By Jeff Light, Vice President Division Operations
This year, the Austin Office celebrates an exciting milestone — our 10th anniversary. Our company has been in business for more than 80 years and has been serving the state of Texas for over 30 years, but, given Austin’s growth and opportunity we decided to open a dedicated office in 2011 to help grow the city’s skyline and commit ourselves to the community. It’s been a wonderful 10 years, with exciting firsts, memorable projects, and rewarding opportunities to give back to the city where we work and live. We’ve narrowed it down and would like to share our Top 10 moments from the last 10 years:
1. Opening the Office
This is the moment that started it all. We started small; I even remember the first trip to Office Depot to stock the office with supplies! It felt like we were back to school shopping and held the same sense of excitement about the future. In fact, I also built the conference room table in my garage. I’m so grateful for the all-in, hands-on way we began our office, it created a strong sense of ownership within our team right from the start.
2. The Big First
Our first project as a dedicated Austin division was The Richardson at Tarrytown, a luxury, boutique-style apartment development in Central Austin. This project was an exciting introduction of our company’s Always in Process building philosophy and SmartBuild® processes to the Austin construction scene. We’re proud of the project we delivered, and this first successful project led to many more opportunities across the city of Austin.
3. Double Up
In just 6 years, we doubled our local team size and project volume. We’re extremely proud of that growth. We made some incredible hires and had some key team members relocate from Houston to Austin, and that helped us hit our stride and double our project volume as well.
4. New Office
With growth, comes the need for more space. In those early years in our first office, we added remote space three different times as our numbers grew. It was a constant shuffle for our team. When we signed the lease on our current office, we finally had enough room for our entire team to work, meet, and host clients. We even self-performed some tenant improvements in the office — repurposing form boards to create some feature elements in the lobby. That’s one of the things I love about our office, our employees have been hands-on in building the office from the beginning.
5. First Lunch Served
Our Austin office has volunteered for the Ronald McDonald House of Central Texas consistently since 2015. It all started with the first lunch we served as part of the House lunch program. Since then, we’ve continued our partnership with the organization by renovating the House kitchen and flooring, updating the on-site playground, and participating in annual fundraising events. The RMHC CTX holds a very special place in our hearts, and we’re so privileged to be able to continue to help them on their mission keeping families and sick children together and taken care of.
6. Diversification and Continued Growth
We were awarded The Loren at Lady Bird Lake project near downtown Austin on the same day we were awarded the Uvalde Memorial Hospital project. This was a great day for our office and highlighted our project teams’ skill and ability to build across all market sectors — from luxury residential to healthcare.
7. A Goal Achieved
When we started the Austin office, one of the goals we set for ourselves was to work on high profile projects with some of the city’s most respected institutions —Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas was certainly on that “someday” goal list. In 2020, Dell Children’s chose our team to build their new bed tower addition. We’re working now to apply our lean construction expertise to deliver the project as fast as possible so our client can expand their ability to serve the children of Central Texas.
8. Tiny Houses, Big Impact
We were so proud to be a part of the first phase of the Community First! Village led by Mobile Loaves & Fishes. Our office dedicated volunteer hours and our own resources to build two “micro-homes” for the development. The development is an incredible and unique resource for men and women experiencing homelessness and we’re so proud to have helped their mission in a small way.
9. ACE Mentorship
Just like we’re proud to have grown our own office, many of our employees are passionate about growing our industry itself. That’s why several people within our office are heavily involved with the ACE Mentorship Program chapter in Austin. The program pairs mentors with students to help inspire and develop young future leaders of industry by providing learning opportunities in architecture, construction, and engineering. It’s an incredible cause that is helping bring new talent to our industry and helping young people here in Austin find new and rewarding career paths.
10. Austin Gives Awards
If I can take a minute to brag on my office, I could probably fill an entire top ten with notable acts of community service. Our office is a company leader in community involvement. We won the peer-nominated Hoar Construction Stewardship award in 2015, and in 2017 our team received the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Austin Gives, Generous Business Award. That award, from the city we call home, means the world to us. We don’t do the community service to get recognized, but it makes us feel like we’re joining the ranks of other service-focused organizations in the great city of Austin who are making a difference in the communities around us.