Contruction Today - July/August 2017 - 60
Commercial | T-BONE CONSTRUCTION INC.
division started in January and is already
licensed to perform underground fuel
work in 34 states. True to T-Bone's in-house
strategy, the division also handles general
service and maintenance work such as tile
repair and electrical wiring.
"Everybody is excited they finally have a
GC that can not only build the store but do
the fuel at the same time," Pyle says.
In the first six months since the division
was founded, the fuel service team finished
its first Kroger King Soopers gas station and
began working on a new Safeway store with
fuel kiosks and underground retention
ponds. Although it has done two ground-up
construction projects so far, the company
also can perform repair and maintenance
jobs or even act as the fuel service subcontractor for other general contractors.
"That's what lights them up," Pyle says
of T-Bone's clients. "We can do from start to
finish to maintenance after it opens."
Fueling infrastructure is a specialized field
not unlike HVAC systems or plumbing.
Building a new division around fuel service
required finding experienced people that
could bring their knowledge to T-Bone.
Here, too, Pyle's understanding of the
industry was an asset. Because he was
familiar with contractors that provided fuel
service, Pyle was able to identify talented
people within the field and recruited them
"Through my connections working with
Love's, I know just about every petroleum
company in the United States and who is
good and who is not," he says.
But finding experienced people was only
part of building a qualified team. Making
sure their work met all requirements and
safety standards was equally important.
Pyle believes that one of the problems in
the fuel service field is the overuse of temporary laborers and insufficient oversight
from project managers. If a supervisor is
only on site once a week, he or she is bound
to miss critical details, and temporary
workers often lack proper HAZMAT and
safety training. T-Bone wanted to build
a better kind of team, so the company is
investing more in training for all its fuel
"With my group here, before anyone
went out and did a single job, they all went
through training," Pyle says.
The fuel service team now has seven
team members, including Pyle, and the
installation crew is still growing. Those
technicians will provide service to customers in remote regions where it is difficult to
secure timely service. T-Bone will expand
with customer demand. "We will set them
up anywhere in the country if the need is
there," Pyle says.
Setting up its network according to
customer need is another way T-Bone is
doing things differently. Most fuel service
companies give their technicians a 150-mile
protected radius. Having a territory all to
themselves works out well for the technicians, but it diminishes competition and
can result in worse service for the customer,
Pyle says. Instead, T-Bone will locate its
technicians in ways to foster competition
and drive better results.
T-Bone wants to grow its fuel service
division through its people. Employees will
receive on-site training and then be put into
supervisory roles where they can teach the
next crop of team members. Expansion will
occur only alongside its workforce. "Part of
the problem the industry has right now is
everyone takes on all the projects they can
but they don't have the people to do the
work," Pyle says.
Pyle's strategy is to hire young people
who have only been in the industry for
a year or two. That way, he can teach his
methods and train them to his standards,
as opposed to trying to rewire the processes
an industry veteran has learned over their
"You've got to have the guys willing to be
flexible enough to change and grow with
the industry," he says. "I can train anybody
in this business. The guys I like have ambition and integrity."
The company's new fuel services
division reduces the need for outside
subcontractors on gas station projects.
CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM JULY/AUGUST 2017