Spotlight On: Eric Gilbert, Principal & Vice President of Corporate Development, Scott + Reid General Contractors, Inc.

Spotlight On: Eric Gilbert, Principal & Vice President of Corporate Development, Scott + Reid General Contractors, Inc.

2 min read April 2023 Scott + Reid is already adjusting to ensure it is ready for a possible economic slump. “Our success has always been built on our ability to work with repeat clients and understand their needs. And in this new market our ability to pivot with our clients is what’s going to make us successful,” Eric Gilbert, principal and vice president of corporate development of the company, told Invest:

What have been the major highlights and milestones for the firm over the past year?

North Texas continues to boast a strong and steady market, making it an attractive place for people to live, work, and relocate to. However, the economy is constantly changing, and this has had an impact on the banking and real estate development industries. Despite this, we’ve been fortunate enough to continue our work on contracts that were signed last year, before the economic landscape shifted. This has resulted in a strong backlog of work that has exceeded our initial expectations and put us in a better financial position than we anticipated. Looking ahead, we’re using this success to forecast responsibly in 2024.

What is your analysis of the state of the industry in North Texas? 

Overall, we’re in a very good spot right now. North Texas is an attractive place for companies to relocate, and we still have favorable housing options and plenty of land available for development. Plus, we have the advantage of being able to go after business as a region, rather than just focusing on individual cities. 

However, the current state of the debt and equity markets is presenting some challenges right now. Interest rates are no longer as low as they were a year or two ago, which is making it difficult for some projects to secure financing. We’re closely monitoring the players in the market that are trying to refinance their class-A offices. There’s still a lot of uncertainty around how that will play out, especially with what banks are underwriting and willing to keep on their books. It’s something we’re keeping a close eye on.

How important is preconstruction in your business? 

Preconstruction is a critical aspect of our business, and we’ve been heavily investing in building our preconstruction team over the past few years. We believe that having a strong preconstruction team is essential to the front end of any deal. When you’re pricing a project, you’re going through several iterations, and a strong preconstruction team helps you get the most accurate pricing possible. 

Preconstruction is the science of building a project on paper before you even start construction. For example, on a project we’re currently working on, we spent nine months in preconstruction. This allowed us to derive price certainty before beginning purchasing and project build-out. With the markets becoming financially tighter, end users want to know exactly what their number is going to be, and  preconstruction services provide that. By focusing on preconstruction, we’re able to provide our clients with the most accurate pricing and help ensure the project’s success from the very beginning. 

How are you navigating the current economy?

As a company that’s been in business for 30 years, we’ve weathered our fair share of economic storms. We knew this was coming, so we’ve made the necessary adjustments to keep our business platform strong. As a privately held company, we’re able to stay focused on what’s most important: building strong relationships with our clients and providing the services they need.

Our success has always been built on our ability to work with repeat clients and understand their needs. And in this new market, our ability to pivot with our clients is what’s going to make us successful. We’re always looking for new ways to help our clients navigate this changing economy, and we’re committed to being right there with them every step of the way.  

What projects are you most proud of? 

There are numerous projects that we’re really proud of. Most importantly, I am proud of the project teams and all the effort they put forth each year to deliver exceptional work. But to answer the question of projects, a few that we have on-going or have recently completed come to mind: Haynes and Boone, Pegasus Park, 1900 North Akard, Lincoln Centre, and The Centrum. Now, I say those in no specific order, but these definitely have reminded us of why we do what we do. They represent Scott + Reid. Past, present, and future.  

What are some key technological elements that are impacting the day-to-day business?  

The most important piece of technology that we have and are constantly upgrading is the telephone. 

In all seriousness, technology is constantly evolving, and we’re always looking for new ways to streamline our work and improve our processes. One innovation that’s been particularly impactful is the ever-changing world of software. We’re constantly exploring new software tools that can help us work more efficiently and effectively.

We’re also watching AI, 3D printing, and virtual reality technology create niches within the industry. Scott + Reid recently started using OpenSpace to create virtual walk-throughs throughout the life of projects and are seeing the time and cost savings for project stakeholders.

What are the infrastructure challenges in North Texas?

As you know, North Texas has been seeing a tremendous amount of growth over the past few years, which is fantastic for our economy. However, with growth comes challenges, particularly when it comes to infrastructure. One of the key challenges is transportation and highways. With so many people moving here, traffic has become a major concern. We need to make sure our infrastructure can handle the growth and that we’re investing in transportation projects that will help alleviate congestion. 

Another challenge is making sure we have the tax base to support this growth. It’s important that we’re fiscally responsible to all the people who are already here, while also bringing new companies and investment. It’s a delicate balance, but one that we’re focused on. Overall, I’m confident that we can meet these infrastructure challenges and continue to drive growth in North Texas.

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