Brutoco Engineering and Construction Inc.

Motorists and bus commuters in the greater Los Angeles area soon will have one construction firm to thank for a smoother, faster ride – Brutoco Engineering and Construction. The company is now working on two major infrastructure projects in the Los Angeles area, the latest in a long list of projects completed in its 43-year history.

Brothers Albert and Leonard Brutoco founded the company in 1967 in Concord, Calif. After one year in Northern California, and a small office in Covina, Calif., the company moved to its current seven-acre site in Fontana in 1981. A major transition came in 1996, when the company switched from being family owned to implementing an employee stock ownership program. 

Brutoco is more than just a highway contractor; the company prides itself on also offering mechanical/plant and building construction services. “We’ve been able to diversify and adapt to a changing market over the last eight or 10 years,” President Mike Murphy says. “Our competitors are either highway, mechanical and plant or building [focused, but] not necessarily all three.”

The company works with public and private clients, but expects a large shift this year toward public work. 

Like many other construction firms, Brutoco Engineering and Construction dealt with a tough 2009 fiscal year. The company’s revenues decreased by more than 30 percent, forcing a staff reduction. In addition, the company had to reduce purchasing costs and sold old equipment it no longer needed, it says.

“We are just becoming leaner and meaner on the projects we have,” Murphy explains. “Our revenue was down [in 2009], but it did not just disappear.”

From Roads to Water

Brutoco’s future is looking bright in part because of a few high-profile projects. The company is about to complete a demonstration facility to convert seawater into fresh water for the West Basin Municipal Water District in Redondo Beach, Calif.

The $8.8 million project includes demolishing equipment and materials at an existing pump station and installing new filtration equipment and piping systems. The project started in October 2009 and is expected to conclude this fall.

In February, Brutoco landed an $83 million contract to extend the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Orange Line bus route. The project is expected to take two years to complete.

The expansion, which began in March 2010, will encompass the construction of four miles of dedicated bus lanes and includes construction of three bridges, four new stations, intersection improvements, a bikeway and pedestrian path, parking, and landscaping.

The project utilizes a design/build project delivery method. Brutoco will provide the final design of the busway and two of the bridges in addition to serving as general contractor. “This is a tremendous growth opportunity for [the company] and its employees,” Murphy says. “We look forward to successfully delivering this project to Metro, as we have for past Metro projects.”

Work is expected to finish later this year on a $40.8 million widening of a 4.5-mile stretch of California State Route 91, which is being fully funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 

The project is the largest stimulus-funded project in Orange County, according to Caltrans. “(SR 91) is one of the busier freeways in southern California,” Murphy says. 

Dedication to People

The company takes pride in more than just its construction projects. It also works frequently with education institutions and charities.

Brutoco sponsors events and provides guest lecturers for civil engineering and construction management classes at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif. The company also hires three or four summer interns from Cal Poly Pomona and other colleges to work in its estimating department as well as in the field, Murphy says. Brutoco’s charitable work for the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society in particular has earned accolades, including the 2009 Corporate Luminary Award from the Southern California Chapter. The company has donated time, money and trucking services to assist the society’s fundraising efforts such as the annual MS Walk, Murphy says.

“As an organization, we’re heavily involved in MS Society because we have several employees and their families who’ve suffered with [the disease],” he adds.

Training In-House

Internally, Brutoco seeks to develop future leaders through several training programs, including a management training program that mixes veteran managers with younger employees for an 18-month period. This is meant to prepare the up-and-comers for future promotions, the company says.

Brutoco also places a large emphasis on employee safety by maintaining an extensive health and safety program and an internal safety committee that drives continuous improvement within the organization. 

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