Contractor Spotlight: Leading through Servitude
Q&A with TDIndustries
TDIndustries delivers a comprehensive approach to mechanical construction, operations and maintenance. Since 1946, TD has provided innovative engineering, construction and facilities services that optimize the performance of world-class mechanical systems which includes health care, hotels, schools, sporting arenas, mission critical and industrial complexes. For the past 20 years, TD has been named as one of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” and was named #5 on the “Best Workplaces to Retire From” list in 2016. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, TD has branch offices in Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, Richardson, San Antonio and Phoenix, Arizona.
TD has more than 2,200 TDPartners (TD employee-owners who own 100 percent of the company), and in 2016 had revenues of $583 million. TD practices something it likes to call “Servant Leadership,” which is a way of life that deeply enhances its culture and business. Leaders are first a servant of those they lead. They are also teachers who are “able to see things through the eyes of their followers.”
We spoke with TDIndustries’ Maureen Underwood, executive vice president, People Department, and Graham Moore, president of TD’s Houston operations.
PE: What are some of TDIndustries’ main goals, values and priorities?
TD: Our goal at TD is noted in our Mission Statement, “We are committed to providing outstanding careers and opportunities by exceeding our customers’ expectations through continuous aggressive improvement.” We set the expectations for those careers and customers by living our core values:
• Build and maintain trusting relationships
• Fiercely protect the safety of all Partners
• Lead with a servant’s heart
• Passionately pursue excellence
• Celebrate the power of individual differences
PE: What are some of your team’s recent and specific projects you would like to highlight? What makes these projects stand out?
• One Frost (San Antonio): The One Frost corporate campus was a 28-month project that included 434,270 square feet and a 546,656-square-foot garage. Located on a 16.7-acre site in the Westover Hills area of the city, the facility incorporates an ecofriendly design and conservation measures, while integrating state-of-the-art building controls systems to increase efficiency throughout the campus. Throughout the course of construction, TD prefabricated and installed more than 550,000 pounds of sheet metal; 11,000 linear feet of chilled water piping; and more than 35,000 linear feet of plumbing for domestic cold water, hot water return, sanitary waste, storm water and reclaimed water. More than 430 plumbing fixtures were installed for the lavatories, water heater, booster pumps and kitchen equipment, among others. The fully integrated controls installation included critical systems like HVAC, lighting, fire/life, irrigation and elevators. The project recently won the national Pyramid Award for Excellence in Construction from Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).
• Project Nevada (Houston): a major manufacturing facility for Daikin that is approximately 3.5 million square feet of manufacturing floor, presented significant safety challenges by having to install the majority of our work within high-bay areas.
• 609 Main (Houston): We are in the final phase of completion of this project for Hines. The unique challenge of building a 48-story high-rise in the middle of downtown Houston.
TDIndustries in Houston has a long history of being a major builder of health care facilities, and we are excited to be starting construction at the new Memorial Hermann Pavilion 2.
This project will present challenges of building a major health care facility in the middle of Houston’s already congested Medical Center, while keeping our workers safe and maintaining the connections with the existing facilities, all without hindering the ongoing operation of the hospital.
• Methodist Mansfield Medical Center (Mansfield, Texas): The Methodist Mansfield Medical Center project involved a tight 21-month schedule for the full HVAC and plumbing scope, including 73,400 linear feet of plumbing piping; 30,000 linear feet of medical gas piping; 30,200 lf of HVAC ducting; and 285,000+ pounds of ductwork. The project team faced the unique challenge of renovating and expanding more than 300,000 square feet of space in an active hospital setting. The communicative and solution-oriented environment among team members helped ensure the safety of patients and the timely completion of project milestones.
PE: Industry recruitment and training are ongoing hot topics for the industry. What are some of TDIndustries’ solutions, suggestions or best practices?
TD: TD has a strong employee referral program. Our employees only refer their friends who best fit our culture and values — others who they are proud to work with. We interview everyone for a fit into our culture. We believe in growing careers and having a well-trained workforce. All Partners are asked to complete at least 32 hours of training each year, and TD pays 100 percent of that education up front.
PE: What industry organizations, groups, etc. is TD involved with?
TD: TDIndustries and our Partners belong to a variety of industry and community organizations. We believe in working within our markets to contribute to the growth of the industry and our local communities.
PE: What are some of TDIndustries’ biggest opportunities and challenges ahead?
TD: Maintaining a highly-skilled production workforce in an industry that is retiring far more than it is recruiting is a significant challenge. This requires us to prefabricate more than we have ever done before. But prefabrication can increase quality for the client, and can increase the safety on jobsites throughout the industry. This allows us to address how we can do more work with a smaller workforce.
PE: What advice or encouragement do you have for new and/or struggling contractors?
TD: TDIndustries has no patents and no unique tools that give us an advantage over our competitors. It’s all about our people. We all must have a motivated, inspired and committed workforce, so it’s best for companies to hone their leadership skills — they’re critical to your success.