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Name: Peter Heald.

Company: Cumming.

Title: Chief operations officer.

Revenue – 2010: Approximately $50 million.

No. of employees: More than 225.

Year founded: 1996.

Education: Master’s of Business Administration, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California; Bachelor of Science, Construction Management, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Birthplace: Fallbrook.

Age: 40.

Current residence: Scripps Ranch.

Family: Wife, Mary; son, Tyler; daughter, Kate.

Peter Heald serves as chief operating officer for Cumming, one of the Nation’s top-ranked owner advocate consulting firms. Through Heald’s leadership and Cumming’s unwavering commitment to its core values of client and team member focus, integrity, and quality, Cumming provides successful program and construction management, cost management, estimating and related construction industry consulting services worldwide.


Essential business philosophy: Act with integrity, differentiate by quality, create a team of great people.

Best way to keep a competitive edge: Continuously improve. Hire, train, and support the best people.

Guiding principles: Move forward; make decisions; do what is right; take care of your clients and your people.

Yardsticks of success: The growth through the repeat business of clients shows that our clients are happy with our work and it provides opportunity for our team members.

Goals yet to be achieved: Too many to list. We have a continuous improvement culture and are constantly setting new goals as we meet previous ones.


Best business decision: To put my clients’ interests first. Sometimes this has meant sacrificing profit, but this has always created more business for our company and is creating lasting relationships with our clients.

Worst business decision: Making tough business decisions half-heartedly or delaying execution. It prolongs the pain and even when done with the best intentions, the outcome is never positive.

Toughest business decision: In 2009, due to the economy, we had to lay off some good people because we did not have more work for them. We believe in taking care of our team so that was very difficult.

Biggest missed opportunity: Part of my role at Cumming is to find and acquire great businesses that match our culture. There have been several companies that we have decided not to acquire that, in hindsight, would have been great partners in our company.

Mentor: Jana Turner. She was my boss at CB Richard Ellis and she taught me to surround myself with great people, to innovate, and to fight for what you believe in.

Word that describes you: Idealist.


What you like best about your job: Working with a lot of smart, talented people with a shared culture and mission.

What you like least about your job: The minutiae.

Pet peeves: Lack of accountability. Bureaucracy. Dishonesty.

Most important lesson learned: My dad taught me to never do things half-heartedly. You should always do them right from the beginning. It is always more expensive and time consuming to fix something after the fact.

Person most interested in meeting: I would like to meet Thomas Jefferson because he was a Founding Father of our nation, Albert Einstein because he is a brilliant scientist, and Bill and Melinda Gates because they created the largest philanthropic foundation.

Three greatest passions: My family. My company. My community.

First choice for a new career: None. I love what I do and the team I work with.


Favorite quote: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” I believe it was by W. Edwards Deming; “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” — Winston Churchill. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.” — Aristotle. “Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” — Zig Ziglar.

Favorite restaurant: Currently it is Bernard’O Restaurant.

— Steve Adamek


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