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A Day in the Life: 24 Hours With Construction Management President Dean Petersen

Title: Division President, Hughes Marino CM

Career Accomplishments to Date: Dean has more than 35 years of construction and project management experience. He has been responsible for the management of over 5 million square feet of construction projects valued in excess of $250 million.

Fun Fact About Dean: Married for 32 years to Jane Petersen, Dean and his wife met in junior high school back in Iowa, and are proud parents of an adult son and daughter. They’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first grandchild this spring.

Dean Petersen and his family
The Petersen clan

An Iowa native, Dean Petersen moved to Southern California in 1985, and has been immersed in the California construction industry ever since. Dean has worked alongside Hughes Marino CEO Jason Hughes for years, and in early 2015 was named president of Hughes Marino’s Construction Management division.

Dean’s days start early and his evenings run late. He is constantly on the go, logging long hours on work days so that he can enjoy weekends with Jane who travels four days a week. Here’s a look at a typical day in the life of Hughes Marino’s busy construction management guru.

5:00 am: Dean’s weekdays begin before sunrise, when he is up feeding and playing with his 10 lb. poodle and 35 lb. Australian Queensland Heeler. “My wife Jane is a doctor of audiology, and travels Monday through Thursday to visit clients, so during the week it’s just me and the dogs,” Dean says.

Because he logs a lot of road time, he typically spends the early morning hours working from his home office. “I have a lot of onsite meetings with contractors, tenants, architects, and designers so I’ll often work from home until 8:30 am or so before heading out to meetings, which may be in San Diego in the morning and Irvine in the afternoon.”

9:00 am-10:30 am: Dean can usually be found at a project site, where he may be meeting in a construction trailer or doing a walk-through with a contractor. “I’m a builder at heart. I love carpentry, and I love to be on job sites,” Dean says. Fortunately for him, an admitted “trucks and boots” kind of guy, Dean still has plenty of opportunities to get his boots dirty onsite, even while balancing the load of managing Hughes Marino’s growing CM team.

11:00 am: Depending on the day, Dean is either at another job site, or has gone into the Hughes Marino office to answer emails and troubleshoot problems that may have arisen, which he says he enjoys.

“I love the challenge of being up against a deadline, where someone is saying that a project can’t get done on time or that it will cost too much,” he explains. “My job requires me to determine how we can flip things around to ensure that the project does get completed on time, and within the budget, no matter what obstacles arise,” he explains. “I love problem solving.”

12:00 pm: Dean admits that he often eats lunch in his truck while traveling between appointments. He may be on his way to meet with a client regarding a potential project, or with a broker from Hughes Marino’s tenant representation team to consult on a client’s remodel or expansion project.

On occasion he’ll commute to a meeting on the Harley Davidson motorcycle that he bought himself for his 40th birthday. “I love riding my Harley, and the great ‘bad boy’ feeling that goes along with it” he says with a laugh. “But if I’m riding from San Diego to Orange County I miss out on an hour and a half of communication time each way, so it’s not the best work transportation.”

Dean with his wife Jane and his Harley Davidson
Jane and Dean with his Harley Davidson

1:30 pm: While all the time spent traveling to meetings might stress out anyone else, Dean says it’s more than worth it. “I love to talk to people, and I love to meet new people. I’m fortunate to get to meet tons of really interesting people from all kinds of industries – our clients of course, but also contractors, designers and architects. And I get to build relationships with all of them.”

His afternoons are often spent walking buildings with Hughes Marino brokers and clients, helping them estimate the costs of expanding their offices, versus moving into new spaces. “I support the brokers by providing costs and timelines for various tenant improvement or ground-up projects.”

Dean works long days during the week so he can make the most of his weekends
Dean works long days during the week so he can kick back and Enjoy the Journey on weekends.

3:00 pm-6:00 pm: Dean heads back to the office where he spends his late afternoons on conference calls, reviewing budgets, confirming progress on projects and updating statuses with clients.

6:30 pm: Dean is back home feeding the dogs and making dinner during the week. On Thursdays when Jane returns from traveling, the two begin planning their weekend.

“Twice a month we head out to the Colorado River just north of Yuma, where we keep our trailer and boat. We take the dogs with us, and we get a chance to disconnect from work, and spend time in the sun, fishing, reading and relaxing,” he says.

On occasion, he has convinced Jane to join him on a motorcycle trip for a few days to Colorado or New Mexico. And at least once a year the busy couple will venture to a far-flung destination such as Bora Bora where they can “punch out, and turn off the phones.”

However, Dean can’t hide his excitement that his weekends with Jane are about to change soon, as they eagerly await the birth of their first grandchild in a few months. “Then we’re going to be focused on baby time,” he says with a smile.



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