To some success comes easy, and to some, it is presented as a long road with many obstacles, upon overcoming which, the final prize is given. It is easy to now look at the final product of Sukut Construction and say that “it was a smooth ride” because, how could it be not? This Southern California Company seems to be blooming and over performing on its projects, its employees are happy, and the number of them is growing each year. They have a 300 plus heavy equipment fleet and employ their own GPS services. They work in five different markets all over the Western Region and are expanding into other parts of the country. Today they are considered one of the biggest heavy civil general engineer contractors in the region. And all this happened in the last 50 years, which is not that long. So the question is, was it really a smooth and easy ride? As Sukut Construction celebrates its 50th anniversary this October, the Company is reflecting onto how it all started and grew into what it is today.
In the summer of 1967, a suggestion of starting their own business was made to Myron Sukut and Dick Coulson. At that time both of them worked together at another company, and an idea of going out on their own might have seemed risky to some, but Sukut and Coulson decided to take on this gamble and started their own company, Sukut-Coulson, Inc. in the fall of 1968. It was a twoman organization that worked on small residential projects, and most of the work was done on the weekends as men hired to do the projects had weekday jobs. Sukut-Coulson soon struck the pot of gold and landed a public works job for the Los Angeles School District. That job involved building an access road and required a job foreman, which Sukut-Coulson hasn’t employed before. The rest is history, as the Company took off and began to grow. Both founders were working on various residential and public jobs, and as they approached the 1970’s the housing boom helped sustain and expand their business. However, after two years, Coulson made a decision to leave the Company, and in 1974 it was renamed Sukut Construction, Inc. and Sukut became the CEO and President.
In 1980 Sukut Construction moved to its current corporate office on Chandler Avenue in Santa Ana, CA. That same year, Michael Crawford, Sukut’s current CEO, joined the Company as a six-month engineering intern. He quickly realized the value and difference behind Sukut Construction and never left. Throughout the years, Crawford worked as a project engineer, an estimator, a project manager, a superintendent, and then vice president, before becoming president at the end of the decade, and later CEO.
As the 1980’s unfolded, the Company continued growing its size and the range of its expertize, and began expanding across the Western region. Some of the more notable projects of that period included the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, major sections of I-15 Freeway in the Inland Empire, and infrastructure for the City of Santa Margarita. Sukut also applied its earthmoving expertise on several world-class golf courses and resorts including Pelican Hill and Aviara; and its slope stabilization engineering expertise to complicated, hillside projects in La Jolla.
With 1990’s came new opportunities and Sukut Construction welcomed them. At that time, the Company generated about $30 million in annual revenue, but in 1994, Sukut became one of the four joint venture partners on the Eastern Corridor 241-261 Toll Road project, valued at $697 million. The design-build project included grading and construction of a six-lane highway, 26 miles long. The scope involved moving 67 million cubic yards of earth through the rugged Santa Ana Mountains, including 15 million cubic yards of rock. Earthwork excavation included cuts in excess of 300 feet and 400 feet deep fills, the movement of dirt for 72 bridges, the construction of 102 structures including 82,000 cubic yards of drainage concrete, and 213,000 linear feet of storm drain pipe. This work also included hundreds of utility relocations. The project was completed under budget and approximately one year ahead of schedule resulting in it being the one of the most successful design-build transportation projects in Southern California, earning numerous national industry awards. Upon its completion, hundreds of clients and employees celebrated Sukut’s 30 years of earthmoving excellence with festivities on the Toll Road, prior to its opening.
Some say that the Toll Road was the very project that put Sukut Construction on the map. The 1990’s was a great decade for Sukut. Not only did they complete the largest project of that time successfully and early, but they also received over 20 industry awards for their expertise and safety on other projects throughout the Western region.
As the world entered the new millennia, so did Sukut. The new frontier brought the Company more opportunities, growth, and recognition. In 2000, Sukut was named the Contractor of the Year by the Southern California Contractors Association and one of the “Best Companies to Work for in 2000” by OC Metro magazine. In 2001, Sukut focused on infrastructure, landfill expansions, and waste water construction. By 2002, Sukut had experienced exponential growth in revenues, and its staff had grown to 300. At this time, the Company also assumed a role of environmental steward and upgraded its equipment fleet with high-tech, computerized, emission-reduction engines and had also entered a long-term contract with the State of California Integrated Waste Management Board to eliminate illegal landfills and waste tire sites. In 2005, Sukut launched its Environmental Division that focuses on landfill construction, landfill closures and environmental clean ups after natural disasters, such as fires.
It was during that time that Steve Yurosek, Sukut’s current President, joined the Company. He had worked for a competitor in the Los Angeles area, but after they were forced to close their doors in 2004, Crawford extended an offer to Yurosek to come aboard. Yurosek brought his own expertise and opened an office in Los Angeles as Sukut was looking for new opportunities with the customers in that area. Eventually, Yurosek was appointed to oversee Sukut’s residential grading market that was responsible for $100 million in yearly revenue and the Company was restructured to be centralized in one location, Santa Ana, Ca. In 2017 Yurosek was named the Company’s President, and Crawford assumed the role of CEO.
In 2012, Sukut expanded into Alternative Energy works by building solar and wind farms in the California deserts, as well as taking on projects in Nevada and Virginia. Sukut Construction also welcomed another challenge that has lasted for over seven years and is nearly complete. This challenge was none other than a large dam located in Northern California, Calaveras Dam. This was a joint venture project, and Sukut was one of the three partners. Crawford later referred to this project as the most difficult job yet. Nonetheless, the Calaveras Dam Replacement project has been a highly successful project.
Today, Sukut Construction is one of the leading heavy civil engineering general contractors in the Western region, and they are continuing to grow by expanding geographically by opening a new office in Pleasanton, CA, as well as undertaking projects in other states. They are venturing out into new areas of expertise and being recognized for their services on more projects. They are also a home to over 660 people who enjoy coming to work every day because 50 years ago two individuals decided to take a risk and establish a company that today prides itself on the way it treats employees as its valuable assets. Sukut is also a base to many relationships that its employees built with their clients and vendors, who have greatly contributed to the Company’s success and longevity.
It was a long road to where Sukut is now, and few would consider it a smooth ride, but everyone can agree that none of this would have been accomplished without integrity, commitment, willingness to go an extra mile, appreciation, and teamwork on behalf of everyone involved.