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Tuesday, Aug 9, 2022
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7 Over Seventy – Ron Tutor

Ron Tutor | 74 | Chief Executive Tutor Perini Corp., Sylmar Ron Tutor is still running the show at one of the country’s largest civil construction firms and he doesn’t see that changing any time soon. “You gotta know when you don’t have it anymore. If you’re really honest, you know when you don’t have it,” said Tutor. “Fortunately, I am not there yet and no one around me thinks otherwise.” In the 50 years since he founded his Sylmar firm, later to be known as Tutor Perini Corp. after a merger with Perini Corp. in 2008, his work has changed – but not as much as you might think. Sure, you won’t find the 74-year-old at the job site in a hardhat too often, but he still said a 50- to 60-hour workweek is typical. He usually gets into the office around 6:30 or 7 a.m. and is working through till about 6 p.m. Still, it’s less than the 70-hour plus weeks he worked in what he called the “good old days.” “I do a lot of the same things, just with a lot more delegation. I oversee as opposed to execute,” he said. “In the old days, I ran everything.” And despite advances from computer-aided design that have digitized everything from architectural drawings to work orders, Tutor feels that one reason he still feels on top of his game is that the industry at its core has not changed much. He describes the company operations as “still men and equipment and engineers.” And under his leadership, the company has blossomed. Tutor Perini is currently involved in some of the most high-profile construction projects in the country, including several contracts at the 26-acre Hudson Yards project in New York, which is slated for 6 million square feet of commercial space, 5,000 residences, a public school and luxury hotel. Other gigs include the California high-speed rail project and the Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco. In its third quarter earnings release in November, the company said its backlog was $8.1 billion, up 17 percent from the same quarter in the prior year. And the company last month was victorious in a protracted lawsuit over a Las Vegas hotel at the massive City Center project. MGM Resorts accused his company of shoddy construction but Tutor denied the allegation and filed liens for multiple change orders, ultimately agreeing to a settlement that awarded it $190 million for its work. Tutor said he stays pretty active, exercising regularly, and has been fortunate to avoid significant health issues. And while some older executive may miss the benefits of youth, he sees it quite the opposite. “It’s purely experience. In business I never really had a mentor. I learned everything by trial and error. And being aggressive, I made my share of errors,” he said. Jerry Brown has worked at Tutor Perini for 30 years. As vice president of civil estimating, he works with Tutor on a daily basis and said nothing has changed in all his years at the company. “He’s still on top of the game and his attention to detail is just the same,” Brown said. “And the bigger the project, the more attention he gives them. He likes the challenge of the big project.” – Elliot Golan

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