Jason Keller started his construction company in 2005 with a job-site trailer for an office and a passion for the business of building.
AT A GLANCE
Top executives: Jason Keller, Managing Member; Stephen Keller, Managing Member; and P.J. Simpson, Vice President of Operations and Junior Partner
Address: 39279 Tommy Moore Road, Gonzales, LA 70737
“My wife Joan was with me from day one,” he recalls. “We went to Home Depot and bought a folding table and two plastic chairs. We had one computer to share and one fax machine.”
With that, Block Construction was in business. The fledgling company cut its teeth doing tenant interior finish-outs and small jobs on the LSU campus. Soon, he and his brother Stephen Keller joined together in 2008 to open Block Builders to pursue work in the multifamily arena. Over the next two decades, the Block portfolio would grow to include projects across the South, with the company finding a niche in multifamily affordable and market rate construction.
“People always ask me if it’s a challenge to work with family,” Jason Keller says. “Definitely not is my answer to that question. It’s been a lifelong wish to work with Stephen. My brother brings years of experience to the job and has always been a mentor to me. He has always been a huge support to me and always has the company’s best interest at heart.”
Today, Jason Keller is a managing member overseeing Block Companies, a parent company that consists of three arms: Block Construction, Block Partners and Block Builders. “We have grown to a $120 million company in revenue,” Keller says, “and we expect to grow in the next 24 months to $250 million.”
So how did Keller go from that job-site trailer to a multimillion-dollar company with offices in Gonzales and Houston? He points to two key factors: talent and teamwork.
Keller credits his brother Stephen and junior partner P.J. Simpson with helping provide solid leadership for the company. He says they strive for hands-on involvement in projects. But, he’s quick to add, “it’s not the three of us that make Block work. It’s everybody here.” Simpson was one of Block’s first hires.
“We always search for the best talent we can possibly find, and we value our employees,” he says, noting that Block didn’t lay off anyone during the COVID- 19 pandemic. “We knew the market would bounce back—and it has—and we would need them.”
As Block has expanded into Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, and other states with a focus on the multifamily sector, its leadership team has grown, but still focuses on a company culture that is conscious of the importance of this work.
“There are a lot of people in this world that need housing,” Keller says. “We think we can really make a difference. We want to not only build a building, but give people a home.”
Many of Block’s clients are repeat customers. Keller notes that trust is essential to success in multifamily projects. The design and construction process for these types of endeavors can take three to four years, so relationships need to last for the long haul. Achieving that means carefully listening to clients so they get what they want at a price they can afford, Keller says.
Nurturing client relationships through the years has led Block to new opportunities and geographic areas, he says. The company is focusing on strategic growth, and plans are in the works to open a third office in a to-be-determined location.
“The team members at Block Companies strive to meet a common goal—to build projects that create strong communities and bring families together,” Keller says. “We have a consortium of great project partners and by maximizing our team’s talents in estimating, project management, and the science of building, our projects make a positive community impact that will last for generations to come.”