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Insights it, and I grew up in it. But I didn’t know how well it would more than 100,000 acres of ground, requiring a sizable work for me. I was comfortable as a towboat operator.” land reclamation solution.

But in? uenced by his father and grandfather, as well as “I bought myself a couple small drag lines and excavators several key professional mentors, he eventually was con- and I kind of started like my grandfather did, in the ditch- vinced to start using his brain instead of his brawn. ing business,” said Dutra. “Working with and helping those cotton farmers was a great experience for me, and I learned “Thinking from the shoulders up …” a lot about land reclamation, ditching and building levees.”

In the 1960s Dutra leveraged a small life insurance policy “I’m very passionate about the San Joaquin Valley, the from his grandfather into seed money for a college educa- Sacramento region and the farmers. They trusted me, they tion at Oregon Technical Institute, pursuing a program that gave me my start,” said Dutra. “When the ? oods came a was 50% engineering and 50% business orientated. “It real- lot of livelihoods were wiped out, and they weren’t just a ly encouraged me, and I felt that, maybe one day I can have number or an address; they were my friends, they were my my own business.” A key moment for Dutra after college family, and they were devastated. I put everything I could was the realization that he didn’t want to be a professional into saving their lands and helping them to regroup their engineer, rather a contractor, so he earned his contractor li- livelihoods. That is a phenomenal thing for me, and in cense and went back to work for his father for a short time. reward it grew our company tremendously.”

Shortly thereafter there was a big ? ood in the lower end His engineering education helped out on the practical of the San Joaquin Valley where cotton farmers had lost matters in those early days, but it was the combined business

Dutra derrick barge Paula Lee preforming dredging operations in Port Canaveral. 12 | MN May 2021

Marine News

Marine News is the premier magazine of the North American Inland, coastal and Offshore workboat markets.