This article originally appeared in the Dallas Business Journal.

The decision to open a North Texas office for Birmingham-based Hoar Construction was organic – a culmination of capitalizing on employees that already live in the area, additional avenues to work with existing clients and subcontractors and opportunities galore thanks to the region’s population and development boom.

“This is almost the exact same playbook we used in Austin 10 years ago. Our current leader in Austin worked for us and had moved to Austin and wanted to come back. Ultimately, the way that we got him back is we told him he could stay in Austin,” said M.C. Mercer in an interview.

“Our Austin office is crazy – it’s win after win after win for them. They’re blowing up. It’s interesting to note that because that’s exactly what we’re doing here.”

A Georgia native, Mercer has been tapped to lead as the preconstruction executive for the contractor’s North Texas office, located in McKinney. In addition to Austin, Hoar has an existing office in Houston.

“We didn’t start this office because we landed a big project in Dallas-Fort Worth. We started the office strategically with the intention to grow it methodically by bringing the right people here and pursuing the right clients,” said Mercer.

He spoke more about what Hoar plans to focus on in North Texas and more in the interview that follows.

What is the firm seeing that has you taking the plunge to open a North Texas office?

Anybody in the industry would tell you that construction is booming in North Texas. The statistics back that up. I’ll be the first to tell you that we don’t want to pursue everything under the sun here. We’re experts in construction, but that doesn’t mean we want to build for every client and every possible project out there. We focus more on the relationship aspect of pursuits. Our goal is repeat clients. Finding clients that share similar core values has always been a success factor for us. 

If you look at all the activity in DFW, it’s across the board. With our Texas resume, our main verticals are health care, high rise, multifamily, office, commercial and then industrial. We would also like to get into higher ed here. There are a lot of universities in DFW, and we’re doing a lot of work for Abilene Christian and Texas A&M on some of their campuses. 

Health care is probably our highest revenue right now in Texas if you look at a pie chart. It’s where we’re working, so it makes sense to pursue that in Dallas-Fort Worth, and we have the people with the resumes for that right now.

Are you in hiring mode or do you expect you will have folks transfer from other offices?

It will be a little bit of both. One of the reasons that we decided to make this move into North Texas is because we had people that had moved to the area during Covid with work-from-home. It was organic. The people in the area are not necessarily working on projects here today, but ultimately the plan is that they will be. 

We will probably end up having some people from within the organization that we either bring on board out of a necessity or out of their personal preferences. Another part of opening this office is it gives our people the opportunity for growth. We have two offices in Texas, and there are avenues for everyone to grow within those, but if you open a third, it creates that many more opportunities.

We will be looking to the outside to bring in new talent as needed, and we’ll be doing that a little bit more than maybe some of our other offices because we’re starting from scratch. The second we get that phone call from a client saying we’ve been awarded a $50 million job, it’s time to put together the team, and we’ll definitely be in the market searching for top talent.