Covered in 1.2 million square feet of imported travertine stone, the Getty Center is a Los Angeles institution. The $1.2 billion project, co-designed by world renowned architect Richard Meier and completed in 1997, is a leading art museum and home to research and conservation institutes. It is well-known for its collections of European paintings, Greek and Roman antiquities, and photographs.

Developer: J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles
Architect: Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP, New York
Contractor: Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Co., San Francisco
Engineer: EnglekirkPartners ConsultingStructural Engineers, Los Angeles

Perched atop a hill overlooking much of Los Angeles, the Getty Center is among the most recognized structures of modern L.A. architecture.

A sprawling compound of concrete, steel and travertine rock, the Getty Center is a world-class museum in a world-class city. But even with the scores of classic paintings and sculptures, the center gets as much attention for its monumental architecture as its art.

Greg Cosko, the 54-year-old chief executive of Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Co., oversaw the contracting of nearly every aspect during the center's construction.

"Really, other than the restaurant silverware, we contracted, managed and supervised just about every physical element of the Getty Center, including the display cases, museum furniture and decorative arts galleries," he said.

Having started with the company in 1975, the $1.2 billion Getty Center project proved to be a major turning point in his career. In 1996, after a half decade of work on the project, Cosko was chosen to lead the entire company.

"The experience of the project was a significant factor in my being appointed president," he said.

A Pasadena native, Cosko now runs the company from its San Francisco headquarters, but comes back to Los Angeles every week. Cosko would not have it any other way. He joined the company out of San Francisco State University in the mid-1970s, lured by its ambitious work across California.

"What drew me to the company was its unique presence both in Los Angeles and San Francisco and its penchant for challenging and unique projects," he said.

Indeed, throughout the years Cosko's firm was involved in one big local project after another, including the Getty Villa in Malibu, Nestle's Glendale headquarters and Amgen's headquarters in Thousand Oaks.

And through these unique projects, both Cosko and his company have had a chance to prove their worth in the field.

"Construction is an entrepreneurial field with tremendous opportunity. You're judged by what you build and how well you build it, you are rewarded commensurate with your efforts and it's an industry that respects experience," he said. "There is an intangible but well-rewarded demand for ingenuity, innovation and integrity."

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