Project Superintendent Scott Cupicciotti is pictured in front of one of the large elephant barns at White Oak Conservation Center.

May 9, 2023

Animal Habitat a Novel Job for Superintendent. ‘It’s like ‘Jurassic Park’’

Meet field leader Scott Cupicciotti, who brings a lifetime of construction experience, and some dandy mango datil pepper sauce, to the Haskell team.


Haskell Project Superintendent Scott Cupicciotti has been in and around construction all his life. The son of a general contractor, he grew up in Chicago helping on job sites. He’s a carpenter by trade, and thanks to his father, he’s seen projects from the field and the office.

In 30-plus years in the industry, he’s worked on a wide variety of projects, from office buildings to oil refineries to airport terminals.

But his latest assignment is unlike anything he had experienced.

White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Florida, hired Haskell to design and build a 2,500-acre enclosure and barns for the largest herd of Asian elephants in North America -- two dozen females and eight males.

“I had never worked on a zoo project, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Cupicciotti said. “I’m glad I’ve had this opportunity. The people are really nice and easy to work with. We have a great project team of young guys. It’s really going well. It’s something different.”

The conservation center covers 17,000 acres and is home to about 30 species, 18 of which are endangered. The crews must preserve the habitat, including some wetlands, that often is not conducive to the use of heavy machinery.

The project has three phases. In Phase 1, Haskell enclosed 135 acres and built the first of three barns. Cupicciotti is the project superintendent of Phase 2 – a barn for bull elephants and six miles of fortified fencing.

“It’s like ‘Jurassic Park’ fencing without the electrical charge,” Cupicciotti said. “It was designed by Haskell engineers so that if the elephants got angry and charged it, they couldn’t breach it.”

Cupicciotti joined Haskell after having worked for several other large commercial and industrial contractor and design-build companies.

In 2020, he finished a project in Lake Charles, Louisiana, rebuilding numerous facilities for the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office after Hurricane Laura. A few weeks later, Cupicciotti joined the Haskell team.

When he’s not working, Cupicciotti said he enjoys hiking in the Carolina mountains, scuba diving and fishing.

“My dad would take me charter fishing out of Panama City,” he said. “I like grouper and snapper. If I can catch it and eat it, I’m happy. I like cooking and coming up with new dishes.”

If he can prepare it with one of his homemade sauces, it’s even better.

“My wife, Lori, and I have a side business, a specialty food company, Family Traditions Specialty Foods. We specialize in hot sauces. We’re working on a barbecue line of rubs and sauces that should be on the market by the third or fourth quarter.”

Cupicciotti tries out his sauces on his friends at Haskell.

“They give me a lot of good feedback. One of their favorites is a mango datil pepper sauce. It’s sweet with a little heat.”

That’s one of the things he likes about working for Haskell. He can talk to anybody about anything.

“They take care of their people. Everyone has a voice here, which is nice,” Cupicciotti said.

“I’ve been doing it since I was a toddler. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.”

Haskell is hiring! Explore the many options available to join a growing, Field Focused company committed to offering the BEST job of your life.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

Related News & Insights

Privacy Policy

Our website uses technology to offer you a personalized experience. We need your consent use cookies in accordance with our privacy policy. By clicking “Accept,” you agree to our use of cookies.