Onward and Upward
Terry Green joins Southern Partners, LLC to expand firm’s general contracting business
Established in 2018, Southern Partners, LLC is a general contracting firm based in San Antonio that serves commercial clients throughout Texas. Although the firm is young, its leaders have a wealth of experience building hundreds of day care centers, convenience stores (C-stores), fuel stations, medical office facilities, shopping centers and restaurants throughout the state. The firm is focused on performing ground-up projects, turnkey services and build-out and remodel work.
Southern Partners has recently submitted bids for two Dickey’s Barbecue Pits, a brewing company in Universal City, a Suds Car Wash, and a Marco’s Pizza restaurant. The team just finished building a 13,000-square-foot Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy of Beaumont West, an early childcare and education center in Beaumont, Texas.
In June 2020, Terry Green was brought into the firm as Vice President of Operations. His mandate is to take Southern Partners to the next level. The remainder of this story is intended to introduce readers to Terry and to show why he is uniquely qualified to help Southern Partners to achieve its aggressive growth goals.
“Some of my key projects have included building 103 H-E-B fuel stations, 75 C-stores for Stripes LLC, 45 Jack in the Box restaurants, 27 Circle K C-stores, 25 Carl’s Jr. restaurants, 23 stores for CVS Pharmacy, eight shopping centers, numerous franchised day care facilities and medical office buildings, and dozens of branded travel centers, gas stations, car washes and restaurants.”
This Man Called Terry
Earning repeat business is all in a day’s work for Terry and the Southern Partners team.
Terry started out in construction in 1985 digging foundation trenches at night while working full time at McDonald’s as a manager. “I’d get off work at McDonald’s, get in my truck with my Case trencher and dig trenches until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning,” he recalls.
After his management stint with McDonald’s, he was brought into Road Runner Stores to serve as a troubleshooting manager. He then took over the company’s remodel and maintenance department and handled issues at stores in South Texas, part of East Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. “I was involved in opening up Road Runner’s new stores, including the company’s first big truck stop in Texarkana,” reminisces Terry. “That’s how I became familiar with all aspects of construction. Then I started moving around every four months or so to open up a new prototype store. I’d arrive just before the construction was finished to make sure the store was set up, all the merchandising was done and the employees were hired.”
Developing Fuel Expertise
Terry’s personality drives him to be a hands-on manager, which has led him to develop some niche skills and expertise. “I got involved in fuel work when I was troubleshooting for Road Runner,” he says. “A couple of the stores had problems with their fuel dispensing systems. I can’t stand procrastination, so when we couldn’t get a maintenance guy out there right away, I’d call the corporate office and ask for someone to walk me through what needed to be done. Then I’d go out there and fix the pumps.”
By 1990, Terry saw a clear need for quality fuel system installation, testing, repair and remediation services—and he acted on it. He completed a training program at Texas A&M University to earn his A & B fuel supervision licenses, and he and a business partner started a fuel construction company. “I was among the first licensed fuel supervisors in Texas,” Terry says. “I also received my certification as an underground tank tester in 1991. I installed underground fuel tanks and piping and did precision tank and line testing. The A license is for the installation of fuel piping and tanks. The B license is for the removal of underground fuel tanks and piping and related remediation.”
Moving to San Antonio
In 1997, Terry sold his portion of the fuel construction company and moved to San Antonio to become the manager for the Southern division of NESCO, a worldwide fuel contractor. He worked for NESCO until 2000, then spent two years helping the owner of Service Station Constructors & Fuel Systems grow his business. “I took that company from 43 employees to 104 in the field and 32 in the office—and from $3 million in fees (gross revenue) per year to around $30 million.”
In 2002, after achieving these formidable goals, Terry accepted a position with Suntech Building Systems, Inc. (Suntech), which was based in Houston. “I started out as a Field Supervisor and moved up to General Superintendent, overseeing projects throughout Texas with construction budgets ranging from $1.3 million to $25 million,” he says. In April 2019, Terry left Suntech and spent a year as the Director of Operations helping GARREN Construction to expand its contracting services and grow its concrete division.
Throughout his career, Terry has established a reputation for meeting—and exceeding—clients’ expectations.
For example, during his tenure with NESCO, he recalls working with H-E-B Grocery Company, LP, a privately held supermarket chain based in San Antonio, Texas, with hundreds of stores in Texas and northeast Mexico. The company also operates the upscale, organic food chain, Central Market.
“When NESCO hired me to take over their Southern division and manage fuel contracting,” he says, “I was there about two weeks when H-E-B came to NESCO and said: ‘Hey, we want you to build all our C-stores.’ NESCO had built a couple, but the normal timeframe for those was 65 days. The first one I built took about 40 days. The second one took 21 days from the day we pulled up on the site until the day H-E-B took its first dollar at the pump. The buildings were prefabricated and delivered via truck to each site. So, we built the foundation and building pad. Then we’d set the building in place, attach it and run all the electrical and other systems into it. From that point forward, I don’t think we ever missed a build time of 21 days.”
Doing Whatever it Takes
Terry and his crews have conquered more than aggressive project schedules. He says that when people from Jack in the Box approached Suntech and said they needed to have a store built in 57 days—ground up, including sitework and finished interiors—Suntech’s owners asked Terry if this could be done. “I said, ‘Let’s give it a shot,’ ” he recalls. “We were able to accomplish the schedule, but within those 57 days I had 21 days of heavy rain—and we had to install a complete underground detention system.”
Combined, these conditions presented almost insurmountable hurdles. “There wasn’t enough real estate to create an above-ground detention pond,” Terry says. “We poured the building pad and dug up the whole parking lot to install the detention pipes and site utilities. We dug 10 feet down within 15 feet of the building. My subcontractors said, ‘We have to stop work on the building because you’re getting ready to pour the parking lot.’ The only way they could get in and out of the building was by crawling in and out of the drive-thru window. That’s what my tile, electrical, mechanical and framing contractors did for three days while we finished the parking lot. Once we completed that restaurant, Jack in the Box hired Suntech to build more.”
According to Terry, remodeling Carl’s Jr. restaurants to accommodate changes in its Green Burrito product line also presented daunting challenges. “Suntech had contractors in other states that were taking three nights to do these remodels and upgrades,” he says. “My team and I finished our first remodel in one night. We started about 10 at night and were out of there by 4 in the morning. This included doing electrical work and some plumbing, installing a new salsa bar and some kitchen equipment, hanging new menu boards and putting up new display signs. We got to the point where three other guys and I were doing two remodels a night.”
Assembling a Talented Team
Terry believes that business success rests in the ability to identify, mentor and lead a talented team. “I always tell people that the best project supervisor is able to walk on a site where nothing’s been touched, look at the plans and visualize the building before construction begins,” Terry says. “You’ve got to see in your mind how a building’s going to go up, so you can foresee problems and organize your subs. Not everybody can do that. That’s a talent that some supervisors have.” And those are the job supervisors Terry seeks out as he assembles project teams.
“Some GCs, for example, will have one supervisor for the dirt work, then bring in a different supervisor to oversee the framing and roughing in and then another for the detailed finishes,” he continues. “My supervisors have the ability to oversee and coordinate the full scope of work. I help them build their schedules, visualize the project and get wholeheartedly involved by giving them the insight that they may not have at first.”
Coaching After Hours
Terry’s mentorship role extends into the evening and weekend hours. He says raising three athletic sons led him to volunteer for Buffalo Valley Youth Association (BVYA) in Schertz, Texas. “Since 1997, I’ve been doing everything from coaching youth baseball and football to constructing restrooms near the Schertz ball parks, which are managed by BVYA. For baseball, I’ve coached everything from T-ball to PONY teams.”
And, once again, Terry’s teams set records. “I coached kids from ages 13 to 17 on a traveling PONY team for three or four years,” he says. “We started with one PONY team and built up to four teams within this age group. Every year that I coached the traveling team they won the city and regional championships. The last year, we won all but one game in the round leading up to the PONY League World Series.”
The Southern Partners’ leadership sees Terry’s role as a critical component for the young firm’s continued growth and expansion. As it continues to build a strong presence throughout Texas, a personality as big and determined as Terry’s will likely lead to to a grand slam win for the company.