Tella Firma: News Release

TELLA FIRMA FOUNDATIONS ANNOUNCES NEW HEAVY-DUTY COMMERCIAL LIFTING MECHANISM FOR ITS PATENTED ELEVATED FOUNDATION PROCESS

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Commercial builders now have a cost-effective solution for larger size projects based on technology proven successful in light commercial applications

(DALLAS—October 10, 2017) Tella Firma Foundations today announced a new heavy-duty commercial version lifting mechanism that is the cornerstone of its successful and patented elevated slab-on-grade foundation technology that has been used in more than 1,000 building sites in Texas and surrounding states.

TellaFirma_HeavyDuty_MechanismThe heavy-duty commercial lifting mechanism is designed for heavier commercial structures that are either large in size or have heavy load requirements such as concrete block interior or exterior walls. The heavy-duty lifting mechanism will allow the structural engineer to increase the spacing between piers because each lifting mechanism can carry a heavier load. The increased spacing will reduce the number of piers required for a typical commercial foundation design and make it more cost effective.

The Tella Firma foundation system is based on commercial engineering principles in practice for more than 50 years. The new mechanism can handle approximately double the load of the standard lifting mechanism. Tella Firma has conducted significant testing and analysis to ensure the new heavy-duty commercial lifting mechanism performs well in terms of both axial and lateral load capacity, wind load capacity, and life expectancy.

According to Jim Fontaine, CEO of Tella Firma, the company continues to innovate and collaborate with the commercial construction industry to develop new sustainable solutions for commercial projects based on their expressed needs. “Now commercial builders have a more cost effective means to take advantage of a solution that has been proven successful in the many foundation installations where our company has provided the technology,” he said.

The new product is currently being considered for several new commercial structures under design, including a school and a city municipal building. Many Independent School District (ISD) and other government buildings require either a crawl space or elevated slab solution, making this a primary market for the Tella Firma product.

Innovation through Technology
A Tella Firma lifting mechanism is an enabling component for the process of elevating a slab-on-grade foundation above the ground to create a protective void between the slab and the soil. This innovation isolates the foundation, helping to protect it from damaging soil swells, contractions and movements that may occur in many areas of Texas and the Southwest region, where active soils can cause foundation problems due to movement and settlement.

The Tella Firma lifting mechanism consists of a load-bearing imbed plate that sits atop a pile, a lifting bolt, which bears against the imbed plate, a threaded puck, cast in the bottom of the slab, which accepts the lifting bolt, and a sleeve and cap which prevent concrete slurry from fouling the puck threads during slab concrete placement. The new heavy duty mechanism works with either post-tension or rebar reinforced slabs, and includes a larger lifting puck and larger, heavier bolt to withstand the additional load.

The new heavy-grade commercial lifting mechanism increases the lateral load capacity of the foundation by two to three times. Analysis indicates the solution has a life expectancy of over 100 years under normal conditions.

About Tella Firma Foundations
Dallas-based Tella Firma is a construction technology firm that is revolutionizing the way foundations are built. Tella Firma gets its name from the Latin words meaning “strong home.” Foundations with the company’s product have been installed in residential and light commercial projects in Texas and Colorado, and the company continues to expand into new markets throughout the region. For additional information, visit tellafirma.com.

TELLA FIRMA FOUNDATIONS NAMES RICHARD HOLOMAN, FINANCIAL INDUSTRY VETERAN, TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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Former PricewaterhouseCoopers executive brings combination of industry and strategic financial experience to board position

Richard_Holoman(DALLAS—August 22, 2017) Tella Firma Foundations, a company that is revolutionizing the construction industry, today announced that it has added Richard (Dick) Holoman as an independent outside director to its board of directors. Holoman spent more than 30 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers and its predecessor Price Waterhouse, in roles involving strategic finance, consulting, and large account management.

Holoman joined Price Waterhouse in 1976 in Charlotte, N.C., and was admitted to the partnership in 1987. His significant industry experience spans financial institutions, oil field services, construction and engineering, automotive retailing, and U.S. inbound investment. Functionally, he has helped clients with many complex problems (domestic and foreign), including mergers and acquisitions, cross-border and cash repatriation strategies, and tax and financial controversies. Upon retirement in 2010, he continued significant teaching responsibilities for the firm for several years.

According to Jim Fontaine, CEO of Tella Firma Foundations, “We are very pleased that Dick has agreed to lend his significant industry and financial experience to the Tella Firma board, and we look forward to his counsel as we take advantage of market opportunities and manage our growth.”

Holoman has held board positions with Vedero Software, prior to its merger with Murata Electronics (Japan), as well as DxUpClose, an early stage in vitro diagnostic company. He previously held board positions with the Charlotte Choral Society, Orpheus Chamber Singers, The Vogel Alcove, and The Dallas Opera. Holoman was an advanced course instructor for the U.S. Army at the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, Virginia. He earned an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a bachelor’s degree in music education from East Carolina University.

The Tella Firma foundation system has been used by dozens of builders, with more than 1,000 foundations installed, and is backed by seven issued patents. Tella Firma foundations are designed to protect a building’s foundation from damaging active soil movement with a field-tested process of elevating a slab-on-grade foundation using piers, creating a protective void between the ground and the foundation itself. This application isolates the slab from active soils and guards it from unexpected movement. Tella Firma’s solution is an environmentally friendly, green installation process that avoids the need for any type of chemical or water injection into the soil as part of construction.

About Tella Firma Foundations
Dallas-based Tella Firma is a construction technology firm that is revolutionizing the way foundations are built. Tella Firma gets its name from the Latin words meaning “strong home.” Foundations with the company’s product have been installed in residential and light commercial projects in Texas and Colorado, and the company continues to expand into new markets throughout the region. For additional information, visit tellafirma.com.

TELLA FIRMA FOUNDATIONS SURPASSES 1,000TH FOUNDATION MILESTONE

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Tella Firma Foundations Surpasses  1,000th Foundation Milestone, Celebrates Installation at Lennar’s Parkside Development in Irving, Texas

Milestone signifies Tella Firma’s strategic move toward volume home builders

Lenar_Homes_TellaFirma(IRVING, Texas—May 17, 2017) Tella Firma Foundations (www.tellafirma.com) announced today that the company’s elevated foundation solution has been purchased and installed in 1,000 homes to date, as Tella Firma accelerates its growth strategy throughout Texas and the Southwest.

Tella Firma’s partnership with Lennar Homes exemplifies Tella Firma’s strategic transition to work with volume builders of subdivision communities, in addition to the company’s initial focus on custom home builders. Tella Firma signed an exclusive agreement with Lennar in 2015 to bring its elevated slab foundations to the Parkside development in Irving, Texas, marking the first such agreement to work with a volume builder. Subsequent agreements have included volume deals with Pacesetter Homes and Avi Homes, both for the Whisper Valley planned community in East Austin. As Tella Firma continues to ramp up this aspect of its growth strategy, the company expects to reach 10,000 foundation installations per year within the next five years.

“This achievement demonstrates the success of Tella Firma’s innovative solution, not only among custom home builders but among some of the nation’s most prominent production builders as well,” said Jim Fontaine, CEO of Tella Firma. “We are experiencing greater acceptance of our product among all home builders, not only because it represents a cost-effective option, but also because builders recognize that our foundations can be a key selling point for homebuyers based on the quality and long-term value.”

In many areas of Texas and the Southwest region, active soils can cause foundation problems due to movement and settlement. By using a field-tested, patented process of elevating a slab-on-grade foundation using piers, Tella Firma creates a protective void between the ground and the foundation itself. This application isolates the slab from active soils and guards it from unexpected movement. It also significantly reduces the risk of cracks and movement in conventional slabs that typically occur in later years.

“Lennar is known for its commitment to quality, value and integrity as the underlying foundation upon which our company was built,” said John Bishop, Vice President of Construction for Lennar Homes. “These principles are demonstrated further through our partnership with Tella Firma for the Parkside development. We have implemented the Tella Firma system in Parkside for almost two years, and have received positive feedback from our homebuyers.”

The Tella Firma foundation system is based on commercial engineering principles in practice for over 50 years. Tella Firma foundations utilize a green installation process to avoid the need for any type of chemical or water injection into the soil under the foundation. In addition, the air pocket created under the slab provides an insulation layer between the floor of the home and the ground.

About Lennar Homes

Lennar Corporation, founded in 1954, is one of the nation’s largest builders of quality homes for all generations. The Company builds affordable, move-up and retirement homes primarily under the Lennar brand name. Lennar’s Financial Services segment provides mortgage financing, title insurance and closing services for both buyers of the Company’s homes and others. Lennar’s Rialto segment is a vertically integrated asset management platform focused on investing throughout the commercial real estate capital structure. Lennar’s Multifamily segment is a nationwide developer of high-quality multifamily rental properties. Previous press releases and further information about the Company may be obtained at the “Investor Relations” section of the Company’s website, www.lennar.com.

About Tella Firma Foundations

Dallas-based Tella Firma is a construction technology firm that is revolutionizing the way home foundations are built. Tella Firma gets its name from the Latin words meaning “strong home.” Foundations with the company’s product have been installed in residential and light commercial projects in Texas and Colorado, and the company continues to expand into new markets throughout the region. For additional information, visit tellafirma.com.

MERITAGE HOMES SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH TELLA FIRMA FOUNDATIONS FOR PATENTED SLAB FOUNDATION TECHNOLOGY

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Meritage Homes Signs Agreement With Tella Firma Foundations For Patented Slab Foundation Technology

Tella Firma’s slab lifting mechanisms and helical piers to be utilized throughout two new subdivisions under development in Irving, Texas

MeritageHomes_2(DALLAS—March 21, 2017) Meritage Homes (www.meritagehomes.com), the nation’s eighth-largest homebuilder, and Tella Firma Foundations (www.tellafirma.com), a Dallas-based technology construction firm, announced today that Meritage has signed an agreement to incorporate Tella Firma’s innovative elevated slab foundation in 100% of all new Meritage homes that will be built in the Villas at Las Colinas and Enclave at Northgate communities in Irving, Texas.

As part of this agreement, Meritage Homes will utilize Tella Firma’s complete slab foundation system, which includes an integrated slab lifting mechanism and modern steel helical piers to elevate the foundation off the ground and provide a protective void from active clay soils. Recognized for its distinctive style, quality construction and energy-efficient homes, Meritage Homes selected Tella Firma’s patented system to provide an affordable and innovative solution with the highest level of performance for the foundations they are building in Irving.

“We are known for setting the standard in energy efficiency and in many other aspects of design and construction that make a difference in the lives of our homeowners,” said Stephanie MacLean, division president of Meritage Homes. “Tella Firma gives the home a commercial quality foundation and also includes a 10-year warranty that gives us and our homebuyers peace of mind.”

In many areas of Texas, active soils can cause foundation problems due to movement and settlement. By using a field-tested, patented process of elevating a slab-on-grade foundation using piers, Tella Firma creates a protective void between the ground and the foundation itself. This application isolates the slab from active soils and guards it from unexpected movement.

“Meritage Homes embraces the vision of applying advanced technology to alleviate some of the problems that have plagued the home building industry in Texas,” said Jim Fontaine, CEO of Tella Firma Foundations. “Tella Firma provides a complete system that includes a slab lifting mechanism and modern steel helical piers. The helical piers replace traditional concrete piers but can be installed in a fraction of the time. We’re excited to partner with a recognized industry leader on this project.”

The Tella Firma foundation system is based on commercial engineering principles in practice for over 50 years. Tella Firma foundations utilize a green installation process to avoid the need for any type of chemical or water injection into the soil under the foundation. In addition, the air pocket created under the slab provides an insulation layer between the floor of the home and the ground.

About Meritage
Meritage Homes is the eighth-largest public homebuilder in the United States, based on homes closed in 2016. Meritage Homes builds and sells single-family homes for first-time, move-up, luxury and active adult buyers across the Western, Southern and Southeastern United States. Meritage Homes builds in markets including Sacramento, San Francisco Bay area, southern coastal and Inland Empire markets in California; Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Phoenix/Scottsdale, Green Valley and Tucson, Arizona; Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado; Orlando, Tampa and south Florida; Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina; Greenville-Spartanburg and York County, South Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; and Atlanta, Georgia.

Meritage Homes has designed and built over 100,000 homes in its 31-year history, and has a reputation for its distinctive style, quality construction, and positive customer experience. Meritage Homes is the industry leader in energy-efficient homebuilding and has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for Sustained Excellence Award every year since 2013 for innovation and industry leadership in energy efficient homebuilding.

For more information, visit www.meritagehomes.com. 

About Tella Firma Foundations
Dallas-based Tella Firma is a construction technology firm that is revolutionizing the way home foundations are built. Tella Firma gets its name from the Latin words meaning “strong home.” Foundations with the company’s product have been installed in residential and light commercial projects in Texas and Colorado, and the company continues to expand into new markets throughout the region. For additional information, visit tellafirma.com.

TELLA FIRMA FOUNDATIONS SECURES $1.6 MILLION IN SERIES-B FINANCING

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Tella Firma Foundations Secures $1.6 Million in Series-B Financing

Recent round of funding includes first institutional investor, Enhanced Capital

Enhanced-Capital-logo(DALLAS, TEXAS—Jan. 11, 2017) Tella Firma Foundations, a company that is revolutionizing the construction industry, today announced it has completed a $1.6 million Series-B funding round. The financing oversubscribed the goal for the round set at $1.5 million.

The majority of the round was funded by current investors, including North Texas Angel Network Investors, together with several new investors, including the company’s first institutional investor, Enhanced Capital.

“Our business model, proven success and plans for growth are driving investment interest in the company,” said Jim Fontaine, CEO of Tella Firma. “We have a very large market opportunity, beginning in Texas and expanding to other regions, and we have continued to achieve success in marketing our solution to single- and multi-family builders and commercial builders. The market for Tella Firma’s products is over $2.5 billion in the U.S. and over $1 billion in Texas alone.”

Tella Firma initiated its Series-B funding to help fund its geographic expansion into Central Texas, entry into commercial and school construction markets and next-generation product development. According to Fontaine, the company plans to grow to 10,000 foundation installations per year within five years.

The Tella Firma foundation system is backed by seven issued patents and has been used by dozens of builders with almost 1,000 foundations installed. Tella Firma foundations protect the foundation from damaging active soil movement with an environmentally friendly, green installation process to avoid the need for any type of chemical or water injection into the soil under the foundation.

“Tella Firma has large market opportunities, differentiated products and a strong management team. Enhanced Capital is excited to continue working with a company that fits so well with our investment philosophy,” said Mark Slusar, Managing Director of Enhanced Capital’s Washington, D.C., office. “Enhanced Capital is committed to making impactful investments that help growth-oriented businesses like Tella Firma access the resources they need to be successful.”

About Tella Firma Foundations
Dallas-based Tella Firma is revolutionizing the way home foundations are built. Tella Firma gets its name from the Latin words meaning “strong home.” Foundations with the company’s product have been installed in residential and light commercial projects in Colorado and several Texas cities, and the company continues to expand into new markets throughout the region.  For additional information, visit tellafirma.com.

About Enhanced Capital
Enhanced Capital, with primary offices in New York City and New Orleans, is a diversified, national asset manager that invests capital into small businesses, renewable energy projects, historic real estate rehabilitation and affordable housing projects through federal and state incentive programs and other public policy investment strategies. It creates customized solutions for tax credit and mission-focused investors based on their investment needs, including CRA requirements, geographic footprint of investments and investment product type. Learn more by visiting enhancedcapital.com.

BUILDERS SELECT TELLA FIRMA FOUNDATIONS FOR FIRST PHASE OF HOMES IN WHISPER VALLEY, EAST AUSTIN’S NEWEST PLANNED DEVELOPMENT

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Builders Select Tella Firma Foundations for First Phase of Homes in Whisper Valley, East Austin’s Newest Planned Development

Patented, elevated slab foundation utilizes latest technology to protect homes

(DALLAS and AUSTIN, TEXAS—Nov. 28, 2016) Pacesetter Homes and Avi Homes have selected Tella Firma Foundations to provide the foundation system for homes in phase one (237 lots) in East Austin’s new Whisper Valley planned community (www.whispervalleyaustin.com). The homes will be affordably priced between the upper $100s and $300s, and will be built using sustainable principles and technology, including geothermal heating and cooling, and Google Fiber 1GB Internet connectivity.

In many areas of Texas, active soils can cause foundation problems due to movement and settlement. By using a field-tested, patented process of elevating a slab-on-grade foundation using piers, Tella Firma creates a protective void between the ground and the foundation itself. This application isolates the slab from active soils and guards it from unexpected movement. It also significantly reduces the risk of cracks and movement in slabs that typically occur in later years in conventional soil injection treated foundations.Pacesetter-logo--Builders-Select-TFF-for-1st-Phase-(whisper-valley)3

After much research on slab design, Pacesetter Homes selected the patented system to provide the highest performance for the foundations they are building. “The Tella Firma solution enables us to provide the most advanced foundation system to home buyers while maintaining an affordable home price,” said Tom Lynch, president of Pacesetter Homes. “While Whisper Valley is among the first planned communities to use this type of foundation for a significant number of homes, Austin has always been known as a leader in technology, and I believe our homes in this development will enhance that reputation.”

Avi-Homes-logo--Builders-Select-TFF-for-1st-Phase-(whisper-valley)3According to Darren Soltes, president of Avi Homes, “We remain committed to our goal of steady, responsible growth in the Austin market, and we are confident our new development in Whisper Valley will further illustrate our company’s commitment to leveraging innovation and technology in our growth, and to helping people create their dream homes in our communities.”

The Tella Firma foundation system is based on commercial engineering principles in practice for over 50 years. Tella Firma foundations utilize a green installation process to avoid the need for any type of chemical or water injection into the soil under the foundation. In addition, the air pocket created under the slab provides an insulation layer between the floor of the home and the ground.

“Pacesetter Homes and Avi Homes are examples of forward-thinking builders that recognize the value that a reliable foundation can bring to the construction and marketing of new homes,” said Jim Fontaine, CEO of Tella Firma. “We’re especially pleased to see this high-tech foundation used with production building methods at an affordable home price point.”

About Pacesetter Homes
Pacesetter Homes was launched by QUALICO in Austin, Texas, in 2007. QUALICO, founded in 1951, is one of the largest fully integrated, privately owned real estate companies in Western Canada. As a leader in the Austin new homes market, Pacesetter welcomes many Central Texans home each year. Award-winning designs, quality construction, and reliability serve as cornerstones for the Pacesetter brand.

About Avi Homes
Avi Homes is a Canadian-based home builder, founded in 1978, and has been active in Austin since 2006. They are experienced in single-family and multi-family housing construction in the Austin market.

About Tella Firma Foundations
Dallas-based Tella Firma is revolutionizing the way home foundations are built. Tella Firma gets its name from the Latin words meaning “strong home.” Foundations with the company’s product have been installed in residential and light commercial projects in Texas and Colorado, and the company continues to expand into new markets throughout the region. For additional information, visit tellafirma.com.

 

GOLD CREEK HOMES SELECTS TELLA FIRMA FOUNDATIONS FOR NEW APARTMENT COMMUNITY IN FORT WORTH, TEXAS, SUBURB

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Gold Creek Homes Selects Tella Firma Foundations for New Apartment Community in Fort Worth, Texas, Suburb

Patented, elevated slab foundation minimizes risk associated with volatile soil conditions

gold-creek-foundation2

Gold Creek Homes selected Tella Firma Foundations

(DALLAS—Oct. 24, 2016)  Gold Creek Homes, a builder of single-family and multi-family residential communities, has selected Tella Firma Foundations  as its foundation system for its new Gold Creek Apartments community in the Fort Worth, Texas, suburb of White Settlement.  The 255-unit Class A project on the west side of Fort Worth is set for completion in June 2017, and will open its first phase to tenants in March.

In North Texas, active soils often cause foundation problems due to movement and settlement.  By using a field-tested, patented process of elevating a slab-on-grade foundation, Tella Firma creates a protective void between the ground and the foundation itself.  This application isolates the slab and guards it from damaging soil swells, contractions and unexpected movement.  Most foundation damage results from soil movement that can be caused by expansion and contraction of clay soils due to moisture change.  The Tella Firma system provides a superior commercial foundation at a cost comparable to a traditional slab-on-grade foundation.

“Entering this market, we were concerned with various issues associated with soil conditions in this region of Texas,” said Ryan Voorhees, founder and president of Gold Creek Homes.  “We believe the Tella Firma system will minimize the risk associated with these issues, and we found the cost to be in line with other foundations we considered for the project.  We’re also very impressed with the responsive and accommodating service we have received from Tella Firma as we’ve begun foundation work and construction on the job.”

The Tella Firma foundation system is based on commercial engineering principles in practice for over 50 years.  Tella Firma foundations utilize a green installation process to avoid the need for any type of chemical or water injection into the soil under the foundation.

Tella Firma’s innovative solution is ideal for single-family and multi-family construction, as well as light commercial projects.  The multi-family housing market in Dallas/Fort Worth is booming, with more apartments under construction in the D/FW Multiplex than any other place in the country according to MPF Research.  CRBE research reports continued strong renter demand for multiple types of multi-family product, making Dallas/Fort Worth a compelling market for multi-family developers.

Golden-Creek-logo--Golden-Creek-Homes2“We’re excited to work with Gold Creek Homes on this exceptional new multi-family apartment project,” said Jim Fontaine, CEO of Tella Firma.  “Tella Firma is a high-tech foundation that provides the strength and protection of a pier-and-beam foundation, yet is much more affordable and takes less time to install compared with traditional suspended foundations.”

Gold Creek Homes, in business for 30 years, has completed single-family and multi-family residential communities in California and New Mexico, and is entering the Texas market with this project.

 

About Tella Firma Foundations
Dallas-based Tella Firma is revolutionizing the way home foundations are built.  Tella Firma gets its name from the Latin words meaning “strong home.”  Foundations with the company’s product have been installed in residential and light commercial projects in Colorado and several Texas cities, and the company continues to expand into new markets throughout the region.  For additional information, visit tellafirma.com.

 

SPOTLIGHT – JIM FONTAINE, CEO/PRESIDENT, TELLA FIRMA FOUNDATIONS

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Spotlight – Jime Fontaine, CEO/President, Tella Firma Foundations

Tella Firma CEO and President Jim Fontaine

Tella Firma CEO and President Jim Fontaine

(DALLAS/FORT WORTH—Oct. 5, 2016) Building businesses has been a life-long passion for Jim Fontaine, but the idea to build a business in the construction industry surprised even him. When a bad thing happened to his dream lake home, he turned it into a “sometimes bad things happen for a reason,” and then turned that lesson that into a new business path.

How were you introduced to construction?
Growing up in a family of 11 in Wisconsin, my father built most of our house and did lots of construction. So helping him out as a child, I learned everything from pouring concrete, to framing buildings, to putting in plumbing and electrical work. It wasn’t as much of a career for him as much as it was a necessity for him to be able to afford to put his family under a roof.

Did that soon steer you on a path to a construction career?
I graduated with a degree in electrical engineering and moved to Texas in January of 1981, taking a job at Texas Instruments. So my background is really in electrical engineering. From Texas Instruments, in 1983 I moved to another company called United Technologies-Mostek. It was there that we came up with our idea for our first company. We started that company in 1985 with a bunch of engineers from Mostek and Texas Instruments. So my history has not really been in construction, my history has been in starting product companies that were geared to revolutionizing different parts of the consumer electronics industry. I built four of those over a period of 30 years.

The idea for the first one was to revolutionize the photography market by building the world’s first color electronic darkroom; back in 1985, you couldn’t do what you do today with pictures on computers. That was our vision and we did that. I did three other companies after that, and the last was a company called Microtune, which was formed in the late ‘90s and went public in 2001. I was CEO of that company beginning in 2003 until it was acquired in 2010. We grew that company from zero to $110 million in revenue and we also revolutionized the television tuner industry; we were the first ones to put a television tuner on a chip. Everything that we did in those four companies we did with the goal of revolutionizing a market. Attempting to dramatically change the way things were done is a very difficult challenge.

How did you turn your attention from electronics to the construction industry?
I indirectly got acquainted with the construction industry. After my company went public, I built my dream lake house on Lake Texoma. It was a large stone and log house I had planned for 15 years, and I was the general contractor. It had a basement, and basements aren’t done around here. I was so proud of it; it took a year to build it right on the cliffs. A year later, I started having cracks in the foundation, and the floors and the walls started cracking and doors wouldn’t open. It’s a beautiful place, but I would literally pull up to it and be nauseated thinking about what had been done wrong.

What did you do?
I was at a Cub Scouts camp with my son sitting around a campfire with the dads and I was talking about the situation. Tony Childress, one of the dads, said he was a structural engineer and that he would take a look at my house; that’s how I got to know him. He came out and took a look at it, and said it was too bad he didn’t know me earlier because he had just invented a new product in 2004 that could have saved me from this problem. So that was my introduction to the product, which is now our company. It basically is a bolt and sleeve system that goes into the slab at the time of construction that sits on top of piers. The concrete slab is poured normally but once the slab is cured, small covers over the bolts are opened and the 1¼-inch diameter bolts are turned with big wrenches and the slab slowly raises off of the ground, which leaves a protective void between the slab and the ground. The slab is elevated and has a turndown beam so you can’t see underneath the slab, and you’ve basically built a very low-cost pier and beam system. Soils can move up and down without affecting the foundation.

How did you help grow Tony’s idea into Tella Firma?
Tony Childress is the principal at Childress Engineering, a large structural engineering company in Richardson. He really invented this product for his commercial and residential clients. So this started by word of mouth being designing this into their structures. Over the years, Tony got to be quite a good friend, and in 2010 when I sold my company, he tried to convince me to take this product and build it into a company. I refused at first but in late 2014 we came back together and put together a business plan. What had happened over those years is that they had done quite a few homes and had a quite a bit of history of it in the ground, the product had evolved. So we took that, formed Tella Firma and acquired the intellectual property; Tony is still on our advisory board, and we really built a team to go do the same thing that we had done four times before, and that was to go out and revolutionize the building industry. In all of our past companies, we have attempted to revolutionize the industry. And that’s what we’re trying to do now, is revolutionize the mass market, first focusing on DFW. We are expanding into Austin and San Antonio, where they have very active soils on the east side of town, but we also have apartment complexes going up right now, bidding on commercial warehouses, and building commercial buildings and schools. We’re approaching 1,000 foundations that have been put into the ground, and we’re just trying to improve what we do to make this more affordable and bring it to the commercial and residential markets.

Having created other businesses, was it an easy decision to create Tella Firma?
No; it’s extremely difficult to build a business up. I always tell other entrepreneurs, “All start ups start up with zero revenue.” Of the businesses I’ve started up, I’ve had a single, a double, a home run and a strike out. The last company was a home run; we sold the company and went public, but I was frankly a little hesitant just knowing how difficult it was going to be to revolutionize another industry, much less the construction industry which is going to be much more hesitant to adopt new technology compared to the electronics industry. But the technology was such a simple idea it was like, why hadn’t someone thought of this before? From a business perspective, this had some real legs and also the market side of it is big. It’s just that we knew that it was going to be a long process and we’d have to put together a team. I approached it very cautiously and put together a business plan.

What do you enjoy about your work?
I enjoy bringing a better solution to the marketplace. Not only are foundation problems expensive, in my case, they’re very expensive; mine was $175,000 in foundation repairs to fix my house, and it broke my heart. There are true heartbreak stories of people who have foundation problems and it affects a lot of people. It’s not curing cancer, but it is curing problems. Also, I just love the construction industry. I love watching things being built, I love going to framed houses because it smells of wood – everything about the construction industry, I love. I love to see things done in a high-quality way.

How would you describe your company’s culture?
It’s a small company. We try to promote a culture that everybody in the company is an owner, everybody has stock options or ownership of the company. It’s very important to us that if the company succeeds, everybody ultimately has success as well, and everybody who has joined the company has taken some level of financial sacrifice to be part of it. I think the culture here is one of really wanting to deliver a high-quality solution really geared to satisfying the customer. We also try to have some sort of work/life balance; we do things monthly as a team that are a little on the fun side, but we realize people have family commitments as well.

How do you spend your time away from work?
Part of it is work-related; I joined an angel investor group called North Texas Angel Network. It’s like a real-life version of “Shark Tank.” There’s a group of 50 of us that have been successful at business and are trying to help fund new start ups but also help advise and help them along their way as well. I became the chairman of that group, and we funded about 10 different startups, mostly in healthcare.

On a personal side, most of my hobbies have revolved around my kids. I just sent the last one off to college, he was actively involved in crew in high school and I was actively involved in that as one of the parents. Then I have other activities at the lake house, like boating and things of that sort.

Tell me more about your children. Are they interested in the industry?
Interestingly enough, my daughter graduated from the University of Texas (UT) with an architecture degree and my son is a starting freshman at UT in civil engineering. Although [construction] wasn’t my degree, I’ve got two kids now in this industry.

Do you enjoy challenging yourself?
I do. Starting companies and building companies is a bit of a drug. You get the energy and the buzz from when things go well; 80% of the time, you struggle, but the 20% of the time when things go well that’s your drug and when you feel great. But that’s kind of the way it is with a lot of things; it’s a climb and a struggle. The symbol of our company is a [Sisyphean] guy pushing a boulder up a cliff, which is what it’s about, you’re pushing a boulder up a hill; you can’t take the pressure off, otherwise it will roll right back down the hill.

What do you hope the future holds for you?
Well, this is going to be my last rodeo as far as being a CEO of a company. My plan is to get this up and running. I try to mentor the younger people in the company so that every single person in this company – should they choose to run or start their own company someday ­– we’re going to train them how to do that. Part of it is training people here to be leaders as well. The mission of the business is to try and revolutionize the industry and be financially successful for the employees, investors and everyone that has surrounded the company.  For me, I see that as a five-year mission, and by then, I feel I will be taking on more of a board role and you’ll see me working in start-ups of other companies. I doubt I’ll ever retire in the true definition of retirement. Offering an environmentally friendly solution for multi-use projects, Tella Firma Foundations provides a patented process of elevating a slab-on-grade foundation above the ground to create a protective void.

FAULKNER PERRIN CUSTOM HOMES SELECTS TELLA FIRMA FOUNDATIONS FOR CUSTOM HOMES IN DALLAS’ PRESTON HOLLOW NEIGHBORHOOD

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Faulkner Perrin Custom Homes Selects Tella Firma Foundations for Custom Homes in Dallas’ Preston Hollow Neighborhood

 Patented, elevated slab foundation minimizes risk associated with volatile soil conditions

Faulkner-Perrin-logo--Faulkner-Perrin-Custom-Homes2(DALLAS—Oct. 3, 2016)  Faulkner Perrin Custom Homes has selected Tella Firma Foundations to provide the foundations for two high-end spec homes under development in the exclusive Preston Hollow neighborhood located in Dallas.  One project will be completed by the end of this year, while the other project is just under way.

In North Texas, active soils often cause foundation problems due to movement and settlement.  By using a field-tested, patented process of elevating a slab-on-grade foundation, Tella Firma creates a protective void between the ground and the foundation itself.  This application isolates the slab and guards it from damaging soil swells, contractions and unexpected movement.  Most foundation damage results from soil movement that can be caused by expansion and contraction of clay soils due to moisture change and other changing conditions that affect the soil.

Faulkner Perrin is familiar with the Tella Firma foundation product, having used this solution in various projects for more than 10 years.  “When soil conditions create the need for this type of solution, Tella Firma provides a cleaner and less expensive approach,” said Kirk Perrin, president of Faulkner Perrin.  “The other options available for difficult soil conditions are far more expensive and far more labor-intensive.  And for our clients, once buyers understand what they’re getting with Tella Firma’s solution, it certainly adds to their peace of mind.”

The Tella Firma foundation system is based on commercial engineering principles in practice for over 50 years.  Tella Firma foundations utilize a green installation process to avoid the need for any type of chemical or water injection into the soil under the foundation.

“We’re excited that custom builders such as Faulkner Perrin are choosing to install Tella Firma foundations to create added support and strong value for their homes,” said Jim Fontaine, CEO of Tella Firma.  “Tella Firma is a high-tech foundation that provides the strength and protection of a pier-and-beam foundation, yet is much more affordable and takes less time to install compared with traditional suspended foundations.”

Faulkner Perrin Custom Homes is a luxury home builder that focuses on high-end design, architecture and premium quality construction, leveraging its experience, creativity and superior craftsmanship to customize each home to match the dreams of its clients.

About Tella Firma Foundations
Dallas-based Tella Firma is revolutionizing the way home foundations are built.  Tella Firma gets its name from the Latin words meaning “strong home.”  Foundations with the company’s product have been installed in residential and light commercial projects in Colorado and several Texas cities, and the company continues to expand into new markets throughout the region.  For additional information, visit tellafirma.com.

 

FORM STUDIOS DESIGN & BUILD CHOOSES TELLA FIRMA FOUNDATIONS FOR THE NEW SPANISH HOUSE IMMERSION SCHOOL IN DALLAS

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FORM Studios Design & Build Chooses Tella Firma Foundations for the new Spanish House Immersion School in Dallas

Form Studios team- (Spanish House)(DALLAS—June 14, 2016) FORM Studios Design & Build has selected Tella Firma Foundations (www.tellafirma.com) for the new Spanish House Immersion School location in Dallas on East Grand Avenue. The new school will be a 20,000 square foot; two-story building that will open in August 2016.

“We’re excited to work with FORM Studios Design & Build on this and many future projects,” said Jim Fontaine, CEO of Tella Firma. “Tella Firma is a high-tech foundation that provides the strength and protection of a pier-and-beam foundation yet is much more affordable and takes less time to install compared to traditional suspended foundations.”

The Tella Firma foundation system is based on commercial engineering principles in practice for over 50 years. Tella Firma foundations utilize a green installation process to avoid the need for any type of chemical or water injection into the soil under the foundation.

Richard Atchinson- Form Studios (Spainish House)“Tella Firma was a significant cost savings over other methods and we love to use the latest state-of-the art technology on our projects,” said Richard Atchison, Principal and architect with FORM Studios Design & Build, the general contractor and architect for the project. “We are really glad our concrete installer, TexCon told us about Tella Firma. They will be our foundation partner of choice when faced with bad soils in our light commercial work going forward.”

By using a field-tested, patented process of elevating a slab-on-grade foundation, Tella Firma creates a protective void between the ground and the foundation itself. This application isolates the slab and guards it from damaging soil swells, contractions and unexpected movement caused by light earthquakes. Most foundation damage results from soil movement that can be caused by expansion and contraction of clay soils due to moisture change or by seismic activity.

FORM Studios Design & Build is an architect owned Design & Build firm based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. FORM Studios Design & Build has commissions in commercial, residential and institutional projects. www.formsi.com