President* - Acme-Arsena Company

CEA established the Hall of Fame and Guardian Awards at its Centennial Anniversary in 2016 to honor leaders who have improved our industry and nurtured CEA through service, leadership and mentorship, making them true guardians of the industry. Hall of Fame honorees served the construction industry through CEA for many years and made significant contributions toward CEA's mission. We honor these leaders and thank them for devoting their time and talent to the industry, our community and the association. Contractors inducted into the Hall receive the Guardian Award, in the tradition of the Guardians of Transportation – the iconic statues standing watch on Cleveland’s Lorain-Carnegie Bridge.  

The late Vito Arsena deserves this high honor. 

At the age of 17, Vito worked for his father, John V. Arsena, as a plasterer’s apprentice, and by the age of 20 he was running the family business, Acme Lathing and Plastering Company, out of his home. When Vito started, lathers and plasterers were not unionized. Vito played a major role in organizing the lathers and plasterers and in forming a collective bargaining relationship between CEA and the plasterers. He also served in CEA’s Labor Steering Committee and eventually became chairman of that committee.  

Vito was involved with CEA for over four decades and continued his involvement into his late seventies. He remained involved in the plasterer’s negotiations and always supported CEA functions. Vito was CEA’s first Legislative Committee chair and served on CEA’s board of directors, the Greater Cleveland Construction Advisory Council and CEA’s bargaining committee for negotiations with Laborers Local 310. Vito devoted his life to not only CEA but also the construction industry. After his family, he said that construction is what he loved most in this world. 

Vito’s larger-than-life personality and natural charisma helped him to succeed in the industry. He would say, “I can do this, I can do anything, and I can do it better than anyone else.” This drive helped him to expand his small family business from residential renovations to commercial interior contracting, and eventually became one of the largest and most successful interiors contractors in the Cleveland area. 

*Awarded Posthumously