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Home | SAN ANTONIO | Spotlight | Spotlight - Mark Lopez, CEO; Efrain Perez, CFO; San Antonio Concepts Construction LLC

Spotlight - Mark Lopez, CEO; Efrain Perez, CFO; San Antonio Concepts Construction LLC

image Mark Lopez CEO; Efrain Perez CFO; San Antonio Concepts Construction LLC

SAN ANTONIO - Next year, Mark Lopez and Efrain Perez will celebrate 10 years of pouring curbs, sidewalks, drive-ways, ramps and more. Their friendship however, was cemented before San Antonio Concepts Construction LLC was ever started.





How did your backgrounds intersect?
Efrain: I was born here in the U.S. and my family moved us to Mexico when I was 7 years old. I lived there for more than 30 years and was an architect for large companies there. I came back to the U.S. in 2005 and I started at here at an architecture firm. I then moved to Image Homes as a carpenter and from there I was designing a house in San Antonio.
    A project manager who was working at The Rim was inquiring for someone to give data to the surveyors. He needed someone who knew AutoCAD pretty well and since I was familiar with the system, I took over the position. They started giving me more responsibilities; I become a project control representative. I dealt with quantities and ordering project materials.
Mark: I got started in construction very young. My father works with H.B. Zachry, a large corporation out of San Antonio, where I started as a surveyor. I was working and going to college at University of Texas at San Antonio. I received a job offer as project manager out at The Rim, the shopping center here in San Antonio. I managed that for four years and it’s where Efrain and I started working together.
Efrain: We opened the first store, Best Buy, at The Rim.

How did you go from colleagues to business partners?
    Mark: From there, we had all of the right contacts here in San Antonio. We were introduced to several city entities – CPS, SAWS, VIA, CoSA, ETC. – with San Antonio. People got familiar with us and we built a good rapport. We started San Antonio Concepts Construction in 2009 from scratch with about 15 employees.
Efrain: We wanted to form a company in which we could display our experience and talent to its fullest. Our services include concrete, curbs, sidewalks, handicap ramps, concrete paving, driveways, hardscapes and retaining walls. With our combined years of experience in not only the residential side of construction, but also the commercial group, we as a team have worked on multimillion-dollar projects with much success.

What was starting a business at the beginning of the recession like?

Mark: It was slow. People thought we were crazy going into business at that time to be honest! They would say, “Well, you picked a damn good time to get started!” But the only way was up.
    To go hand in hand with that, we hooked up with the right person who had substantial work with the city of San Antonio and that was through a dear friend from Clark Construction of Texas Inc. We networked and [promoted ourselves] through word of mouth; our reputation preceded us from our days working at The Rim, so people gave us n opportunity. I think our first year we started with a million dollars in sales and now have grown to over $5 million.

What has been your favorite project?
Efrain: The Rim. When we started our company and was hired by Thomas Enterprises as a subcontractor, it was a great feeling to know we had come full circle and to actually finish what we started.

What strengths do each of you bring to the business?

Mark: I bring experience and probably a lot of shoot-from-the-hip, go-getter type of attitude. Efrain handles the office aspect of it all; he’s the administration brainiac.

What do you enjoy about your work?
Mark: I enjoy being my own boss. That’s basically what drives me is having the weight on my shoulders to provide for about 40 employees right now and make sure their families are fed. That gets me up every morning. A lot relies on what I do. My actions, ambition and self-motivation is what keeps me going. 

Did you learn from working for other companies what you would do differently in your own company?

Mark: Yes, absolutely; I would say 100% to that. With age you get wiser and you learn from things. We try to avoid the mistakes made in the past and push that on to the younger generation that we mentor. Of course everybody learns as they go and there are some learning curves. I would say it’s about taking a different approach, a more calm, open-minded attitude now that I’m 40, as far as my employees and getting feedback from them. They’re the soldiers on the ground and a lot of what they say we take into consideration. We make sure that we’re listening to them. We have a very small turnover ratio. A lot of the 40-something employees right now, we consider them family; they’ve been here as long as we’ve been in business. I think that says a lot about our character and how we take care of them.

What ways have you found to bond with your employees?
Mark: Backyard barbecues and some cold ones.

How does San Antonio Concepts Con-struction give back to the community?

Mark: We’ve been so busy here lately, but in the past we did some charity work for the San Antonio Lighthouse school for the blind. We also did some Americans with Disabilities Act work such as handicap accessible ramps. Some of our employees donate their time here in San Antonio for an organization called “Any Baby Can of San Antonio.” They do an annual walk every year to raise awareness for Autism. The donations from the walk help assist low-income families who have a child and/or adult with disabilities that may need additional assessments, tests or therapeutic services.

Next year, San Antonio Concepts Construction will celebrate its 10-year anniversary. Do you have plans to celebrate this milestone?

Mark: Maybe we’ll have a large banquet hall and invite the families to recognize all employees; especially the foreman and site superintendent. A nice dinner and milestone gifts to show our appreciation.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Mark: When I’m not really thinking about work, I like to spend time with my 8-year-old son and try to make up for the lost time. I speak on behalf of all of us that we cherish our family’s presence and I know it sounds cliché, but I think that family time is what we look forward too.

What do you hope the future holds for your business?
Mark: I think that when Efrain and I started, we said that we wanted to make this a family business. I’m hoping – and I’m sure he’s hoping, his sons and daughter – that when it’s all said and done, we have our kids in the future with a title and position here in this company. We want to say that we left our legacy and now it’s time for someone else to grab the reins and take over. I think between our children, we’re covered. Efrain’s 16 year old does some clerical work at our office and is currently taking classes to major in business.

Would you say that you have achieved what you set out to do?

Mark: For me, going into business is one thing that I really wanted to do years ago. We’re trying to stay on the right path to achieve our dreams. For me, it was simply to be my own boss. We can’t wish for it. We have to work for it.
    San Antonio Concepts Construction LLC is a subcontractor based in San Antonio. –mjm

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Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net