You know the kind of person that when you first meet him/her you immediately want to befriend? One that has a contagious smile and positive disposition? If you’ve ever met our Consulting Resources Group – Director of Planning Studies, you know this exact type! Steffen Turoff, AICP, fits all these categories. You can’t help but want to get to know more about him; check out some of his story in this month’s Walker Headlights.
Q: What’s something many people don’t know about you?
A: That I don’t like to answer questions about myself. Hmm . . . maybe that a job in television production for Japanese shows is what brought me to Los Angeles? I was an Assistant Director (or at least that was my title) on several prime time programs at a very young age.
Q: How many languages do you speak? Which ones?
A: I lived in Japan and worked many years for Japanese companies in L.A., but my Japanese is a little rusty. Living in California, I’ve learned a lot of Spanish and picked up a little Korean and Chinese. Any place I’ve lived/worked where a lot of a different language is spoken, I’ve tried to pick up at least a few words. Also- as my kids have begun to learn to spell, my pig Latin has also gotten better to speak to my wife about where I’ve hidden dessert at home.
A: He was a very smart and kind professor, and since I graduated, he has always been very happy to provide answers and resources. I learned many things from him but overall I have learned from his sincere efforts and desire to help to make things better for people. I will add that I learned from him the importance of questioning the way that things have “always been done” and the importance of communicating complex issues as simply as possible.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?
A: Besides Los Angeles? Culver City. Because it’s surrounded on 3 ½ sides by L.A.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: At the time I saw it, probably Rocky, when I was a kid.
Q: What is your favorite part of living in California?
A: Unfortunately, I think one really starts to take things for granted, but if I stopped doing so, I’d say the weather. Besides the weather, Los Angeles is an interesting place to live.
Q: What’s the most unique client you’ve worked with/for thus far at Walker?
A: This is one of the best parts about the job. All the interesting and unique clients. The most unique? I don’t think I can share that, as it was a very secretive organization.
Q: What are some of your guilty pleasures?
A: Sometimes I take thirty minutes for lunch.
Q: What is your best memory at Walker to date?
A: Probably laughing it up at the end of the day in the office with Rio Lupisan the first few months after we began at Walker. That said, the day I started he said that, as my “senior”, he and the other guys would have to put me through an initiation. Keep in mind he only started six days before I did.
Q: What’s the most interesting part of being the Director of Planning Studies?
A: A former colleague once told me, “Every traffic study is the same, but every parking study is different.” People I work with (and probably clients) are tired of hearing me say that! But the variety of projects is very interesting. And there really is some story behind each one, a community’s story, a business’ story, personal stories, and for a study to be successful, it often has to acknowledge if not address the underlying “story” behind a job.
Q: What’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to?
A: I think rural Japan. It’s a great place to travel. Any place in Japan, city or country, I’d recommend.
Q: What would we find you doing on a typical Saturday night?
A: Asleep on the couch, in my clothes, exhausted from trying to put my kids to bed, who would likely still be jumping on their beds.
Q: What’s your favorite piece of literature?
A: The last report I reviewed. That’s the only one I can remember.
Q: You’re a UCLA Bruin (grad school) and a Cal Golden Bear (undergrad). If both rumbled in the forest, which would come out on top?
A: l love them both. I spent more time at Cal, and more formative years at Cal, so that’s what I’d have to answer – the Golden Bear.
Steffen’s always been a star: (above) in 1993 with a famous Japanese actor, cruisin’ in and parkin’ (VIP-style) a Rolls-Royce Corniche!
Now that you’ve read this and you, too, want to be his pal, say hi to Steffen!