Constructing the Future
Teal Construction Company taps into team’s expertise to deliver solutions
Sometimes it takes looking at a problem from a different perspective to find a solution.
Teal Construction Company (Teal Construction), founded in Houston in 1947 by John Murray Sr., is all about different perspectives. The company has found success over the last seven decades by building a team with broad experience and tapping into their individual expertise and backgrounds to deliver better solutions through its preconstruction, general construction and design assist services.
Some team members have worked with smaller general contractors, while others have worked for companies five times the size of Teal Construction and have experience with large projects. This diverse experience helps the company take on projects of different scopes and scales.
“People bringing in different ideas and experiences is what makes our team successful,” says Jennifer King, Director of Preconstruction.
Today, in addition to Houston, Teal Construction Company has offices in San Antonio and Corpus Christi and does work throughout the state of Texas. The company is now led by John Murray Jr., and has three partners: King, Vice President Jason Hogue and Chief Finance Officer John Nowak.
Although Teal Construction has undergone significant changes through the last seven decades, it continues to operate in line with ideals it was founded upon: expertise, integrity and consistency.
It Started with a Duck
As Teal Construction’s origin story goes, when Founder John Murray Sr. was starting his own business, he was searching for an idea for a name. While out duck hunting one day, huddled in a duck blind, he announced, “The next duck I shoot will be the name of the company.” The next duck happened to be a teal duck, and so Teal Construction Company was born.
Murray Sr. started the business shortly after World War II when he got his start building residential homes in Pasadena, Texas, for veterans. He built his first neighborhood, called Tealwood, in the Memorial area of Houston, and in the late 1950s, the firm began doing commercial and industrial construction.
By the late 1960s, Teal Construction had opened its current office in Houston, where it’s still headquartered today. In the 1980s, Murray Sr. passed the company on to his son, Murray Jr.
Building the Next Generation
In addition to its early residential work, Teal Construction made a name for itself building car dealerships throughout the Southern United States. But today, most of the firm’s work consists of public projects, including municipal, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and K-12 education facilities. “Constructing the Future” is the tagline that appears on the company’s website, and it emphasizes how Teal Construction is helping build its communities through its projects. When it comes to educational facilities, for instance, the Teal Construction team focuses on building spaces that will inspire learning for the next generation of leaders.
When Teal Construction renovated the San Antonio Independent School District’s CAST Med High School, the team thought through how the space would positively impact the students who attend the school and how to minimize distraction during the construction process.
The CAST Med High School caters to students who are interested in specializing in the medical field. The project incorporated unique design elements that build on that theme, such as ceilings with a hexagonal pattern that looks like a molecular cell. The renovation included converting existing classroom space into dining space, biology classrooms, biotech classrooms and a computer lab. Because the campus was occupied during the renovations, Teal Construction was able to phase construction to limit any disruption to learning.
Bringing the Past into the Present
The Stinson Municipal Airport in San Antonio is the second oldest continually operated airport in the United States. Teal Construction has completed many projects for the TxDOT aviation division, so the firm was a natural fit to construct a new air traffic control tower.
“Because Stinson is a historical airport, it wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill communications tower,” King says. The original tower was built in the mid-1930s and had been renovated and expanded in 2006-2008. The team had to think outside the box and look at innovative ways to construct a new tower that would fully bring the airport into the 21st century, explains King.
Because most of Teal Construction’s projects are usually only two to three stories, the firm leaned on the expertise of its team members who had experience with high-rise and mid-rise construction. “We brought them into the preconstruction process to help develop the building safety plans and plan logistics,” King says.
The tower itself is constructed with concrete panels with a steel-framed cab on top, where the air traffic controller station is located. The design incorporates airplane wings attached to the tower that light up at night.
The project earned the team an Excellence in Construction Award from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of South Texas.
Collaboration and Communication
King credits Teal Construction’s longevity and success as a company to its team members’ commitment to collaboration and communication, even across three offices in three different cities. She believes it’s important for each office to feel connected to the others and not feel like it’s on an island.
In addition to monthly corporate meetings via Zoom, all three offices also attend in-person training in Houston once a quarter. These in-person trainings are a favorite among staff.
“Everyone likes being able to put a face to a name, to see each other and talk to each other—it’s not just about the training, it’s about the camaraderie we get when we’re all together,” King says.
Even when the company has projects in progress in remote locations without an office nearby, King says the team goes out of their way to make sure no one feels like they’re sitting by themselves at a job site.
“Jason [Hogue] and I will take turns traveling to the site, not just to check quality and processes, but to make sure our superintendents still feel connected with the team.”
Because Teal Construction has been around so long, it feels like a family, says King. Teal Construction keeps the company size small—between 50-70 employees—for a reason: They don’t want any client or future clients to be lost in the mix, which sometimes happens with larger companies.
“Nobody is just a number here,” King says. “We’re like a family, and that includes our clients, design team and subcontractors. We want everyone to feel like they can call me, John or Jason and get an immediate response.”
King adds that it’s also nice to know that if one team member at one office has a question, there’s always someone just a phone call away who can help. “When I came to work here seven years ago, I loved that there were at least 10 people who had worked for the company for 20-plus years. It showed me the importance of people in this company and helped me understand how Teal Construction runs projects.”
In addition to its people, Teal Construction’s subcontractors are the other key to successful projects and satisfied clients, according to King. “We know as a general contractor that the success of our projects is due to the subcontractors we partner with. Together, we can build something to be proud of.”