Vice President, Business Development

John Assunto

I always knew I wanted to build, from watching the skyscrapers of oil firms go up in Houston as a kid. I want part of my legacy to be something physical I can leave behind. The joy and satisfaction is in the tangible structure left at the end of all the hard work.

My first job was selling door-to-door – I was eleven years old. My friend and I surveyed people on whether they would use a home delivery service for groceries. We made 25 cents for every survey.

When I was a young engineer I thought having great technical skills was the key to success; understanding how a building goes together, the schedule, the coordination of the MEP systems. As I moved up in my career, I very quickly realized that nearly everyone in our business has these hard skills. It’s the soft skills that really set you apart.

Those who know me would describe me as outgoing, passionate and genuine.

I’m most proud of what I overcame in my childhood to achieve what I have. I was raised by a single mom and grew up with a lot of obstacles. I remember sleeping in the kitchen of our small apartment in Texas. My mom taught me perseverance, hard work, sacrifice and the value of education. Watching her succeed helped me define success.

You can be good at anything if you try hard enough.

I love that we as builders get to know a client’s business from the inside out. Form truly follows function. In my career I have learned how a hospital ER operates, how a prison is like a city, how Google attracts top tech talent, the list goes on and on…

My favorite accomplishment was being an integral component of the Human Genome Sequencing project. We worked side-by-side with the world’s premier scientist on this world-changing endeavor, on a wildly aggressive timeline. We ensured that this critical information was in the right hands, to help achieve the science discoveries that we need as a human race, and that the information was not used in a harmful way. Our client’s business is our business.

A great leader is a mentor, who surrounds themselves with those that are better at specific functions, and lets them do what they are best at, inspiring them along the way.

I love the energy of the San Francisco Bay Area. We are in a historic moment in time, with the best economy, the best growth, innovation, and gutsy real estate calls to meet business needs that lead to great projects. It is right here, right now.

I’ve learned that you can always be better at building relationships. This skill is infinite.

I value open, honest communication. It’s the number one characteristic that leads to success in anything in life.

What I most look forward to is spending time with family and friends. I enjoy being active and playing sports with my three sons. In 2016 I took them to their first Texas v. Oklahoma football game – one of my favorite events of the year.

Nature versus nurture, the age-old question. Like most things in life, it’s a combination. There is definitely something in great leaders from the beginning, but better leaders develop from being around other great leaders.

I’ve had the benefit of working with great teachers in my career. Some were best at leading a team, some working with clients, and some at sales. Our business is about people and great communication.

I respect this wisdom: “The single most important thing is to take care of your team. You take care of your team and they will take care of your clients, your business, your mission and your success.”

I used to say I loved building great buildings…then later I would say, I love building great project teams…now, I like to build great careers for those I mentor.

This is an unprecedented time in the Bay Area, in construction and at Truebeck. Our biggest opportunity is growing the careers of our team members.

Do what makes you happy, what you are passionate about, and everything takes care of itself.