Case Studies

Hezekiah Harris – CMTS 

Helping airport construction projects take off & land 

When Hezekiah Harris was growing up in Denver, he lived not too far from the runways at Stapleton International Airport and would ride his bike to the edge of the airport and watch planes take off and land.  

Little did he know that early experience would lead him to a career that would include seeing some of the U.S.’s major transportation infrastructure projects come to fruition.  

Hezekiah Harris | President/Managing Member | CMTS

Hezekiah Harris | President/Managing Member | CMTS

Harris is the president and owner of CMTS, a project and construction management company. As the calendar turns to 2024, he’s focused on ensuring the company his father started (40 years ago) continues as one of the premier organizations in the industry. 

“Our company’s roots go back to Denver, where I grew up, and the project at Denver’s airport was our first big break,” Harris tells Blueprint during an interview in November.  

Landing the plane

The company currently has major projects underway in Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon, Seattle and Jacksonville, Florida. 

In Dallas, where Harris is based, CMTS is part of the team selected to deliver Terminal F at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. This new terminal will enhance the airport’s capacity and improve the overall passenger experience. Additionally, the company is an integral part of the team handling the Mill Creek tunnel project in Dallas, the largest tunnel project in the United States, showcasing its expertise in core infrastructure development. 

Hezekiah Harris | President/Managing Member | CMTS

“In Texas, we’re looking at further growth in Houston and San Antonio, which have ongoing airport projects. In Houston, we’re also involved in transit work,” Harris. “We manage all kinds of transportation infrastructure.  

In Los Angeles, CMTS has been selected to help deliver a multi-billion bond program for the Los Angeles Community College District. The company also provides project management services for constructing the Automated People Mover at LAX, which aims to alleviate traffic in the central terminal area. When completed, the Consolidated Rental Car Facility will be the largest concrete structure in the U.S. outside of the Pentagon.  

In Jacksonville, the company is helping deliver a new concourse at Jacksonville International Airport, and in Atlanta, CMTS is working on a fire station project in the city’s downtown.  

No project is too big

CMTS’s success, according to Hezekiah, is attributed to its commitment to delivering on agreements. He emphasizes their role as owners’ representatives and the importance of maintaining a quality reputation with owners and industry partners. The organic growth of CMTS, coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit, has enabled them to secure projects in various sectors, with a recent focus on transportation due to the associated funding opportunities. 

Harris always wants to highlight the role of CMTS as owners’ representatives, managing projects and providing services in project management, quality oversight, and project controls. Their recent win of a 5-year contract with the city of Portland, Oregon, –the fifth consecutive contract with the city—shows the trust and longevity they’ve established with clients. 

Hezekiah Harris | President/Managing Member | CMTS

While many projects seem similar, Harris says the company’s nationwide offices have different focuses. Los Angeles emphasizes education, serving K-12 and higher education sectors—the company has worked with the Los Angeles Unified School District for over two decades. However, Portland is described as an underground-focused firm, showing the adaptability of CMTS to cater to specific regional needs. 

CMTS’s success can be attributed to its organic growth and entrepreneurial spirit. Harris explains that they look for owners who need help delivering their projects. This adaptability has allowed CMTS to expand its presence in different locations. 

“Once we agree to do something, we’re going to do exactly what we agreed to do,” he says.  

A love of aviation 

Harris’s father, also named Hezekiah, was an entrepreneur in real estate and development. After turning toward general contracting, he parlayed his experience into a contract with the City of Denver, managing the construction of an airfield rehabilitation at Stapleton International. 

“We grew up in the airport’s flight path, and I fell in love with planes and aviation. My first job as an inspector using a decibel meter at the end of the runway,” Harris recalls.  

Harris says he learned about business by watching his father, who founded CMTS. He worked alongside his father for many years—he jokes that his dad fired him a dozen times. After studying business administration and management at Central Texas College, Harris owned and operated his business—until his father called in the late 1990s. 

Hezekiah Harris | President/Managing Member | CMTS

That was when, at age 60, his dad decided to return to school to study divinity and theology and asked if his son wanted to run the company.  

“I told him I’d run the company only if he sold it to me. We started the transition the next year,” Harris remembers.  

For the past 20-plus years, Harris has watched the company grow from what it was under his father to what it is today: a national firm with over 130 employees working on some of the biggest infrastructure projects in America.  

A succession plan is in place for when Harris retires—his nephew has been groomed to take over once Harris is ready to stop. 

“But I’ll keep doing this as long as I’m having fun, and when that time comes, hopefully, my nephew will be ready,” he says with a smile.  

View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. II 2024 Edition here.

 

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