Monday, February 26, 2024

Engineering firm building community

Von Beougher and Bobby Dollak have had a hand in planning hundreds of local developments, including The River Walk at Central Park in Flower Mound. (Photo by Helen’s Photography

Chances are you have studied, worshiped, shopped, worked or lived on a site that was designed by G&A Consultants.

When Von Beougher bought G&A Consultants from Lewisville native Steve Gilbreath in 1990, the population of Flower Mound was 15,898 and Lewisville was 46,816.

“We had five employees, including myself,” he said. “Steve had instilled an excellent work ethic and an integrity-based relationship model of doing business, for which I’ll always be thankful.”

At that time, the firm was strictly civil engineering and surveying– mostly lot surveys– with some small commercial site plan and residential subdivision work. “Ralph Fellers and Ken Hodge were some of the folks who believed in a young, start-up engineering company with local roots, and they were instrumental in helping get us off the ground,” said Beougher, who lives in Double Oak and serves on its town council.

“As the area was coming out of the savings and loan fiasco of the late ‘80’s, we developed a great working relationship with the Lewisville ISD and had the opportunity to work on dozens of new campuses and additions to existing campuses.”

The G&A list of accomplishments include: 30 elementary schools; 11 middle schools; all five high schools, as well as numerous other LISD projects. Those additional projects include: the 9th grade centers; natatoriums; Early Childhood Center; athletic facilities; and, administration and maintenance/support facilities around the district.

Those school projects took G&A to nearly all 12 cities and towns that comprise the Lewisville ISD and provided the opportunity to establish relationships with many municipalities.

“Working on the larger projects– such as schools– we met Ron Stewart, Landscape Architect and owner of Environs Group,” said Beougher. “Since we were doing so many projects together, we brought Ron into the G&A family in 2002; and, he has helped to build a significant Landscape Architecture design group for the area.”

Bobby Dollak joined the G&A family in 1993 to help the growing workload and G&A grew to 35 people by 2009.

“If you’ve ever met Bobby, you know he has the gift of gab unlike most engineers,” chuckled Beougher. “He can tell the story– and explain the vision of what the project can be– better than most anyone.”

“Back in 1993, sitting out on the north Shore of Lake Grapevine on an 80-100 foot bluff, now known as Point Noble, [I was] thinking about moving back to East Texas (my hometown of Lufkin),” said Dollak. “Von asked me to give him just six more months to see if this North Texas area could work as a place I could call home. Because of Von’s mentorship and belief in me, here I am, 26-years later working in the best area in the world; and, with the best people to live life with.”

Just before the Great Recession, Beougher and Dollak joined the CEO Institute, a Christian-based business owner’s and executive’s think-tank founded by the late Lane Kramer.

“Lane was instrumental in encouraging our faith and helping us to realize the significance of our mission here on earth,” said Beougher. “And, we’ve been blessed to have been a part of dozens of churches in the area such as Valley Creek, Temple Baptist, RockPointe, and The Village Church to name a few.”

When the recession hit, G&A had to let some of their outstanding employees go, “and that was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a business owner. Thankfully, with the counsel of good friends like Lane, Steve Griffin and Gary Lewis, we were able to pull through those lean couple of years. “

Coming out of the recession, the pent-up demand for homes and retail put G&A back in a hiring mode.

With all the growth, the firm was considering adding a planning person to help navigate the various municipal ordinances and Randi Rivera appeared.

“She was a cousin of some friends of ours, who was graduating from UT Arlington in Urban Planning and wanted some interview experience,” said Beougher. “So, Bobby and I invited her in for a mock interview and she impressed us so much that we agreed that we had to add her to our team.”

He credits her passion for creating quality, livable places, for G&A being involved in such interesting and creative projects as: The Shops at Highland Village; The River Walk at Central Park in Flower Mound; Millennium in Corinth; Entrada at Westlake; Lakeside Village and Lakeside Center next to the Lakeside Tower in Flower Mound; and, upcoming mixed-use projects in west Flower Mound, Northlake, Saginaw, Mansfield, Granbury and Plano.   

The decision to build a branch office in Roanoke– known as the “Unique Dining Capital of Texas,” had a unique genesis itself.

“In 2010, my wife, Kelly, and I were on a dinner ride on our Harleys with some friends, headed to Babe’s Chicken Dinner House in Roanoke,” recalls Beougher. “The line was out the door and around the corner into the alley, where people were tailgating while waiting to get in!  I mentioned that this might be a good location for a branch office, since we had nearly reached capacity in our Lewisville office and that started us down the path to building an office in Roanoke.”

Fast-forward to February 2017. That’s when a call came from McAdams of North Carolina looking to have a presence in Texas.

G&A had grown to 45 people– between the offices in Lewisville and Roanoke– and figuring how to cross the 50-person threshold, with the extra reporting and tax schedules, plus “I felt like my retirement-window was getting further toward the horizon in order to afford the additional overhead,” said Beougher.

Meanwhile, in Durham, North Carolina, McAdams had a vision for the future, which included a huge leap: joining with a firm in another part of the country.

President and CEO Mike Munn, with Founder and Chairman John McAdams, began searching the U.S. for a firm that was “just the right fit” – the metaphorical glass slipper of a design firm.

After many months of research and phone calls, Munn and McAdams reached out to Beougher and Dollak. The North Carolina duo was intrigued by the well-established and highly respected firm in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area. G&A’s client base was loyal and their projects were varied and substantial.

“Initially, I was very skeptical and standoffish, but the more we talked, the more it became apparent that they were just like us in the kind of work they did and a company culture of taking good care of the staff; they were just 11-years ahead of us,” said Beougher.

McAdams had already crossed the 50-person barrier, had in-house accounting, in-house IT, in-house marketing, in-house HR department, in-house water resources/floodplain management department … basically, all the barriers that were holding G&A back could be taken care of, so we began a year-and-a-half process of negotiating the finer points of merging with McAdams. In short, they agreed with every one of our requests, which further solidified our aligned cultures.

“It’s a great opportunity for employee growth opportunities at both G&A and McAdams,” said Dollak. “For me, it’s a great opportunity to expand ‘the workplace ministry of service’ to include our McAdams North Carolina offices.”

Regardless of the immediate bond between the four men, they knew this merger was about the 250+ employees who have dedicated their careers to growing the two firms and creating experiences for the communities they serve.

Over the last 16-months, the growth G&A/ McAdams has experienced together has been noteworthy.

McAdams agreed to bring on every G&A employee, rather than cherry-pick the superstars, plus flew every employee to North Carolina to see the ‘mother ship’ and further ease the transition process by showing G&A staff that they are not some corporate monster, but, rather, they are just like us, only in a different part of the country.

In addition, they brought additional technologies to the table, such as aerial drone surveying, bathymetric (underwater) surveying and Subsurface Utility Exploration (S.U.E.), as well as additional market presence in higher education facilities, sports field design and energy opportunities.

“Our new associates from G&A Consultants are an especially talented group; and, consequently, they are in demand in the local market to perform site design and engineering on some of the most significant new projects,” said McAdams. “Adding G&A Consultants to the McAdams platform has enhanced the design capability at McAdams.  We are excited about the growth potential in this market.”

As of Jan. 1, 2020, the union will be complete. G&A/McAdams will officially become McAdams and the two firms will be fully united.

“We at McAdams are thrilled with our expansion into the north Dallas Metroplex through our merger with G&A last year,” said Munn. “This expansion has allowed us to grow McAdams in the hottest metro in the U.S., while also providing career growth opportunities for current and future teammates, as we grow and add more staff and services to better serve our Dallas clients.”

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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