By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
As originally published in Texas Border Business newsprint edition April 2019
Noble Texas Builders is already a recognizable brand in South Texas. Their leadership has carefully designed the growth of the company parallel to giving back to the communities where they work.
It is extraordinary how in a few years, Noble has grown to seventy employees and over $4 million in annual payroll. In February of 2015, three entrepreneurs, Rene Capistran; Patrick Williams and Alfredo Garcia, decided to join forces and started the company with a foundation they called trust, team, and community.
This past March 20, Noble Texas Builders officially opened their new office headquarters located at 108 S. Main Street in La Feria.
Manuel “Manny” Vela, Chief Executive Officer of Valley Baptist Health System and a board member at Noble Texas Builders, who took part in the ribbon cutting celebration said it much better. “I couldn’t be prouder to be a board member for an organization that is run every day on integrity, credibility, engagement, and giving back to the community.” Vela then introduced the keynote speaker, Filemón Bartolomé Vela, Jr.; he has been the U.S. Congressman for Texas’ 34th congressional district since 2013.
“I cannot think of a better example of what the American spirit is all about than sitting in this room and sharing this moment with all of you to recognize what Rene Capistran and Noble Texas Builders have done in the last four years,” Congressman Vela said. The ceremony took place in an area of the facility, large enough to accommodate a good number of distinguished guests including Mayor Olga H. Maldonado and other high-ranking La Feria officials.
The architect Capistran selected to work on the design was Gilbert Gallegos, a professional with over 40 years’ experience. He understood well the clients’ vision and transformed the inside of the 1930’s building into a modern, reasonably open collaborative space, similar to Google. The plan was to allow interaction, and facilitate team-building, collaboration, and working together as a team. At the same time, it provides privacy for just small meetings with their consultants or contractors.
Gallegos told Texas Border Business that the history associated with the building was taken into consideration. The original building was an old federal post office, and part of it was the Frederick Appliance Center back in the 30s. “As the architect,” he said, “I balanced their vision and honoring and respecting the history associated with this particular building.”
According to Gallegos, the 8,000 sq. ft. facility had existing elements of history, such as hidden wood floors, which they exposed to express the history associated with the building. He explained that the entry area provides a welcoming approach, so, the first thing you see is the Noble logo. It also has conference rooms so the Noble team can break away and interact with multiple subcontractors. There is also a flexible training space that can be used for anything they want.
The ground level of the building incorporates essential elements specifically how they’re organized in terms of their leadership, their project managers, and how they interact with contractors and with themselves. The accounting department needed more privacy, so it’s basically organized that each particular area has its own department, and the design brings all this together in the lounge area where everyone can interact and become much more of a team member.
Gallegos describes it as a totally a different concept; it’s more than an executive office because it also allows more flexibility space. But it was structured to give room to other divisions within the organization “So that particular area provides for a separation of the organization, to development or charity on the second floor.
To get to the second floor, the architect designed a staircase with a strong visual point for people to walk upstairs to the executive area. The Noble team wanted to integrate a vertical circulation to allow better access, but doing it in the context of history.
Alfredo Garcia Jr., a vice president of the company, and a key player said, “It’s kind of hard thinking four years ago we were in this tiny building that we thought we’d never outgrow, but we did.” He continued, “The place was home for us, and we had a great time out there, but packing and unpacking was kind of sad because we made great memories out there.” He said, “But when we came out to La Feria, and we first stepped into this office space, we knew it was home immediately.”
Gus Ruiz, Cameron County Commissioner, also present, suggested to Capistran that the upstairs area needed a TV and foosball table. And in the lounge area downstairs, it needed the Street Fighter arcade to go along with the Pac-Man already in place. But in the end, he said, “On behalf of our county judge, Eddie Treviño Jr., who couldn’t be here this morning, he wanted me to relay to you all, to Rene and to Noble, and to give you two thumbs up on this.” Ruiz also said that the grand opening of the Noble offices marked a great day for the city of La Feria, Texas.
Ramiro Garza, president of the Noble Development Division, said the University of Texas RGV told Capistran that the company’s economic impact for the city grew to $15 million a year. Based on 72 employees the company currently has with over $4 million in payroll a year. That is a significant figure for any city the size of La Feria.
At the end of the ceremony, Capistran stepped to the podium and thanked everyone. He said he was overwhelmed by the support of so many attending the ceremony. “I’ve often said this quote, and I think that it ties in very well today. Mother Teresa says, “I can’t do what you can do, you can’t do what I can do, but together we can do great things,” Capistran said.
The reason he repeats the quote, according to Rene, is that when people think about Noble, they think of them as a construction company, but they go beyond the brick-and-mortar. In his opinion, he and the Noble team are builders of communities. At that point, he called the board of directors of Noble Charity Foundation and the Noble Texas Builders to join him and do what they promised to do, to give back to the community.
He called the Our Lady of the Lake University director Dr. Patricia Blanco and delivered a $25,000 check as a donation. Capistran said, “We know that the greatest economic impact that any community can have is through education. And we are proud to have our university here with us today, and we’d like to present a check to them to support students from La Feria.”
Dr. Blanco was in total surprise and said, “Thank you so much, Mr. Capistran and Noble. And thank you so much, also the City of La Feria. Five years ago, La Feria was so incredibly welcoming.” She said that when they started five years ago, it was only Dr. Blanco and two faculty members, and about 22 students. Today, they have six programs, are 158 students, 18 faculty members, and 10 staff strong.
“We are growing, and I am very excited and thankful to Noble and the City of La Feria.” Dr. Blanco was surprised, but so was everybody else in that room for so much generosity from a company that just started four years ago.
Congressman Vela was also impressed, he was the one who brought to everyone’s attention the 240 construction projects Noble had worked on like the Stargate project that he visited the same week of the celebration.
“It’s an honor to be here with you today to see what Noble Texas Builders has done in a few years. Your relentless pursuit of helping people through your charities is an example for all of us to bear. And it’s my privilege to be here, it’s my privilege to be your friend. And I know that we’re all looking forward to seeing how much further Noble can go,” Congressman Vela finalized.