SAN ANTONIO – As the country pulls out of the Great Recession, Yantis Company has come out on the other side of the downturn just in time to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary.
The civil infrastructure contractor has overcome economic challenges since its inception. At the age of 33, founder John Yantis was unemployed and started the company with $1,000 he had and a borrowed $9,000. He was able to turn enough profit on the first job to keep the business going.
Today at 83, Yantis is chairman emeritus of the company he established in 1965. His son, J. Mike Yantis, is chairman, and his son’s sons, Mike Yantis Jr. and Matt Yantis, are leading the company as CEO and president, respectively. In the most recent internal development, Arnold Briones, PE, joined the third generation of leadership late last year as COO with the distinction of being the first owner outside of the Yantis family. Briones started with the company in 2007.
“We’re really excited,” says Mike Yantis Jr. of the anniversary. “We’ve done a lot of different projects around San Antonio. It’s really neat for my grandfather to just be able to look back at some of the things he has done and accomplished.”
After running the company for years, John was joined by J. Mike in the early ‘80s. In the early 2000s, Mike and Matt came on board. Mike estimates that they will do around $75 million this year. Though they have traveled, most of their work is in San Antonio.
Covering everything civil, Yantis does earthwork, utilities, paving and concrete drainage. Most of their work involves subdivision infrastructure for big builders, and they also do commercial and public work.
“I’ll always consider it my grandfather’s company,” Mike comments. “So, [the 50th anniversary] is a neat moment for me to be able to say that we’ve come this far from something that he started from literally scratch.
“We were able to go through the ups and downs of the market – through the challenges they had in the ‘80s when things were horrible, they were able to find Six Flags Fiesta Texas and the Wal-Mart Distribution Center. They were able to find big jobs that kept the company going, kept everybody employed and made it.
“For me personally, a huge challenge was the Great Recession and how that changed our company. I’m really proud that we were able to go through that – a horrible housing downturn, a commercial downturn – and be able to diversify our workload enough to keep everybody employed and still come out on the other end and be here now when things are better.”
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