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September 5, 2007



Clark Construction’s
one of our hometown favorites, of course, since it’s based in Bethesda and has grown huge here. But in the last couple of years, Turner Construction has matched its revenues in the region (when you include its subsidiary Tomkins). So we thought it was high time Bisnow paid a visit to Turner’s main man here, Bill Brennan, who’s based in Reston. Although Turner is the largest contractor in the US (and, at $9B, about four times Clark’s overall size), Bill tells us he likes to think of it as a local player that knows local markets.

Bill heads up about $2B in revenue in the DC, MD, VA, PA and FL markets as one of six EVPs reporting to the Turner CEO. He started with Turner in ’72 and left in the ’80s to run his own contracting business in New Jersey. After selling his company, he returned to Turner in ’96 and was assigned to help the Jersey office get back on track with quality, safety and “the deal.” After patching up the Garden State (well, at least the Turner part of it), Bill found his niche as the company’s Mr. Fix-It. He was moved to DC in 98 and helped take local revenue from $175M to over $1.1B

Turner is finishing up the Newseum, which will add to its portfolio of mega-projects like Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Janelia Farms and the Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, and plenty of smaller projects like the new amputee center at Walter Reed. Because of its knowledge of local subs and procedures, Tompkins was invited in as a partner by Perini Construction for the $350M Gaylord Resort at National Harbor. Though Turner acquired Tompkins in ’01, the two continue to operate separately: 90 percent of Tompkins' work is for government agencies, while Turner focuses more equally on government and private sector.

Modern Day Renaissance Man: Bill points to a picture of himself clad in biker gear, ready to ride his Harley Softail Custom in the ’04 Vietnam Ride to the Wall. Besides being an avid rider, Bill’s also a fly fisher (his favorite: PA limestone trout) and a golfer—he even birdied the 8th hole at Pebble Beach.

Here’s another picture on the wall—Bill a few years back with Penn State’s legendary Joe Paterno. Bill hadn’t seen his former coach since he was a walk-on linebacker for the Nittany Lions in ’68 and ’69. Bill said Paterno helped him learn discipline when he was just a young rabble-rouser from Wilkes-Barre. Turner recruits heavily at Bill’s alma mater and schools like Virginia Tech, Lafayette and the University of Maryland. They seek out engineering and architecture undergrads for internship programs, giving them a leg up in recruiting.  By the way, we checked with Joe, and he has the same picture on his wall.


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