Peter J. Davoren
Peter J. Davoren is President and Chief Executive Officer of Turner Construction Company. Peter joined Turner in 1978 and has held a wide variety of assignments in the delivery of the company’s work. Peter was named as Vice President of the company in 1995 and Senior Vice President in 2000. Peter was appointed President of Turner Construction Company in 2003 and Chief Executive Officer of The Turner Corporation in 2007.
Under Peter’s leadership, Turner has expanded its North-America operations into Canada and Mexico and has increased its presence in Asia, India and Europe. The company is consistently ranked as a leader in a wide variety of building categories including sports, healthcare, commercial offices, government, education and entertainment. In addition, Turner has earned recognition as the leader in the delivery of green building projects and for the utilization of Building Information Modeling tools. The company has also been recognized for its supplier diversity program and as one of the top 50 organizations dedicated to developing multicultural business opportunities.
Peter is driving the adoption of a lean culture in the company in order to create and sustain a positive environment for our employees and partners, and to deliver better value to our customers.
Peter is active in industry groups and organizations. He serves as a Director of the Contractors’ Association of Greater New York (CAGNY) and Vice Chairman of the ACE Mentor Program. He is also a member of the Business Roundtable, the Columbia Engineering Board of Visitors and was named one of the 100 CEO Leaders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) by STEMconnector.
Turner Construction Company is a North-America-based, international construction services company and the largest builder in the United States. With more than 5,500 employees and an annual construction volume of $10.5 billion, Turner ranks first or second in most major market segments including green building, education, healthcare, manufacturing, sports, commercial and transportation construction.
One important way to is to connect with students early, and then stay connected. We recognize that the relationships we build with young kids can sow the seeds of a lifelong love of engineering and construction. But those seeds also have to be nurtured along the way. Turner sponsors and participates in initiatives, at both the local and national levels, with students of all ages, which take us into classrooms from kindergarten to college. And we offer a variety of scholarships and internships that bring high school and college students into our offices and onto our jobsites.
We believe in leadership by example. When our people go into a school, they bring a range of backgrounds and experiences. They discuss and model teamwork and collaboration, diversity and inclusion, passion for the work we do, and a spirit of continuous improvement.
We’re concerned not only with our own talent pipeline, but with the industry’s.
The most qualified job candidates possess more than classroom experience. They leave college and enter the workforce having gained hands-on exposure to their chosen fields through enriching internships. Turner places a high value on internship experience. And through our own internship and co-op program, we strive to identify future leaders for our company.
Beyond the work we do in schools, we hire 400 to 500 summer interns each year. The internship is much more than merely a summer job. It’s a professional and educational process that helps to prepare students for a successful transition to a challenging and rewarding career. It’s also a chance for Turner to see students in action, matching the talents and interests of students to the emerging needs of our business. The ideal Turner internship candidate is a student majoring in Engineering, Construction Management, Safety, Architectural Studies, Finance, Accounting or Human Resources. Many of the 400 full-time people we hire each year begin as interns.
For example, in New York City, we offer several scholarship/internships each year to a diverse group of local high school students. Once they have been selected, we offer them summer internships as long as they’re in school and usually extend an offer of full-time employment when they graduate. It’s a comprehensive way of engaging with them—we support their classroom education and we participate in their practical education, which means they’re well versed in Turner’s policies and culture by the time they come on board.
I think we can do more to communicate with students of all ages the breadth and depth of the impact STEM professionals and companies have on our society. As technology plays an increasingly large role in our lives, nearly every business in every industry needs the skills taught in STEM fields.
Take the construction industry as an example. The work we do poses unique challenges that call for unique solutions—the kinds of solutions that need a strong talent pipeline, now more than ever. Business standards and norms are changing and there is a tremendous drive to build better, more efficiently, and more sustainably. It’s an exciting time to start a career in engineering or construction management because there are so many opportunities to innovate, contribute, and make a difference.
One way we can support STEM students and prepare them to enter STEM industries is to establish university-industry partnerships. I would love to see more schools, colleges, and universities reach out to the business community and vice versa. A collaboration between research, education, and industry can drive economic development in local communities and create a workforce prepared to address the challenges we face today.
In addition to helping students make the conceptual journey from what they’re studying in class to what companies like Turner are doing in the real world, partnerships, collaborations and exchange programs between STEM companies and schools help students establish relationships with local business leaders and potential mentors, learn valuable professional skills, and make informed decisions about their futures in STEM.
And, from a business perspective, these professional and educational experiences prepare students to succeed in their careers beginning on day one. They also give companies a chance to coach and observe future leaders in action, allowing them to see how potential hires use their talents and bright minds to serve the emerging needs of our complex business.