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Beyond the green stuff

image Justin Hitchcock, president/CEO of JTEX Contracting Incorporated

SAN ANTONIO - Sometimes people refer to hydro seeding as “spraying out the green stuff,” but Justin Hitchcock didn’t know what that “green stuff” or the technique was until he came across it during a trip to Mississippi. The discovery occurred when he was visiting his then-girlfriend-now-wife Freda’s father, who was involved with large civil engineering projects for the Corps of Engineers.



    “There was a guy hydro seeding and people referred to it as spraying out the green stuff,” Justin remembers. “I asked [Freda’s dad] what they were doing and he said he was hydro seeding – where you mix the seed, fertilizer and mulch all together – and he’s applying it to the levee that we built.”
    What was said next, took a turn toward opportunity.
    “[Freda’s dad] told me, ‘Can you believe it? I’m paying that guy a million dollars to do that,’” Justin recalls. “I said, ‘Well, I could do that.’”
    A year later, Justin found himself back in Texas researching erosion control, hydro seeding and the machines used to do so. Justin’s “could do” turned into “would do” in 2008, when he established the family-owned-and-operated company JTEX Contracting Incorporated. Justin is the current president and CEO.
    “Fast-forward to 11 years later and we’ve got three hydro seeding machines, two tractors, a drill seeder and two bail processors. We just kept growing and rolled with it,” he says.
    JTEX concentrates a lot of their business on large hydro seeding, drill seeding and silt fence projects. Those are the three focuses the company services that are structured around large projects, meaning 30 acres plus.
    “We’ve been real successful in this specialty unique business that really wasn’t very popular at the time 11 years ago,” Justin says. “What we’ve had success in is a lot of the landscaping companies that are here in San Antonio and Houston, who have subcontracted us.”
    JTEX is located in San Antonio, but much of JTEX’s work can currently be found in the Houston area, as they are completing hydro seeding for levees. They also do work in Louisiana and Mississippi. Justin says the unique part about the job in Houston is it is out on an island called spoil tips.
    “They are basically trenching the Houston ship channels. They have to pump that material onto an island, which is what they call a spoil tip. Once they’ve pumped that material, the civil engineering companies that we work with go in to shape and build levees,” explained Justin, who notes that those levees can range from 30 to 100 acres. “When they are done, they have to put grass on them to keep them from eroding. We go out there and grass them on the islands, so we are barging our equipment out of ship barges, taking boats back and forth.”
    Justin points out that the company has been successful in the endeavor, and that there are not a handful of people who could do it. Then again, Justin is someone who takes a “could do” scenario and turns it into a “would do.”
    Justin never thought the company would be where it is today, yet it continues to provide to the construction industry the popular hydro and drill seeding method. While Justin runs the overall business tasks, his brother-in-law, Travis, helps run operations while Freda is in charge of bookkeeping. There are a total of eight employees, all of which are close friends or family to Justin and his brother-in-law.
    Justin, along with Travis, also plays a role in the company’s name JTEX Contracting. J stands for Justin and T represents
Travis, but what about the letters E and X? Well, the E is for erosion and the X is for experts – “Justin, Travis erosion experts.”
    Justin has come a long way from witnessing “green stuff” being sprayed to now being an erosion control expert.
    JTEX Contracting Incorporated is an erosion control contractor in San Antonio, TX. –lv

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Lexie Velasquez lexie@constructionnews.net