May 22, 2008

Loren Pease


Loren Pease

Company: Pease Construction

Position: vice president, general manager

Loren Pease, co-owner of Lakewood-based Pease Construction, is a third-generation contractor.

He helped create the company in 1984 after leaving family-owned Pease & Sons to seek out federal small business contracts, mainly for the Army Corps of Engineers at Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base.

“We hired an estimator and project managers, and went to work,” Pease said. “And it’s been going ever since.”

The company is now too big to qualify for small business contracts, but Pease has expanded into commercial, industrial, renovation and design-build work.

‘I’m not totally gruff around the edges. But when I’m doing my job, I’m pretty focused about getting the job done. ’

Renovation of Tinglestad Hall at Pacific Lutheran University garnered the company an AGC award in the tenant improvements category.

Pease, a self-described “avid gardener,” sits on the board of the AGC Education Foundation.

How did you get involved in construction education?

Chris Clark from W.G. Clark gave me a call one day and asked me to serve on the (AGC) board, and part of the things that you do on the board is raise money for the foundation.

I just think you have to give back to your industry, and the construction industry has been very good to me.

What project are you proudest of?

This latest project at PLU. I’m extremely proud of the people in our company that put this together. To pull off this nine-story remodel in nine weeks with all the extra user requests that we had, and some of the detours that we had to go around... Our guys just rolled up their sleeves and did it.

What’s your dream job?

Oh, gosh. I’ve always thought that we would love to work on a hotel lobby in an exquisite, fine hotel that would have a lot of architectural features that have a lot of architectural woodwork, just to show how some of our guys can do such terrific craftsmanship. Of course, I’d like to go visit the job, so it would have to be in kind of a tropical setting.

Is there a misconception people have about the industry?

I think that most people think it’s just all about hammers and nails, and they forget how much business is involved and marketing and relationships.

We develop long-term relationships with our customers and we have a terrific amount of money management that we have to do, and negotiating with the unions and other labor forces. It’s definitely a sophisticated business.

What’s most challenging about your job?

We do mostly hard bid work. Our business model is not to grow at a super rate. We basically want to grow enough to be able to keep our people at the top of the wage scale. We’re not always adding new jobs, so our timing has be very good. So when we’re running low on work — it sounds funny, it’s almost like a mom-and-pop operation, but it isn’t — when our superintendents are getting close to the end, is when we have to start finding new jobs. And so the timing of being able to pick the right job and to get that job is very difficult.

Is there one thing you would change about the industry?

I wish we could get along better with the trades and there wasn’t so much specialty, that maybe there’s a way we could have people be more flexible and do more than just their specialty.

Is there anything about you that would surprise people?

I’m really a pretty nice fellah. I care about other people, and I enjoy other people. But when I’m at work I need to get my work done. I’m not totally gruff around the edges. But when I’m doing my job, I’m pretty focused about getting the job done.

What are you reading?

I have such a full plate that unfortunately all I really read is the Daily Journal of Commerce.

We’ll definitely quote you on that.

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