CARCON Industries/ STL Engineers

It isn’t coincidence that CARCON Industries is one of the construction manager partners on three of the largest projects ongoing in northern Texas. The Dallas-based firm’s work is well-known and respected within its market. “Our general contractors really like us and value our work,” President and CEO Arcilia C. Acosta says. “We always strive to provide great service, and we’ve always worked side by side with clients, if they need something extra. People know we’re a smart, safe company.”

CARCON is a joint venture partner in a $890 million light rail project for Dallas Area Rapid Transit, working to build 28 miles of rail expansions. 

“This is one of the most significant projects we are involved in constructing,” Acosta states. “Other U.S. cities who aspire to have light rail programs are looking at DART and north Texas as the model to follow. To be able to contribute to this type of project is truly significant to CARCON. It creates so many ancillary opportunities that extend beyond transportation, such as economic development opportunities in and around the rail lines. 

“We are also contributors on other transit projects such as one with the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA), in conjunction with the North Texas Rail Group,” she continues. “This project involves the construction of a 21-mile regional rail. We are very lucky to have the opportunity to work with such great owners like DCTA.” 

Major Bond Programs

CARCON Industries is working on almost every major program management project in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Some ongoing projects include the $1.3 billion 2008 Dallas Independent School District (ISD) bond program, and the $593 million Fort Worth ISD capital improvement program. These contracts include the construction of new schools and renovations of multiple buildings.

The Dallas ISD marks its second contract with CARCON, Acosta notes. “We’re handling budget controls, schedules, project controls, (etc.),” she says. “At any given moment, we can advise as to the status of the project, whether from a completion or budgetary standpoint.”  The company also recently completed management of a $470 million bond program for the Dallas County Community College District. 

In January, CARCON, in a joint venture with three other companies, was awarded $800 million of a $1.6 billion eight-year renovation project at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, the third busiest airport in the world in terms of aircraft movement.

Two Companies, One Leader

CARCON Industries will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year. Leonardo Carrasco, Acosta’s father, founded the company in 1985. Acosta reincorporated and moved the company to Dallas from Midland, Texas, after her father’s death. 

Acosta previously worked with a major Dallas-area construction company and a worldwide bank, handling real estate transactions. “I made the decision to launch my own company after the bank I worked for was sold,” she divulges.  “There were opportunities to stay in banking, but I decided there was no better time to re-launch my father’s company and hone my skills.” 

Acosta also owns STL Engineers, a geotechnical engineering firm she founded in 2003. “I have always been very strategic about what I do,” she conveys. “I saw a niche for a minority woman-owned geotechnical engineering firm. After spending time researching this analogous business, I hired the best people I could find, and it took off.”

To date, STL has worked on several key projects that have had a significant impact on the local economy:  the President George Bush Turnpike, the Lewisville Lake Toll Bridge, the DART Green Line expansion, House of Blues and the W Hotel. STL Engineers holds a two-year indefinite delivery contract with the Texas Department of Transportation to provide geotechnical drilling, laboratory testing and engineering services. The company has been awarded this contract for the second time.  

STL and CARCON operate independently of each other, Acosta notes. “While we have taken great care to hire very talented people at both, I generally can’t take people from STL and move them into CARCON,” she explains. “ The levels of expertise required are unique.”

Mixing It Up

CARCON is able to adapt to the current economic market by being progressive in its approach. “We have clients with long-term and short-term contracts; you need a mix of both to make it through a recession,” Acosta says. “We have public sector and private sector clients; companies today need to have diversified clients, that’s really important.

“We’re true to our service,” she continues. “You won’t see our companies trying to fulfill requirements outside of our core competencies, and I think that’s what has aided in our success – we stay focused on getting better at what we do.”

Acosta has set her sights high, with the goal of growing her entities to compete on a national level.

Safety Record

CARCON boasts an exemplary safety record with very few accidents or incidents. The company conducts daily and weekly video safety training, both on job sites and at the company headquarters. Safety trainers also conduct in-person classes, and safety stand downs are scheduled on a regular basis.

The commitment to safety at CARCON and STL extends as far as the individual investment of purchasing safety boots for all workers on their crews. “It sounds trivial, but $100 or so for a pair of boots is a lot of money,” Acosta says.  “Instead of workers worrying about having good safety boots, our company pays for the employee to buy them.”  

Keeping Connected

Acosta maintains a multitude of connections in her Texas community, including serving on the board of directors for Energy Future Holdings, which is the largest energy company in the state. She also is a member of the national Board of BBVA Compass, a financial holding company. 

Acosta’s volunteer activities are numerous; one of the highlights of her contributions is serving on the board of the Dallas Foundation, a nonprofit organization that distributes funds to charitable groups. 

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