At Perlo, our people are the secret to our success. Whether at a jobsite or in our office, you will find we have a culture that encourages open dialogue and collaboration. This dedication to the spirit of partnership is reflected throughout our company and is a major reason Perlo is consistently recognized as a top place to work in Oregon. In this article, we sit down with one of the biggest proponents of our core values and VP of Business Development, Todd Duwe.
With over 30 years in the construction industry, Todd shares his personal journey and influences, what working for Perlo means to him, and what he sees for the future in construction.
1. What is your role at Perlo?
My primary role is to bring in new construction projects through relationship building, developing strategies, and most importantly, leveraging our greatest resource…our people. Because I ran projects for over 20 years, I’m also able to engage with our project teams and clients to help bridge the gap from initial award to preconstruction.
I’m a big collaborator so project engagement, however minor, allows me to keep a pulse on the core of what our business does. It also helps keep me fulfilled.
2. How did you get started in construction?
2023 is my 30th year in the industry, so this question takes me back a bit. After graduating from Oregon State University, I joined a local architecture firm that specialized in healthcare design. While I was there, I worked up construction documents using AutoCAD, including everything from basic floor plans and building sections to specific details. After two years, I started my construction career with a local general contractor. My first project was the preconstruction and estimation of a seismic upgrade for a large hospital.
With my background in design and ability to efficiently interpret a set of documents, I was given a tremendous amount of responsibility early on. Because of this, I quickly fell in love with the industry.
3. What do you consider to be our most important “Perlo Practice” and why?
I really like Perlo Practice #1, “do what’s right.” In my mind, it is similar to the “Golden Rule” of treating others as one wants to be treated, which is a value my parents instilled in me. It can be applied to many different situations and is an overarching guiding principle that I use every day.
4. How do you see the industry evolving in the near future and what can Perlo do to adapt to these changes?
I believe future changes will revolve around managing supply chain issues, the labor force, and focusing on sustainability. Also, advancements in technology will always have an impact on construction as we’re constantly seeing innovative ways to complete and manage projects. The increased use of more environmentally friendly materials combined with building techniques, such as prefabrication and 3D printing is becoming a significant focus of the industry. We’re beginning to see how important these initiatives are to local jurisdictions and decisions that owners are making.
It takes good leadership to make the right decisions, and Perlo Construction has a leadership team that continuously reviews future trends and strategies to achieve greatness. In addition, we encourage all our people, no matter what position they’re in, to participate in making improvements to our business practices. This kind of “ground up” ingenuity is what will keep Perlo moving forward with innovative strategies and techniques for construction.
5.What is your pet peeve?
I’m a pretty easy-going guy, but if I had to choose something, it would be the lack of someone saying the two simple words: “Thank you”. It sounds so simple and yet it is forgotten far too often. Genuine, sincere appreciation can really help drive your co-workers to greatness. I value a culture of team building, respect, and hard work, and I like to see people appreciated for those efforts.
6. What do you like to do for fun?
My wife and I have three children ranging from a fourth grader to teenager, so we’re pretty busy with sports and school activities. When we get the chance, we like to travel and be active outdoors. Our favorite places to visit are Sunriver and Hawaii. I also love to golf.
7. What or who inspires you?
My wife inspires me. She is a registered nurse at a children’s hospital and takes care of the most critically ill kids and their families. When I think that I have had a bad day, and then listen to the stories she brings home from work . . . well, it puts things into perspective. Let’s just say she keeps me grounded – she is an angel.
8. What advice would you give to someone wanting to enter the construction industry?
Experience matters in construction, so take the time to learn the basics and build a good foundation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn from all the expertise around you. This is an exciting industry with many career avenues to choose from. If you work hard, build relationships, and do the right thing, then this industry will reward you.
9. How do you handle high-pressure situations or heavy workloads?
I am a believer of “cooler heads prevail.” When I was younger, I was part of a volunteer fire department and learned how to work swiftly while staying calm. When in doubt, always focus on the task at hand and do not lose your head.
10. Why Perlo? What makes us unique?
I have found that Perlo is made up of a lot of smart, yet humble, people. Combined with a hard work ethic, we have the ingredients that sustains an extraordinarily strong company as a force in the industry.
In addition to good recruiting and focusing on our core values, we are constantly seeking to better ourselves. For this reason, we will never be satisfied that we’ve found all the answers. It’s the journey that creates a culture of continuous improvement. That hunger is contagious, and when one idea doesn’t quite pan out, it may very well spur an idea from someone else that leads to an even better outcome.
I have appreciated how Perlo is able to communicate lessons learned. It takes being vulnerable to share the mistakes we have all made at one time or another, but we are all better off for it.
We’d like to thank Todd for sharing his thoughts with us about his career, lessons learned, and why the culture at Perlo keeps us highly ranked in the 100 Best companies to Work for in Oregon. If you’ve been considering a career in construction or are looking for a workplace that values your contributions not just to projects, but to the company as a whole, check out our Careers page to view open positions.