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Parc Meridian
May 5, 2018

5 on 5 with Telligent Masonry, LLC

Contractor to Contractor


The Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) sat down with Chris M. Pappas, President of Telligent Masonry, LLC, to discuss the history of the company, challenges faced, and the future of the masonry industry.

MCAA: Tell us about the history of your company?

Chris M. Pappas: My father started this company in 1957, and it has always been a family business that my siblings, children, and even nephews have been a part of. Over the years we have completed a multitude of projects including mixed-use, multi family, hotels, office buildings, schools, municipal buildings, as well as single-family homes. The more notable projects we have completed are the American Airlines concourse at the Miami International Airport, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington DC, Las Olas Grand Condominiums in Ft. Lauderdale, various projects at the Naval Academy and Andrews Air Force Base, and the concrete and masonry work at Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Polynesian and Hotels. We pride ourselves on our customer service, and we work with a select group of clients where we will budget and negotiate their work, rather than chase specific projects. We have about 500 employees, and self-perform 100% of our work including wash down, scaffold erection, and air barrier.

Additionally, we have won many awards for our work, most recently for the Parc Meridian project in Arlington, Virginia; winning the 2018 Associated Builders and contractors National Excellence in Construction Eagle Award.

MCAA: What do you think has been the key to your company’s success?

Chris M. Pappas
Chris M. Pappas

Pappas: Our success is driven by our experienced field personnel and our customer service. Our best foreman and managerial staff have been with us through the majority, if not all, of their careers, validating our strong philosophy of promotion from within. For example, our general superintendent, who manages our entire field, began at our company as a laborer, building scaffold, and has worked his way up over the last 35 years. This is similar to many of the employees throughout Telligent Masonry, giving us not only an advantage on experience, but also creating a family culture where everyone knows the ideals that Telligent Masonry values, as well as a culture that everyone enjoys being a part of.

On the project acquisition front, we have eight estimators that spend countless hours putting together pre-construction budgets for our customers. We will look at a project four or five times before it is awarded, helping our customers in any way possible, which is beneficial for both us and our clients. This ties into our position of staying loyal to our clients and following their jobs, rather than perusing open bid project specific work.

Mandarin Hotel
Mandarin Hotel

MCAA: What advice would you offer a budding mason contractor?

Pappas: For up and coming masonry contractors I would strongly recommend providing as much customer service to your clients as possible since sometimes even the smallest thing can go a long way. When you encounter a problem on a project step back and think about where you want to be on the other side of the issue. You could fight fixing it, and perhaps save a little money, or you could work with your client to find a solution. More than likely if you fight the issue, down the road it will end up costing more time, and money and you end up with an unhappy customer. On the other hand, by tackling issues head-on the customer is happy, and the problem is behind you. An important thing to do is to look at these issues as opportunities to not only show your customers you are a team player, but also how you handle these kinds of situations. Over time I am confident this philosophy will serve you well. Sending someone for a week, or even longer to fix something that may not have necessarily been your fault, might get you the next project. At the very least, it puts your company in a good negotiating position.

Las Olas Grand
Las Olas Grand

In addition to supporting MCAA, I would also recommend joining their local American Subcontractors Association. These two organizations work around the clock for subcontractors throughout the United States on all type of issues with very small budgets. They need our support. Professional, CPA, legal, and insurance advice are available to members, as well as discounts from vendors. These perks are extremely beneficial to any masonry company.

MCAA: What do you feel is the masonry industry’s biggest challenge in the future?

Pappas: It’s hard to predict the future, but challenges that may be seen ahead will probably have to do with manpower and paperwork/documentation. The construction industry workforce seems to be shrinking with the younger generations, so it will be important to keep younger folks excited about construction. In addition, it seems that every year, it becomes more important to document all aspects of a project. A challenge ahead may be where it gets to the point that you need a law degree to protect yourself in basic concepts while you are working on a job.

MIA American Airlines
MIA American Airlines

MCAA: What is your favorite aspect of being a member of the MCAA?

Pappas: The MCAA is a fantastic organization, and what I enjoy most is that it brings masonry contractors together and fights for our industry. The rivalry between masonry companies in the same local region can be very tough, making it hard to either bounce ideas off each other or look for help with a problem. By attending MCAA events, and networking with people from other areas we have been able to develop relationships that have been extremely beneficial. In addition, the legislation aspect of the MCAA is unmatched in not only what they fight for but also how much they take it to heart.

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“Through the MCAA’s webinars we’re able to keep current in our industry.”

Josh Cronholm
Ammex Masonry, Inc.
MCAA member since 2006

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