Howard S. Turner, Former President and Chief Executive Officer of Turner Construction Company, Dies at the Age of 100
NEW YORK, May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Howard Turner, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Turner Construction Company, died on April 24th, 2012 at the age of 100.
Born in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania in 1911, Howard Turner was the nephew of Turner Construction Company's founder, Henry C. Turner who launched the company 110 years ago on May 6, 1902. He graduated from Swarthmore College in 1933. He completed a doctorate in organic chemistry and chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1936, during which time he married Katharine (Kay) Swett, to whom he remained married until her death in 2003.
Upon graduation, Howard joined the DuPont Corporation as a research chemist, developing both military and civilian uses for a new synthetic material called Nylon. He joined Pittsburgh Consolidation Coal Company in 1946, and led their new research and development division until 1954, when he moved to Jones & Laughlin Steel Company to serve as Vice President of research and development.
Howard joined the Board of Directors of Turner Construction Company in 1952 and in 1965, was selected to serve as President of Turner Construction Company. He served as President and Chief Executive Officer from 1968 to 1971 when he stepped down, and became Chairman of the Board from 1971 to 1978. From 1978 to 1982, he served as Chairman of the Executive Committee.
Under his leadership, the company grew from seven to twenty offices in cities across the United States, formalized its community affairs program, and established the Turner School of Construction Management for minorities and women. During this time the company also launched its international division with operations in four countries. During Howard's tenure, the company's sales grew from $591 million in 1965 to $1.7 billion by 1978.
On the occasion of Howard's retirement from Turner, he said, "To lead this company, itself a leader among builders, has been an honor and an exciting opportunity for which I am most grateful. Turner has always been known for its depth of talent, regularly fed from the best of each year's college graduates. The company's growth will, as in the past, be based on the character and high standards of the Turner staff, its commitment to serve its clients and the satisfaction all Turner people feel in making a contribution to building lasting monuments of our civilization."
Howard was active outside his responsibilities as the leader of Turner Construction Company. He served as a director of GAF, Teacher's Insurance and Annuity Assoc., Ingersoll Rand, ASARCO, Dime Savings Bank of New York, and Jones and Laughlin. He was a trustee of the Wistar Research Institute, Swarthmore College, Rockefeller Institute, and Washington College. At the request of various administrations, he was a member of technical advisory committees for the Department of Commerce and the Post Office. He served on President Nixon's Science Advisory Committee until it was dissolved when the members disagreed with the President in testimony before Congress. In 1966, under President Johnson, he traveled with a delegation to Vietnam to assemble a report on developing health, education, and agriculture. He was elected to membership of the National Academy of Engineering in 1973, one of the proudest achievements of his remarkable career. Always humble about his scientific abilities, Howard saw his greatest contribution as the ability to connect research with application.
He is survived by his three daughters, Susan Turner, a social worker of Boston, Holly Turner, a lawyer, (Don Carmichael) of Edmonton, Canada and Barbara Jean Turner, a physician-researcher, (Francisco Gonzalez-Scarano) of San Antonio, formerly of Wallingford and a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
SOURCE Turner Construction Company