A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Reytec Ready to Fulfill Clients' Needs

Following my interview earlier this year with Gregg Reyes, President and CEO of Reytec Construction Resources, Inc, I visited Steven Aranda near the Galleria area of Houston.  Aranda is a Project Manager with the company, and he was happy to show me some of the projects Reytec has worked on in that area, and to explain how Reytec has grown in order to provide the various types of service their clients need.

The area is part of the Uptown District, one of several Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZs) in Houston.  TIRZs are special zones created by the Houston City Council to attract new investment to specific areas within the city.  Houston has several of these special tax zones, but not all of Houston falls into one of them.  Within each of these zones, certain taxes are set-aside in a fund to finance public improvements within the boundaries of that zone.  The Board of Directors of each TIRZ approves the projects within their zone, and hires the contractors who work on them.  Even though these projects are in the City of Houston’s right of way, the Board manages the work with the assistance of the City.  This benefits the City of Houston because they simply do not have enough skilled employees to complete all of the work that needs to be done in Houston.  The Uptown TIRZ welcomes this responsibility because this way the property owners can manage the projects within their zone themselves, having a vested interest in controlling the high quality standards which the tenants and owners of the area have come to expect and demand.  Without the time and resources which the Board provides, some of the upscale details found in the area (such as decorative brick sidewalks) would be unthinkable.

Reytec has been hired for several projects managed by the Uptown District, and this has led to the company expanding the types of work they offer.  Reytec’s construction of the Apache Natural Gas fueling station came about because Reytec was restructuring the drainage and surface of the road adjacent to the world headquarters of Apache Corporation.  The executives at Apache admired Reytec’s work, so when they decided to build a fueling station near the base of their building, they hired Reytec to construct it.

The compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station was completed in March of this year, and is a public station for vehicles which run on natural gas.  With a CNG station, there are no underground tanks to install, maintain, or refill.  The pumps tap into the natural gas pipeline which already serves the buildings in the area.  The station simply compresses the gas and distributes the CNG to the customers, paying the gas company for the amount of natural gas they draw.  Apache now has CNG fueling stations in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana.  Some are public, such as this one, but many are installed on private company property for the refueling of company vehicles.

Aranda explained that the people who work for Reytec are fast learners.  This is how they are able to complete so many types of work, even if they have not had those kinds of jobs in the past.  They had never built a compressed natural gas station before they tackled the Apache job, but they were able to deliver it.  “We’re old school; we just work hard.”

For the fueling station, Reytec did all of the flatwork (the brick sidewalk laid down in a pattern like a parquet wood floor), the concrete pavement and curbs, and the concrete structure which houses the holding tanks of CNG.  They built the entire station except for the installation of the pumps and the electrical system and the erection of the overhead canopy, which they subcontracted.

The types of services Reytec offers expanded once more when they were asked to relocate a painted folk art concrete bench.  It had to be moved from its original position near a bus stop which was being renovated, but this proved to be a challenge because it is made of old and heavy concrete which could potentially crack and ruin the artwork.  They hired another company to help them move it to a park.  Future plans to build a decorative scene around it will likely include Reytec’s services.

Some work which Reytec has been hired to do is part of the Board’s effort to make the area near the Galleria nice to look at and safe for the many pedestrians who walk from their hotels or homes to the many businesses in the area.  This includes drainage improvement, sidewalk widening and leveling, and sidewalk lighting.  Aranda remarked:

“It has really been a fun job.  We’ve learned a lot.  Different owners all run their areas differently, and we have learned to work with them and build relationships with them, and that has helped us grow.  It is sometimes tough to please several different people who all have opinions as to how something should look.  We bid the job based on what was in the book, but at times they want something else.  We have had some opportunities for some change orders, and they have been really good to work with on that end.”

I gained more insight into the generous and compassionate side of the company when Aranda introduced me to Mario Vela, a Reytec Superintendent whose crew was working on the new sidewalk lighting that day.  Vela was part of the team from Reytec who volunteered to help rebuild a firehouse in Sabine Pass near Port Authur, Texas after it was destroyed by Hurricane Rita.  The rebuild was featured on the ABC television show Extreme Makeover Home Edition which aired on April 14, 2006.  The Reytec can-do attitude came through once again in that volunteer project.  Vela remarked:

“We were supposed to go in and just do the concrete work, but when they asked ‘What do you do?’ we answered ‘drywall, framing, whatever you need.’”

Aranda summarized my tour of the varied projects in the area by noting that while the core of what Reytec does –what they call their core business – is mainly roads and underground utilities, they have also gone into the esthetics part of the industry for projects such as the special curbs and sidewalks and the CNG fueling station: projects where the client wants a different standard.

You can see some of Reytec’s work in the 1½ minute video below, where you can hear Aranda explaining how the company also does all of their work without disrupting the people who come to the area which is known for its high-end stores.  “We cannot disrupt the shoppers ... they pay the bills!”

Bonus:  If you want to put up with the slow loading time, this link will take you to a very interesting detailed map of the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones

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