Vacchiano comes with a healthy dose of witticisms; after all this man has been the brains and source of laughter behind our construction work for the past 18 years.
Johnny Vacc, as he’s affectionately called, was born and raised in Asbury Park; his mother delivering him in their Pine Street home. He was drawn to carpentry at a young age and by age 14 was assisting his father, a mason contractor.
“I built a tree house when I was 11 years old,” he said. “I built an underground fort at 11-years-old and covered it with grass; no one knew it was there.”
At age 19, he launched a brief house framing venture with his brother Frank. And through the years, Johnny garnered experience in numerous fields, including working under the tutelage of Mason H Marshall, doing bridge construction, and installing a pumping station.
“I had a lot of lucky breaks with qualified people,” he said. “I have never regretted doing what I am doing.”
Recruited by Bevin Irvin and founder Joe Marmora as a subcontractor, Johnny Vacc is multifaceted and was the perfect man to be IFN’s hands on the ground. While he has left an imprint on each of the over 55 affordable homes IFN has constructed, he’s served as the field superintendent on nine single-family homes, our two ‘Rights of Passage’ houses for homeless young adults, and the recently completed ‘Pathway to Homeownership’ residence – a two-unit rental that facilitates our rent-to-own program.
Johnny Vacc’s current project is Parkview AP – a homeownership program along Springwood Avenue. Each of the 10 lots features a three bedroom, two and one-half bathroom home and a one-bedroom apartment above the detached garage.
“It’s different from my usual projects,” he said. “Day to day, it is interesting because of the type of work. I’m used to doing single family construction. The project is under my control but there’s a lot of other people involved.”
Johnny said this project is important because of its size, which will enable a significant number of families and people to become homeowners. Although new obstacles come with a larger-scale project, he says overseeing it from start to finish and walking away marveling at what they built is his favorite aspect of this work.
“I have been in love with my business,” he said. “It was just something that intrigued me. It was in my blood and I knew more about building at (age) 17 than most.”
We at Interfaith Neighbors are lucky to have his knowledge and experience. We’re looking forward to more laughs and successful projects with Johnny Vacc.
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