Design-build industry leader Stellar has tapped company veterans for its top two executive positions.

Mike Santarone has been named the firm’s new CEO, and Brian Kappele has been promoted to president/COO.

Santarone first joined Stellar as a field engineer in 1986, overseeing the Epping Forest mansion renovation and residential development project. He was made division vice president of the Food & Beverage group in 2000, was promoted to executive vice president in 2005 and became Stellar’s third president in 2012.

“Mike has boldly led Stellar into a new era of growth and innovation,” says Ron Foster Jr., chairman of Stellar’s board of directors. “Mike was responsible for the creation and execution of our strategic vision for 2020 as well as our new strategic plan for 2025, as we continue to set the bar as an industry-leading company. His efforts and experiences over his long career at Stellar have positioned him to be an effective chief executive.”

Kappele began his career at the company as an intern in its Food & Beverage division in the summer of 1997. After graduating from UF’s Rinker School of Building Construction in 1998, he accepted a full-time position as an on-site assistant project manager, taking on various roles and responsibilities throughout the first 10 years of his career. Kappele was promoted to division vice president in 2011 and became executive vice president in 2017.

“Brian successfully managed Stellar’s Food & Beverage, Distribution, and Thermal divisions before taking responsibility for the Refrigeration Contracting and Refrigeration Services groups,” says Foster. “In support of our goals and objectives for 2025, he will now have responsibility for the Commercial group as well, placing him in charge of all of Stellar’s operations divisions.”