Learning to Speak Engineer to Build a $1.5B Arena

8/16 Pratt School of Engineering

Peter Bryan (CE '96) worked with the Golden State Warriors to oversee the construction of their home court at the Chase Center

A man stands with a white hard hat and a neon green safety vest in front of a large multi-armed crane over water
Learning to Speak Engineer to Build a $1.5B Arena

Not everyone gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to oversee the development and construction of an over $1.5 billion project. However, Peter Bryan, a 1996 Duke graduate, is not your average person. 

As the vice president of construction and development, Bryan was tasked with supervising one of the Golden State Warriors most important projects—building the Chase Center, where they play their home games in San Francisco. 

A man in a suitLittle did Bryan know that the Warriors’ home he helped construct would also play host to part of Duke’s run to the Final Four in Coach K’s final season.

“To have been able to enjoy the Western Regional Finals in 2022, which were held at the Chase Center, in Coach K’s last season, and for the team to have won was incredible,” Bryan said. “It was really special to be there in the building that I had helped oversee.”

After graduating from Duke with civil engineering and economics degrees, Bryan first headed to the “Big Apple” to work in finance. He then moved to Washington D.C., doing construction management work for Clark Construction for nearly two decades. The company relocated him to San Francisco in 2004, and in 2016, he accepted the job with the Warriors—managing the development and construction of the arena, the parking and the plaza area. 

“The experience I had with the Chase Center really was a fantastic thing,” Bryan said. “It was a tremendous amount of fun and a testament to the leadership team and execution that they had going at the time.”

However, representing the Warriors as their project manager was no easy job. For five years, Bryan managed the design team and contractors, working closely with and reporting directly to the president, chief operating officer, chief financial officer and owners of the Warriors to ensure their wishes were properly executed. 

“I consider my four years at Duke to be some of the most influential of my life. For me, it was a wonderful experience.”

peter bryan

Not only was the project itself very complicated with many unexpected obstacles, but Bryan said that overseeing development in a place like San Francisco with such an inflexible deadline was also challenging. The dates for future events like concerts and the NBA season were already set in stone, and it was Bryan’s job to make sure the project was successful and finished on time. 

Peter Bryan and other workers on the Chase Center project pose for a picture with the sports desk

Despite the challenges, Bryan is proud of the work he accomplished with the Chase Center and is grateful for the opportunity. 

“It was an amazing experience to be involved with not just a large project like that in an area like San Francisco, but also to work at an organization which was clearly at its peak in its own performance,” Bryan said. 

After the Chase Center opened in September 2019, Bryan stayed with the Warriors for about two years to help close contracts, transition to the operations team and tie up loose ends. The Warriors recommended him to TMG Partners, a real estate development company in the Bay Area, where he currently works and would love to stay until retirement.  

With TMG Partners, Bryan deals with projects involving design and construction as well as supporting acquisition efforts—using all his skills of financing after college, construction management with Clark and working as an owner-developer with the Warriors. 

Although Bryan has never been a practicing engineer, his knowledge as a Duke Engineering graduate has allowed him to better communicate with his engineering teams, given that he understands the overall engineering language and concepts. He is also able to use his problem-solving skills from engineering to analyze the information and problems he’s faced with and effectively find a solution. 

“I consider my four years at Duke to be some of the most influential of my life. For me, it was a wonderful experience,” Bryan said.