This Firm Pours it On

FX Concrete

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FX Concrete, LLC of Fort Worth, Texas is a family owned firm with a unique history and a flair for concrete…
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FX Concrete of Fort Worth, Texas is a family company with a unique history and a flair for concrete. The firm provides a turn-key service for customers in the industrial, multi-family/mixed-use development and commercial sectors. FX Concrete sister companies provide in-house materials and equipment to better position the firm in a construction market, Vice President Xavier de la Rosa describes as insanely busy.

Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin are the main locations where FX Concrete operates, though the company has done jobs in other parts of the state and even in Arizona, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania. Within the concrete segment, FX Concrete is particularly skillful at creating Structural Concrete, Podiums, Slab-on-Grade, Piers, PT-foundations, Flatwork and Retaining walls.

“What makes us unique is the way we handle business and our customers. It’s one of the key factors why we get so many repeat clients. We meet [customer’s] schedules and deadlines. When problems arise, we sit down, roll up our sleeves, figure out what the problem is and find a solution. The general contractors that use us know this,” says Xavier.

FX Concrete is co-owned by Xavier and his father, Frank, who serves as company president. The initials, FX represent the co-owners’ first names.

Frank de la Rosa arrived in the United States from Mexico in the 1970s and took a job in construction, doing work on high-rise buildings among other assignments. When Xavier was a child, Frank often took him to job sites. When he was old enough, Xavier then worked in concrete construction himself during summer breaks from school.

FX Concrete was launched from what could have been a family calamity. The company for which both Frank and Xavier worked started experiencing a slowdown. The firm laid off Frank but retained his son, along with some other workers who were in the midst of building luxury apartments in Plano, Texas for a residential development called Legacy.

Xavier de la Rosa decided this would be the perfect time to launch a family concrete business, led by his father. With funding from Frank, FX Concrete was born on March 3, 2010. Initially, Xavier retained his day job on the Plano apartments while taking on FX Concrete projects in his off hours.

“At the very beginning, I was driving at about two in the morning around Dallas with my brother. We were doing patios and driveways [after] working at our [day] jobs. Just trying to get our company going,” he recalls.

Then, in November 2010, the same firm that laid off his father months earlier went completely out of business. Out of a day job but sensing an opportunity, he made a proposal to Amicus Construction, the general contractor for the Legacy project. Turn the assignment over to FX Concrete, and FX would complete the job. Amicus was amenable, and with the help of some additional laborers, FX went to work on its first major contract.

“We finished that job with no problems. And now we’re doing one hundred percent of all of Amicus’ multi-family mixed-use development projects,” says Xavier. Needless to say, FX Concrete remains hugely grateful to Amicus for giving the firm “its first shot,” as Xavier puts it.

Xavier says the relationship with his father is built on professional and familial respect. “We’re always on the same page, and he always backed me up, and we always come together on almost everything … It’s always been clear communication with us, so no matter what happens, we’re able to sit down and come to a decision and move on.”

He adds that “even if he wasn’t my dad, I think I would still love to be working with him. The way he is, the way he pushes forward, the way that I am and what I do – it’s a good combination for us.”

Intriguingly, Xavier de la Rosa’s mother now works for the company as well, handling human resources duties and other tasks at the corporate office. There’s no doubt that FX Concrete could use the extra help.

“There’s so much work right now. It’s crazy. We’re turning work down, and we’re still receiving calls, ‘We really want you to take another look at this project? When can you actually start, because we really want you guys on board?’ A lot of times, we have to tell them no, because one thing we will not do, is grab a job that we can’t perform on. If we accept a job, it’s because we’re going to knock it out of the park … We will not commit to a job if we can’t dedicate 100 percent performance on it,” says Xavier.

FX Concrete now has two sister companies: FX Equipment and FX Material. The former carries a stock of construction equipment which it maintains for company use. FX Material – the newest ancillary enterprise – recently came into existence after the firm acquired a concrete batch plant. FX Material makes concrete for the core business but sells its product to other companies as well.

Getting FX Material off the ground is a challenge, and FX Concrete’s growing workload presents challenges too. FX Material currently uses six mixer trucks to pour concrete on job sites. The firm rents additional mixer trucks from Osborn Trucking when it needs to. But ultimately it might end up buying more mixers of its own, which means additional expenses.

Not that Xavier is bothered by any of this. “I love challenges. I see them as opportunities. If everything was the same all the time, it wouldn’t be fun,” he says.

Staffing levels at FX Concrete vary, depending on how much work the company has at any given time and the size of the jobs it takes on. Personnel numbers range between eighty and about 160, says Xavier. When looking to new hires, FX Concrete wants workers with concrete experience and a good attitude. Basically, this means “being able to really to push forward to get the job done. [They should be] a team player and know what we’re trying to do,” says Xavier.

FX Concrete’s corporate culture is very down to earth. Management is involved and works closely with all staff. “We take care of our employees. We have an open door relationship. If there’s any problems, [workers] can get in contact with us. Frank is very hands-on, in the field, on a day-to-day basis. So he’s constantly with all of our crews. So you have a main owner and president that is onsite and in the field overseeing pretty much one hundred percent of our jobs,” says Xavier.

Given the sometimes dangerous nature of construction, FX Concrete takes safety very seriously. The firm has a full-time safety director who visits projects regularly, and employees follow strict safety protocols. FX Concrete also hosts weekly ‘toolbox talks’ to discuss safety-related topics with its workers. “Safety is a number one priority. We want all of our guys safe,” says Xavier.

The company maintains quality standards, meanwhile, by hiring experienced employees, having an industry veteran for president and through the knowledge that shoddy work will mean a sharp drop in revenue in a very competitive business.

“We’re very much on quality because if customers don’t like what they’re getting, they’re not going to come back and use you again,” he says.

Beyond a website and putting company signs up on worksites, FX Concrete does not actively promote itself, and it has not had to. The firm prides itself on its reputation and relies on word of mouth for promotional purposes. Indeed, the company website has several testimonials from very satisfied customers.

At present, one of the largest jobs the company is taking part in involves an eleven-story parking garage in Dallas. FX Concrete is working with Schwob Building Company for that project.

As for the future, the company has discussed possibly opening a second office in Austin to accommodate its heavy workload in that city. “There’s so much work going on down there that we’re constantly traveling,” says Xavier.

“Our next goal is to have a new built-to-order headquarters in Fort Worth,” he says. This dream facility would consolidate all of the growing company’s operations – FX Concrete, FX Material and FX Equipment – in one locale. The company might expand its services and the sectors it works for too. FX Concrete is currently doing more tilt-wall jobs and working on city buildings and structures, two trends the firm would like to maintain.

Expanding beyond concrete, however, is most definitely not on the agenda. The company’s philosophy can be summed up as “find out what you’re good at, and be the best at it. We’re not trying to go into anything else. We’re going to do concrete; we’re going to master it and be the best there is,” says Xavier.

Building the Next Generation

As thousands of experienced workers retire across North America every day, it is small wonder many industries are concerned about the future. It has been a decade since the oldest members of the baby boom generation started leaving their jobs, removing from the workplace decades of experience and skills that are tough to replace. The situation is so dire that, when younger workers are not available or knowledgeable enough to take over, retired staffers are often called back to work on a part-time basis.

November 15, 2019, 12:08 AM EST