San Diego Business Journal

While a college student, Mike Jensen did a six-month internship as a construction cost consultant. From there a career bloomed, and he never turned his attention elsewhere.

"I'm good with numbers. I guess it was just providence," he says.

As the San Diego-based chief executive officer heading the cost management division of Cumming, LLC, which has its headquarters office in Orange County, one of his primary goals is to grow the company. With 60 employees in offices in Mission Viejo, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Denver and Las Vegas, its newest operation, there are 25 people stationed in the local office. Cost management comprises about 75 percent of revenue, while the remainder comes from project management.

Some of the more notable projects he's been involved with recently include the proposed 1,200-room Hilton San Diego Convention Center Hotel, as well as a hotel that could have up to 2,000 rooms and a 400,000-square-foot convention center proposed by Gaylord Entertainment for Chula Vista's bay front.

RESUME

Job title and company name: Chief executive officer of cost management for Cumming, LLC.

Education: Bachelor of Science, California Poly San Luis Obispo.

Birthplace and date: Van Nuys, April 22, 1963.

Residence: Escondido.

Family: Wife, Angela; children, Gabrielle, 13, Cambria, 10 and Trevor, 6.

BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

Essential business philosophy: We strive to add value to clients' projects by being proactive cost managers. We see our job as much more than just reporting what things cost. We also provide solutions to help meet budgetary perimeters.

Best way to keep a competitive edge: Hire and retain good people and let them do their jobs.

Goals yet to be achieved: Expanding the company by opening new offices in Hawaii and Orlando, Fla.

JUDGMENT CALLS

Best career decision: Joining Finlay Cumming who founded Cumming, LLC on faith and a handshake in 1998.

Toughest management task: The constant challenge we face, especially as we grow, is coordinating human resources to efficiently handle our fluctuating and increasing workload.

Missed opportunity: I can't think of any, honestly.

Mentor: Finlay Cumming

I've been told I'm: Determined.

TRUE CONFESSIONS

What I like best about my work: The people I work with and our clients.

What I like least about my work: The amount of travel it requires and the time that takes away from my family.

Pet peeve: Cluttered workspaces.

Person I'd most like to meet: George W. Bush.

Most-respected competitor: British-based Hanscomb Faithful & Gould, a construction consultant that has a worldwide presence.

Greatest passions: Coaching and watching my kids play youth soccer, as well as mountain biking and the online game, Fantasy Football.

If I had it to do all over I'd: Be a real estate developer.

What I'd be doing if I weren't doing this: I almost became an attorney, so if I'd not stuck with this, I'd probably be practicing construction law by now.

PREDILECTIONS

Favorite quote: "There are no secrets to success. Success is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from your failures," , Colin Powell.

Favorite author: John Irving, author of the "Cider House Rules," and other books.

Favorite status symbol: My dual suspension specialized brand mountain bike.

Favorite vacation spot: Mammoth Mountain, summer and winter.

If I could own any mode of transportation in the world it would be: A Lear jet.