Region/SOUTHWEST Q: Who do you consider your toughest competitors?
A: We do have some competition, [but] in a private bid, we do not see them eye to eye. We'll hear about firms such as C.F. Jordan [in San Antonio], but our geography is wide enough that we tend not to face daily competition. [That's why] we don't bid the competition; we bid the project. You don't need to know what the competition is doing—you just need to know what you are doing. You have to get some market attention, but hopefully, with first-time accounts, they see an intrinsic value that makes them want to use TDK.
Q: What significant changes are you experiencing in your markets?
A: The shift in the psyche of construction. Historically, it's been ‘That's the way my daddy did it; that's the way his daddy did it.' That has been hard to overcome, but the influx of Hispanic laborers into our markets, and the Hispanic influence, has taken away a lot of that ‘local flavor.' Still, you are dealing with people where the rubber meets the road out at the apartment complex. Unless some type of robotics takes place, the people skills are still the same.
Q: How do you define your corporate culture?
A: We have focused on the sticks and bricks of multifamily since 1999. Prior to that, we were in the public contract sector, working on institutional-type buildings. As that market grew more competitive, I wanted to focus on developing a repeat client atmosphere. My goal is to make TDK a service company that does construction rather than a construction company that hopefully gives good service.
Q: How do you plan to grow your company?
A: We plan to manage for the future through education. The University of Middle Tennessee has a construction program, and we hired six graduates last year. There was in my life when I was younger and full of piss and vinegar that I needed to know about every deal, but now I am more interested in teaching and training.