Terra Construction began in 2007 as Terra General Contractors with just six employees from the merging of two previous entities. Since then, our roster has grown to support the growth of the firm and continue to deliver successful projects in the construction markets that we serve.
Christian Commercial, Inc. (General Contractor) and Terra Development, Inc. (Development Company) were started by some local entrepreneurs. The first project was the development and construction of our current office building in Rogers, MN.
Tom Brown was hired to manage the construction and development company after spending the first 18 years of his career working in the Twin Cities construction industry. The site improvements for the Great River Centre of Otsego in cooperation with Ryan Companies' new Target store was the most significant project of the year.
Tom Brown acquired majority interest in the company in July 2007. With a new name, Terra General Contractors, we were well grounded and becoming better known in the industry. Significant projects started/completed this year were for Union Congregational Church, Cretex Companies, EDCO, Anna’s Bananas and Fremont Place.
Tom Brown compliments Jon Pate of Pate Bonding for supporting Terra during our infancy. “Jon provided Terra with $4.5M in bonding capacity based mainly on our personal relationship and understanding that we would carefully manage our risks,” says Tom Brown. “Today Pate Bonding is our bonding agent and we are loyal to those who put their trust in us. We come to work each day with that same attitude and we value the trust that our clients have placed in us.”
During a time of uncertainty in the construction industry, Terra was able to secure construction consulting work on Airport Noise Mitigation projects around the country. This along with contracts from Century College and Southwest Minnesota State University steadied the firm during the 2007-2009 recession that impacted construction opportunities throughout the country.
Working through the end of the recession, Terra’s accountant hired us to remodel their offices. We continued to consult on national aviation sound insulation projects and completed our first historic restoration at the Mound Pump House. New clients, Metro Transit, Carleton College, Minnesota State (formerly MnSCU), Delta Airlines and the Metropolitan Airports Commission provided Terra the spark they needed.
With a renewed energy, Terra was able to gain traction in two significant markets, Tenant Interiors and Higher Education. Our first significant interiors project was for SRF Consulting and Carlson Real Estate. Minnesota State (formerly MnSCU) selected us for St. Cloud State University's North Shoemaker Hall Renovation. Additional projects this year were for the Animal Humane Society, Anchor Bank, Schawk and RBC.
Terra’s long-term relationship with Carleton College was established this year. Carleton awarded Terra a difficult elevator and link addition to Burton and Davis Halls. Carleton’s Facility Director, Steve Spehn, asked Tom Brown, “Are you sure you want this to be your first project at Carleton?” Tom’s response was “Absolutely!” and the project managed by Tom and Mitch Hueman showed Carleton our commitment.
It is critical to the success of any company to be asked to complete more work for the same client. Metro Mold & Design hired Terra multiple times this year. The Animal Humane Society contracted with Terra again for the Kindest Cut project in Golden Valley, MN. Cretex Companies hired Terra for their new concrete pipe plant in Hawley, MN and Minnesota State (formerly MnSCU) selected Terra for the Minnesota West Community & Technical College's Worthington Fieldhouse and Saint Cloud State University’s East-West Shoemaker Hall Renovations. In addition, we continued to see revenue growth in Tenant Interiors.
Terra was steadily growing, adding new employees and clients to the mix. Our first two University of Minnesota projects were completed. This was the same year that we met our friends at Krista Tippett Public Productions - The OnBeing Project. Upon the project’s completion we held a joint holiday event. We started working in the 701 Building for CBRE and Hennepin County.
A year of FIRSTS. Market expansion and market growth were going to be important for Terra as we continued to expand. Terra secured our first significant healthcare project for Hennepin Healthcare (formerly Hennepin County Medical Center), a medical clinic in downtown Minneapolis. The City of Maplewood’s Fire & Police Department South Station was Terra’s first public safety project and the first building using Minnesota’s Green Building initiative. We completed our first project in the city of Moorhead for Minnesota State University-Moorhead and were awarded our first significant Historic Renovation/Restoration on Scoville Hall at Carleton College.
Terra’s offices located in Rogers, MN continued to provide easy access to all of our clients. More than ever, our office location provided easy access for the work we would start to complete this year for Independent School District (ISD) 728 (Rogers, Elk River, Otsego & Zimmerman). Terra was selected for multiple projects for ISD 728’s $98M Bond Referendum that included Rogers High School's 3rd Wing Addition and Auditorium, Rogers Elementary School remodel and multiple other ISD 728 projects. Repeat clients Carleton College and Minnesota State (formerly MnSCU) selected Terra for projects on campuses in Northfield, Bemidji and Saint Cloud, MN.
We experienced internal growth in 2016. Longtime employee, Ben Newlin, became a partner. Ben had been with the firm since 2008 and as a leader he was recognized for his commitment to the culture and growth of the organization. Terra is fortunate to have loyal staff that have collaborated internally and externally to support this growth. Terra expanded and remodeled our offices in Rogers, MN and leased warehouse space for our shop operations, tools and equipment storage in Plymouth, MN. This additional location provided our field staff with a flexible location closer to the urban core.
This was a year that we saw our experience and perseverance pay dividends. Terra’s work for Hennepin Healthcare's (formerly Hennepin County Medical Center) Psychiatry Department and their Crisis Residence that was constructed in South Minneapolis allowed us to become involved in many mental health facility expansions and renovations. Our services provided for ISD 728 led us to be considered and selected for the two-year Salk Middle School renovation. The College of Saint Benedict selected us to construct their new athletic complex in St. Joseph, MN. With the results of these successes, we added staff for our internal accounting and administrative services.
At the first of the year we welcomed new partner, Jason Whiting, to our ownership team. As an employee for five years, Jason provided Terra with a steady hand related to improving our processes in both project management and safety. In an effort to reflect our new leadership and promoting consistency in our brand, Terra General Contractors became Terra Construction. This subtle change will reflect our organizations mission and core values of fostering open communication, collaboration, honesty, and respect in pursuit of well-built relationships.
Terra’s success is due to the efforts of our past and present employees. We strongly believe our employees are our greatest asset. We make an effort to engage all of our staff in the decision making process within our organization. The results from this create reliable and more effective communication and overall satisfaction for our employees and our clients. Our foundation is built on honesty, integrity and trust.
Our accomplishments are also impacted by our service providers. These include subcontractors, suppliers of material and equipment, and the design community. Our business model is such that we are only as effective as each project team member and the successes we have are shared amongst our project partners.
The partners of Terra believe our story will continue to be told for years to come.