Paul Matt, builder of iconic structures in Southern California, dies at 85

His construction career spanned seven decades. 

July 06, 2017 |

Paul Matt, Chairman of MATT Construction, was involving in more than 450 buildings during a career that lasted 67 years. Image: MATT Construction

Paul Matt, chairman of MATT Construction, a general contracting firm in Newport Beach, Calif., he cofounded in 1991, died peacefully on June 30 at the age of 85. He had been battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Under his leadership, MATT Construction has been involved in the building of numerous projects that have become recognizable landmarks in and around Los Angeles. These include The Petersen Automotive Museum, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, the Skirball Cultural Center, and the restorations of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple the Hollywood Bowl. 

“All of us at MATT take great solace that he lived to see his dream fully realized: building a company of great builders and great people. We will proudly carry on his legacy,” says Steve Matt, Paul Matt’s son and CEO of MATT Construction. Steve Matt is one of three children who survive their father, along with Paul Matt’s second wife Cathy, four brothers, one sister, and 11 grandchildren.

Having earned a structural engineering degree from Oregon Institute of Technology, Matt began his career in construction working as a welder on the Dalles Dam in Oregon. He later became a surveyor for the George A. Fuller Company, and in 1962 was promoted to project superintendent on the construction of the Salk Institute in San Diego, designed by architect Louis Kahn.


Paul Matt at his desk as a project superintendent in the 1960s for George A. Fuller Company. Image: Courtesy MATT Construction.


Prior to launching MATT Construction with his son Steve and brother Alan, Paul Matt was a senior executive and board member with the general contracting firm C.L. Peck.

Matt lived to see his company expand to 250 employees and more than $500 million in annual revenue. His career encompassed more than 450 buildings.

“Twenty years ago when I began working at MATT, I was trying to understand what my role would be,” recalls Marvin Wheat, MATT Construction’s president. “Paul told me ‘You can contribute to growing the company in any way you like as long as you’re not worried about who gets the credit.’ Paul always showed me how powerful it is to be a selfless team player.” 



Paul Matt (left), with brother Alan and son Steve. They cofounded MATT Construction in 1991. Image: MATT Construction.


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