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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Tracy Hart


Tarlton Corporation

Location: St. Louis, MO

Founded: 1946

Industry: Construction

Tracy Hart worked for another construction company for five years before choosing to come back to her native St. Louis and join Tarlton Corporation, hoping to rebuild some strained client relationships at the company.

In 1999, she was named president of Tarlton and continued her mission to deliver “excellent client service,” the company said. Since then, Tarlton has tripled in size, and, as evidence of that improved service, 80% of the company’s business is from repeat clients.

“Successful leaders today must be able to think strategically, be decisive and pivot quickly. It’s critical that a leader be a strong communicator with a high level of emotional intelligence,” she said. “This includes having empathy and a genuine concern for others; advocating for the greater good; having awareness of one’s own strengths, weaknesses and blind spots; accepting responsibility for mistakes and allowing others to fail without fear; and accepting change as a driving force.”

Tarlton is a general contractor and construction manager, building throughout the Midwest in the commercial, industrial and institutional markets. The company is a privately owned, WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise.

Hart also serves as president and CEO of Tarlton’s subsidiary, Waterhout Construction, a carpentry contractor. At Tarlton, Hart has climbed the ladder after serving in various roles since 1990, including project engineer, client service representative, client service and quality, assistant secretary to the corporation, vice president and eventually president.

Tarlton has more than quadrupled in size under Hart’s leadership and also made its first acquisition, purchasing Waterhout Construction Company in 2019. Women make up a larger percentage of Tarlton’s office and field staff than the industry average, and Hart continues to mentor future leaders, including project engineers, project managers, directors and company vice presidents.

“Successful leaders are positive, inquisitive and creative. They show others the way through how they regulate their own emotions, treat people, negotiate challenges, and embrace all life offers us,” she said.

Hart has an extensive list of service, offices held and other honors. Those include Greater St. Louis, Inc. fiduciary board member, vice chair of The Muny, chair of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, St. Louis Children’s Hospital board member, lead independent director for Midwest Bank Centre, ONE Gas board member, and life director for the Associated General Contractors of America.

Hart was the first woman elected to chair the Associated General Contractors of St. Louis (now AGC of Missouri) and the first woman to be named chairperson of the AGC National Quality in Construction Committee. She received the AGC of St. Louis Chair of the Year Award; St. Louis Impact Award from Park Central Development Board; St. Louis Business Journal 25 Most Influential Business Women; St. Louis Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award; St. Louis Trailblazer Award from the University of Missouri-St. Louis; Women of Distinction Award from Missouri Athletic Club; and the Coro Leadership Award.

Presented by:

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Did you know?

Tracy has an absurd love of the University of Michigan, her alma mater. She travels to Ann Arbor at least once a year for a football game and has been invited by the College of LSA to share her story and experiences with students. One autumn when she was scheduled to be on the UM campus and her older son was a student there, he was surprised to see his mom’s life-size image plastered all over posters in the Diag (central campus) and on the sides of buses in Ann Arbor. Tracy was embarrassed, but her tight-knit group of college friends got a big kick out of it.


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