Case Studies

TKTMJ Inc.: Quality, Value and Consistency

  • Written by: TKTMJ Inc.: Quality, Value and Consistency
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Thomas Tubre and his son, Thomas Jr., founded TKTMJ Inc. (TKTMJ) in 1994. The family business, now a full-service general contracting company, began with one physical asset: a pickup truck. Today the Louisiana-based company boasts a second office in New Orleans, where a successful team of 25 provides construction management services.

Thomas Jr., senior vice president of TKTMJ, has worked full time with his father since 1998. In that time he has become one of three principles at the company in conjunction with his brother, Michael, and, of course, their father.

“We wake up every morning, go to work and like what we do,” says Thomas Jr. “We want the same for our employees.” Thomas Jr. adds that he and Michael were raised in the construction business, and believes that growing up in the industry has been a key component to TKTMJ’s success.

Helping Handymen

TKTMJ has been involved with several projects regarding the revival of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. A few months after the disaster, Thomas Jr. and his team were contracted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to construct temporary housing for 8,000 families displaced by the hurricane. This project marked TKTMJ’s entrance into the New Orleans’ market.

Once the company had established a reputation around New Orleans, TKTMJ was sought out by another organization. The Leonard and Louise Riggio Foundation made an enormous philanthropic donation of $20 million, kick-starting Project Home Again, a nonprofit housing development organization. Project Home Again aimed to provide housing to victims of the hurricane with a focus on sustainability while rebuilding the community.

“Project Home Again is one of the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever been involved in,” says Thomas Jr. “We built almost 100 houses that the organization gave to displaced families.” The project lasted four years, during which Thomas Jr. says he learned a lot about people and sustainable building. All of the houses meet the Department of Energy’s Building America Challenge, of which eight have solar panels affixed to the roofs and five are LEED Platinum certified.

Geographic Advantage

TKTMJ has dodged the construction slump in the U.S. brought upon in the last half-decade by economic recession and a housing crisis that have left much of the industry in bad shape. “We’ve been growing in revenue throughout the recession,” says Thomas Jr. “That’s partly geographic, though. The influx of federal money has made our little microcosmic universe here very different than the rest of the country.”

There are challenges associated with operating in southern Louisiana. “It’s gotten more competitive than it used to be,” says Thomas Jr. Companies from around the state and around the Southeast are scrambling to pick up federally funded projects. TKTMJ manages to stay ahead. “We’re nimble,” Thomas Jr. explains. “We work through whatever budgetary cuts need to be made.”

The company has put through a lot of value-engineered bids. TKTMJ’s capacity for providing value has attracted many clients. St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Lakeview is one of the company’s most recent projects, which Thomas Jr. is proud to have contributed. Initially, the company worked to provide temporary classrooms to the school after the facility was severely damaged in Hurricane Katrina. Now TKTMJ is leading the construction of a 7,500-square foot addition, slated for completion in fall 2012.

TKTMJ performs work regularly for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The company is a service-disabled veteran-owned business and is contracted periodically for work on VA hospitals. While most of the company’s business is within Louisiana, the Tubres and the TKTMJ team have traveled to Arkansas and Texas to work for the department.

The business has been moving more in the direction of commercial and public-sector construction, including infrastructure work at Jackson Barracks, which is a base for United States Army Reserves. An assisted-living facility project for the Arch Diocese – a building constructed in the 1870s – included 60,000 square feet of new construction and a section slated for historical renovation.

Coming from humble beginnings Thomas Jr. and his family are happy with the capacity at which TKTMJ operates. “You’ve got to know what it’s like to have nothing in order to enjoy what it’s like to have something of value,” he explains. TKTMJ has enjoyed its steady growth, but Thomas Jr. would like to see the company stay small. “It’s much easier to grow than it is to downsize,” he explains. “I don’t enjoy eliminating employees in order to sustain a business. We want to make sure we keep our people working.”

The company self-performs civil features on its projects, but most of the physical component of the job is subcontracted. TKTMJ has established mutually beneficial relationships with its subcontractors and the business works with the same team as often as possible. The company builds the same connections with its clients.

TKTMJ will continue to pursue jobs in the $5 million to $15 million range. “We’ve managed to stay nimble, and we’ve got our overhead under control,” says Thomas Jr. At its current size, with a principal on every jobsite every day, TKTMJ Inc. is able to provide the quality of service that brings clients back.

Published on: March 13, 2013

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