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Quality in stone

image Front row (L-R): Michel Villada, Dana Anderson, Jennifer Rodriguez; back row (L-R): Andy Prewitt, Ryan Knight, Morgan Knight, Sean Levy, Adam Huebinger of D&H Masonry.

HOUSTON - Ryan Knight and his brother Morgan own and run D&H Masonry, which begs the questions: Who is “D” and who is “H”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    “D” is the sons’ father, David. “H” was his partner. David retired in January 2011, but still comes to the shop.
    “One thing our dad always stressed to us that we’ve taken to heart was quality,” Ryan explained, “and we’ve always tried to maintain the highest quality that we can.”
    Ryan and Morgan worked at D&H during the summers and when they could. Neither was forced or expected to make this their livelihood. “It was our option,” Ryan said. “Nothing was ever forced on us.”
    Ryan graduated from TCU with a business management and marketing degree. Morgan is an Aggie with a construction science degree. Life led them to take over the family business when Dad retired.
    In the beginning, Ryan and Morgan would be heavily involved with the construction projects, like estimating and project management. But the company has grown so much that they’ve hired all these positions. Now, they serve as project executives, providing the upper-most level of oversight.
    “One of us is overseeing…every project,” Ryan said. “[Morgan] will be the expert on half of [the projects] and I’ll be the expert on the other half.”
    At any given time, D&H has roughly 10-12 projects, keeping their 250 employees busy. D&H installs many different systems including brick, block, stone, calcium silicate units, thin set materials, and terra cotta rainscreen.
     Once a structure is designed, it’s up to D&H to find the brick manufacturer to match the architect’s intent. Sometimes the plans are very specific in terms of color and stone type; other times D&H does the legwork in producing the materials that the owner and designer want. From Day 1 of the bid going out to starting work on a building, the time involved could be months, involving constant coordination with everyone involved (architect, general contractor, stone manufacturer).
    Once the project is underway, D&H interfaces with the other construction disciplines in order for everyone to get their piece of the puzzle finished. “We try to work well with the other trades,” Ryan said.
    The largest contract to date in terms of monetary value was the La Porte High School, coming in at over $10 million.
    D&H have done work as far as Kingsville, Corpus Christi and San Antonio, but those are the exceptions.
    “We enjoy doing projects that are not typical,” Ryan said. “It’s a challenge for us, but fun. At the end of the day when we drive around greater Houston…it’s nice to be able to point and say, ‘Hey, we built that building.’ We go the extra mile to make sure it’s done properly and it’s done great.”
    Being the project executive means the project manager is the eye-on in the field. Thus, not getting a call from the field falls in the “no news is good news” category. But, Ryan said, “It’s nice on occasion to get the phone call that I did a great job.”
    Ryan said they have a great team who really care about what they do as a company. Many employees have been there over a decade, and several nearly 30 years. This experience adds value and continuity to the projects they work on.
    In terms of the future, both Ryan and Morgan have their own kids, but in keeping with Dad’s policy of not forcing the kids to follow suit in the family business, they will do the same. However, should a third generation of Knight kids do so, “it would be fun if they wanted to,” Ryan said.
    That will be just fine, as long as Dad’s emphasis on quality is carried on.
    D&H Masonry is a masonry subcontractor, based in Conroe. -dsz


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Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net