Van Martin, BBA ’81

Tribble & Stephens Constructors | Chairman & CEO

by Kristin Todd

Van Martin is a people person. Good thing he is because Martin has worked with hundreds of different clients throughout his career in the real estate industry. “Relationships and partnerships are everything to our business,” Martin said. “This business is not just about bricks and mortar and all other components that go into constructing a building, but rather building those buildings on a partnership basis.”

Business partnerships definitely serve as the backbone to Houston-based Tribble & Stephens Constructors-in fact, the company’s tagline is “The Partnership Builder.”

“Repeat clients account for about 70 percent of our business,” he said. “We are involved in all phases of a project, from the conceptual stage to completion. It is fulfilling to see those projects evolve from plans on paper to fruition because of a team effort.”

Martin said it is also important to “walk the talk” in business by working hard and being persistent. “Hard work does pay off,” he said. “Gain the respect of your clients and people by being proactive vs. reactive. If there is a problem that needs to be addressed, take care of it immediately. Everyone is always watching everything you do, and how you handle situations.”

He urges current business school students to become involved with the real estate industry by participating in internships, including jobsite work to project management assistance. Martin himself began working in construction during summer and winter breaks while attending Baylor. “Most large construction companies offer internships,” he said. “This is a great learning tool and opportunity to gain hands-on experience, as well as establish contacts in the business prior to graduation.”

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