All About Relationships
RECONN Construction Services builds more than its projects
According to Vice President Mark Plott, RECONN Construction Services (RECONN) was built on relationships, and that is how it continues to thrive. President Matt Sanford, Principal Jason Tolliver and Plott met in 2005 while working for another general contractor. Their relationship grew, and eventually they wanted to build a business of their own.
In 2011, the three established RECONN. Based in League City, Texas, the company specializes in retail, commercial and industrial construction and also performs ground-up, remodel and tenant finish projects. RECONN is licensed in every state in the U.S., as well as Puerto Rico, and consistently works in 12 to 15 states per year.
Plott says, “We are very proud of our team’s building experience and success. We build projects, but more importantly, we build relationships. That is what leads to the next project.”
In addition to its focus on relationships, Plott says RECONN’s success can be attributed to its attention to detail, the ability to stay on schedule while maintaining quality and its flexibility to change and adapt with the markets.
Building for Growth
RECONN’s projects have varied greatly in size depending on its customers’ needs. The company’s client list includes Circle K, Forever 21, Public Storage, CubeSmart, R+L Carriers, Levi’s, Tesla and Baytown Self Storage Center, to name a few.
The company acquired Tesla as a client last year, which typically involves jobs converting older existing buildings into dealerships. “These are hard, competitive bids, and getting one is a task within itself,” Plott says. “But these are cool projects, and they move very fast.” RECONN has completed Tesla dealerships in Boise, Idaho, and Fort Worth, Texas, with one underway in Austin.
Plott is perhaps most proud, for sentimental reasons, of a project where he got to help a high school classmate. In 1992, the two enlisted in the U.S. Navy together, then went their separate ways with Plott being stationed in San Diego and his buddy in Japan. Four years ago, the two reconnected when the friend approached Plott about building a retail store. Plott says, “By helping him work through his contracts, he was able to save a substantial amount of money on the build, and today his business is thriving with three stores.”
The Devil is in the Dirt
According to Plott, there are always challenges in construction. He says, “Every day you’ll run into something that will make you scratch your head.”
One such project that presented challenges is also RECONN’s biggest project to date, an 18-acre, $8.5 million expansion for the R+L Carriers trucking company. RECONN was tasked with adding maintenance buildings, terminals, 7,000 square feet of office space and 500,000 square feet of parking to the existing facility.
Plott says, “The work itself is not the challenge. It’s the unknown, and our biggest risk with that is the dirt. The geotechnical engineers do what they can, but they only look at a sampling of the dirt we’re working with, not the whole picture.”
During construction of the R+L Carriers project, crews ran into an old fill site from when the facility was originally developed 30 years prior. In order to use that land in expansion of the facility, RECONN had to build retaining walls in soil that consisted of old fill to provide enough stability to hold the new parking lot in place. Also due to the soil conditions, crews had to install an underground pipe system for a detention pond. Plott says, “You don’t know about bad soil conditions until you get down there. But we figured out ways to keep everything moving.”
Baytown Self Storage Center was also a job where RECONN overcame unexpected challenges. Crews were to demolish two existing office buildings and convert them to new storage facilities, including 100 individual units in addition to office space. Plott explains that soil conditions were not ideal to begin with, but the job also took place during a rainy season—leaving crews to deal with marsh-like mud. Leaning on previous experience, RECONN was able to complete the job while keeping the client within budget.
“All projects have their own unique hurdles to overcome and timelines to meet,” Plott says. “We do this through strict attention to detail. It enables us to adhere to very compressed schedules without a loss in quality.”
Building Relationships, One Project at a Time
Plott says that a special kind of niche sets RECONN apart from other general contractors—not a niche in a specific type of project build or market, but rather in building relationships. He says, “General contractors have niches, and there are different markets for different GCs. Our true niche is building relationships one project at a time and holding on to those clients.”
Plott adds that RECONN is committed to clients without question and has never given up on a client, explaining that the company has never walked away from a job or its obligations, nor has it been fired from a job. “Not a lot of companies can say that,” he says.
The company is also committed to its relationship with staff. Plott and Sanford serve as project managers alongside a third Project Manager, Chuck Mazoch. They are supported by Office Manager Valerie Hendrickson and Project Assistants Julie, Marissa and Olivia.
Plott says, “Another thing that separates us is the staff’s commitment and dedication. Everybody knows what they need to do, when and where to show up, when to leave. And because of that we profit share. If the company does well, everybody does well.”
Plott is especially proud that the company survived 2020, a difficult year for many industries, without any layoffs. “Our employees are committed to us,” he says. “We owe them a commitment too.”
Adapt and Conquer
RECONN’s flexibility also plays a role in its success. Plott says the company is able to adapt as the economy changes, shifting its focus to what markets are thriving at a given time, whether that’s space renovation or ground-up development.
He says, “We try to focus on shifts in the economy and we shift with them. We have traditionally been in the retail space, but now we’re looking at more ground-up developments in smaller markets, working directly with architects. We follow the trends.”
With nine projects currently underway across the country and 11 more in the estimating phase, RECONN’s three project managers stay on their toes. Plott envisions small but steady growth for the future, with the addition of a couple more project managers and project assistants.
The end goal, Plott says, is to create a lasting legacy. “We all have kids,” he says. “The idea is to continue to build and turn this thing over.”
With its strong commitment to detail and quality and an eye on the changing markets, RECONN will do that by building relationships, one project at a time.