FW company lays groundwork

FW company lays groundwork

Gary and Cynthia Carter are exactly the type of people you want on your team. The husband-and-wife owners of Fort Worth-based Carter Construction Co. have combined their talents from different playing areas to build a successful athletic field business from the ground up.

A native of Fort Worth, Cynthia graduated with a business degree from TCU in 1980 and joined the family business, building houses and remodeling shopping centers for Sabine Valley Construction Co., founded by her late grandfather, C.P. Hadley.

She picked up different construction skills with her marriage to Carter, 48, a mechanical engineer and graduate of Texas Tech University who helped design, among other aircraft, the F-16, the B-22 and the 747.

I kept saying that with his knowledge and background and my experience building houses, we ought to do this together, she says.

In 1997, the couple launched their sports field construction company. Cynthia oversees daily operations as president; as vice president, Gary manages the technical side.

Carter, who is on site for every project, says the precision work is what attracted him to the sports field industry. Coming from the aircraft industry, I've always been interested with the operation precision work, he says. “I saw an article in a trade magazine about laser-controlled machines being used to build sports fields. I came home and told Cynthia we needed to get that on our equipment. We didn't even have a job yet for it but we were ready, he laughs.

An eye for detail Working directly with school districts, universities, municipal parks and recreation departments, Carter Construction builds all types of athletic fields, focusing on surfaces that encourage maximum safety, improved play and aesthetic beauty. Beginning with the excavation of the site, they do it all: laser grading, irrigation and drainage, grass installation, concrete flatwork, stadium construction, bleacher installation, and dugout and concession building.

Our success stems from our desire and ability to provide the best product possible, and that desire is evident to the customer from the top, and includes every one of our employees, says Cynthia Carter. We've been fortunate to hire and retain employees that are second to none. Many have been with us almost since inception and we wouldn't be here today without them.

During the 2006 state high school playoffs, 26 games were played on six of Carter's fields, including two title games.

Some of the company's artificial turf projects include Jones Stadium and the NCAA Soccer Complex at Texas Tech, Fouts Field at the University of North Texas and Gopher Stadium in Grand Prairie.

Natural turf projects, which require special attention to drainage and overall maintenance, include the softball fields in the Arlington and Colleyville school districts and the baseball and soccer fields at The Parks at Texas Star in Euless.

Working directly with school districts, universities, municipal parks and recreation departments, Carter Construction builds all types of athletic fields, focusing on surfaces that encourage maximum safety, improved play and aesthetic beauty. Beginning with the excavation of the site, they do it all: laser grading, irrigation and drainage, grass installation, concrete flatwork, stadium construction, bleacher installation, and dugout and concession building.

Drainage, Carter says, is the most important factor in building a field, whether artificial or natural.

Our football field drains better than any field I've ever seen, says Tim Buchanan, Aledo's athletic director. The foundation is the most important factor in a field and Gary went out of his way to ensure ours was the best. He's a perfectionist. It was like he owned the property himself. For construction, that's very uncommon.

Currently the company, which has 30 employees, is working on an indoor football practice field at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, its first out-of-state project.

The couple says their next goal is the biggest yet: they'll be bidding on the Cowboys new stadium and hope to get the nod.

What makes a good sports-field builder is the eye for detail and being almost artistic, Cynthia Carter says. You either have it or you don't. Gary has it, that eye for detail and quality and that's what helps us stand apart.

Contact Dillard at bdillard@bizpress.ne

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