RSS
TwitterFacebookGoogle+YouTubeLinkedIn

June 2009: Making the Grade

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

June 2009

Making the Grade

Where Are They Now?
Frank Martinez

By J. David Holt

My oldest memory of Frank is from his junior year in high school,” says Victor Santillan, masonry instructor to Frank Martinez. “He had an old, beat-up car that he drove to school. He usually had a wheelbarrow sticking out of the trunk, because he would do some masonry jobs on his own after school.”

Frank Martinez enrolled in Santillan’s very first class. That was in 1991. The following year, Martinez participated in the SkillsUSA national masonry contest, held in Louisville, Ky. He took seventh place.

By then, Santillian says, “Frank had traded in his old car for an old truck. With room to carry more boards and scaffolds, he could do bigger masonry jobs.” Even some of the teachers at his school were hiring him for small jobs.

Then, one day, while having his old truck inspected, Martinez met a man who owned a 10,000-square-foot warehouse. The man hired him to brick the whole building.

“This guy was an older, retired gentleman,” says Martinez. “I worked a lot of weekends to complete the job. I’ll never forget how almost every weekend he would sit in a chair, drink his iced tea and simply watch me work.”

Following graduation from Harlingen High School in Harlingen, Texas, Martinez moved to Dallas. “My brother was working in construction,” he says. “He had work, and my work was slowing down in the Valley. I moved eight hours north and was soon making $8 per hour more.”

Martinez always had a notion that he could lead. He went from laborer, to lead man and then foreman. By age 21, he had started his own company, FM Masonry Inc., dba Frame and Masonry Construction. Based in Arlington, Texas, the company does concrete, frame and masonry work. With 10 full-time employees, Martinez adds contract laborers as the work requires.

Frank Martinez is a hands-on person with an understanding of business.

“We try to adapt to the market,” Martinez says. “We go where the work is. That’s why we’re moving east.”

The company has long served north Texas and has, recently, added significant work in the Shreveport, La., area. Southern Homes in Louisiana is providing steady work.

Regarding the challenges of owning and growing a business, Martinez reflects on the challenges of taking on ever larger jobs. “Making the move from $100,000 contracts to $500,000 contracts requires changes in how we do business. The next step is $1 million jobs.”

Letting go was another challenge for Martinez. A self-described hands-on person, he learned the business as he grew it. He learned to do his own bookkeeping and took courses in business management and business law. Eventually, he knew he had to let go.

“It was challenging for me, to have been wearing so many hats, to have to let go of those hats,” Martinez says.

The secrets to his success were hard work and experience. He says experience had been his best teacher. Now billing $4 million to $5 million annually, Martinez has grown the business through word-of-mouth.

Like many formally trained masons, Martinez retains a relationship with his instructor. “Victor is my mentor,” he says. “We stay in touch. We’ve even surveyed jobs together.”

“Whenever our state contest is in the Dallas area, Frank usually volunteers to tour my students on some of the jobs his company is working on,” Santillian says. “I know that Frank is proud of his work and accomplishments, but it’s very educational for my students.”


Return to Table of Contents

Related Posts

  • 56
    The best way to learn what it takes to keep a masonry construction business in the black is to go straight to the sources. Masonry consulted three of our industry’s best, each with a unique perspective on successfully managing his masonry business.
    Tags: masonry, business, work
  • 42
    Masonry student Tony DiBucci discusses his studies and his career path.
    Tags: masonry, work, school
  • 39
    It used to be an article of faith in the masonry industry that tight, cut-up jobs would slow production to a crawl and slice into profits. New innovations in scaffolding are turning that rule on its head, enabling masons to fit scaffolds into narrow alleys and elevator shafts and work…
    Tags: jobs, work, masonry
  • 38
    Industry employment at highest level since '09; sector's unemployment rate at eight-year low
    Tags: jobs, masonry
  • 36
    Will you accept the call to serve? You may feel like a little fish in a big pond, but you too can be a voice for the masonry industry.
    Tags: masonry

MASONRY MAGAZINE VIDEO NEWS

S26 HEPA Dust Extractor From Pullman Ermator

Ermator HEPA Dust Extractors are equipped with tested and certified HEPA filters that trap the smallest, most dangerous-to-breath dust particles and prevents them from being released in the air. A HEPA Dust Extractor not only exhausts perfectly clean air, it is far more efficient for the fast recovery of bulk dry dust, debris and other building materials found on every Construction, Abatement and Restoration job site.

Drilling and Chiseling Hammer Demonstration | CS Unitec

CS Unitec Drilling and Chiseling Hammer type 2 2414 0010 demonstration. For more information on the tools, drills and other products seen in this video, please visit: http://www.csunitec.com/hammer-drills/

PumpMaster | Masonry Grout Pump for Core Filling | Block Fill | Masonry Wall Grouting

The AIRPLACO PumpMaster PG-30 is shown on a jobsite in Nashville, TN with Masonry Contractor WASCO, Inc. ...