CD Builder’s Inc.
It has been a busy year for CD Builder’s Inc. (CDB). In 2013, the highway, bridge and road contractor underwent a major transition from the small island of Puerto Rico to the big state of Texas. Since adding its Hurst, Texas, location, CDB has initiated the process of establishing itself in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth Metro area.
Ismael Carrasquillo, president of CDB, is a graduate of Polytechnic University (Polytechnic) in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Carrasquillo went to work as a civil engineer in the early 1990s and established CDB in 2001.
“I worked for another construction company as a senior project manager,” he recalls. “In 1997, I returned to Polytechnic to get my master’s in construction management and in 2001, I decided to form my own company.”
Making it on the mainland
For 12 years, CDB made a name for itself on the island as a jack of all trades. “Puerto Rico is a very small island, only about 100 miles long and 35 miles wide,” shares Carrasquillo. “Because of this you have to do a little of everything to land work. We did streets, roads, bridges, utilities; a little bit of everything. The other challenge is nearly every project is federally funded. Everything has to be done by certain federal guidelines.”
When the pressures of operating on the island began to be too much, Carrasquillo started looking elsewhere for outside opportunities. “Things started to really slow down and we needed to do something else,” he recounts.
Carrasquillo saw a booming land of economic opportunity in Texas and decided to uproot CDB and make a go in the Lone Star State. “We established an office in March 2013 and started working in July,” he recalls. “We got our first job installing stormwater pipes, sanitary systems and water lines.”
While CDB’s varied experience in Puerto Rico made taking on new projects in Texas easier, the transition wasn’t complete smooth sailing. “Getting our name out there has been a challenge,” reveals Carrasquillo. “No one seems to know too much about Puerto Rico and the fact that the island is actually a U.S. territory. Being from Puerto Rico made it difficult for us to get prequalification from the contracting city. They told us we had to work in the states for at least three years before we would qualify.”
Building state and municipal clients
Despite the challenge of being new to the West Texas construction market, CDB has slowly and steadily built clientele over the last year, from the city of Dallas to the city of Fort Worth and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). “In Fort Worth, we already have four projects running right now,” reveals Carrasquillo. “For TxDOT we have two and the city of Coppell, we have one. We also have a project for Dallas that started in February 2014.”
With a crew of 40 professionals, CDB is now tackling everything from road construction and improvements to water retention ponds. “In Coppell, we’re removing the existing two-lane road and laying down four lanes of concrete,” notes Carrasquillo. “This project also involves some sanitary sewer line and water and bridge work and we’re estimating it will take about a year once construction begins in June 2014.”
About 30 minutes south in Dallas, CDB is working with the city to meet Army Corps of Engineers compliance. “There are three new retention ponds being constructed and it’s our job to ensure they’re up to code,” details Carrasquillo.
Carrasquillo goes on to explain that the team is currently also working with TxDOT on various road improvement projects. “We try to deliver every aspect of a project ourselves,” he continues. “We only subcontract electrical work and we’re continuing to develop relationships with subcontractors in this area.”
Seizing the opportunity to grow
When the recession hit home in Puerto Rico in 2008, Carrasquillo says CDB was forced to rethink its strategy and the test of willpower would spark the company’s outward expansion into the U.S.
“We had to reevaluate,” he recalls. “It was a matter of getting more creative, becoming more efficient and we started looking at where the opportunity was.”
CDB has found the land of plenty in West Texas’ thriving economy. “We have a backlog of $18 million in projects and by the end of 2014 I estimate that CDB will have more than 100 employees,” shares Carrasquillo. “I think there is plenty of work looking out into the next 10 years, but for right now, we’re focusing on establishing our reputation and the structure of the company here in the U.S.”
Carrasquillo is quick to note that 2013 has been one of the busiest years on record for CDB and 2014 looks to be more of the same for the growing company. From a small island shop to a big city contractor, CD Builder’s Inc. is paving the way to a well-known name.
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