A Delicate Balance

Published on May 23, 2011

Construction Project Manager and Tellepsen Rising Star
Earns MBA While Building Downtown YMCA

Marc Perilloux (MBA ’11) was the lead project manager on the Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA, which has won a Houston Business Journal Landmark Award and an Excellence in Green Buildings Award from Texas Construction, the Engineering News-Record of Texas and Louisiana.

It’s not unusual for MBA candidates to balance their education with families and full-time jobs.

But when Marc Perilloux picked up his MBA in Finance from the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business during the May 14 commencement ceremony, the Tellepsen Builders rising star had much more than a paper diploma to be proud of.

While earning his MBA, the Baton Rouge native and Tellepsen project manager was also overseeing construction of Houston’s new Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA. With 120,000 square-feet, 4½ stories and a construction budget of $35 million, the gleaming steel-and-glass structure at 808 Pease isn’t just any old lap pool and workout room. It’s the nation’s largest YMCA, a highly visible public building, and a favorite philanthropy of Perilloux’s employers — the distinguished Houston family whose 102-year-old construction business parallels the 125-year history of the Greater Houston YMCA.

“It was a great honor to be selected to be the project manager and to be responsible for so much,” Perilloux says. “I think we treat all our projects as important, but I think I’d be telling a fib if I didn’t say this project had a little bit more pressure and eyes on it, for the obvious reasons. It was a landmark in downtown Houston. It had the Tellepsen name on it. It was a high priority project.”

Even as Perilloux prepared for the biggest job of his career, he knew he wanted to go to grad school. Yet he was hesitant to ask his bosses for help, he says, for fear they might think he wasn’t up to both tasks.

“I sat down with Tellepsen and shared my plans and goals and received nothing but 100 percent backing and support,” he says. “Tellepsen decided to sponsor my education at the University of Houston. And not only sponsor it financially, but also support me manpower-wise to be able to accommodate my work schedule and my school schedule.”

According to Tellepsen Chairman and CEO Howard T. Tellepsen Jr., helping his employee was a no-brainer. “I think the term I would use is that Marc is an ‘emerging impact player’ for our organization,” Tellepsen says. “He certainly is one of our young stars.” The executive says it’s part of his company’s philosophy to invest in employees, just as it does in community institutions like the YMCA.

While at UH Bauer, Marc Perilloux (pictured here during a meeting of the college’s Real Estate Advisory Board) participated in Real Estate Club activities and achieved a Graduate Real Estate Certificate as part of his MBA.

“In addition to successfully handling the largest job he’d ever had, at the same time, Marc was going to school to improve himself,” Tellepsen says of Perilloux, who has been with the company for seven years. “That shows the sort of drive (he has). … We are very interested in continuing to have him grow in our organization.”

In Perilloux, Tellepsen may have noticed something of the spark and youthful energy of his grandfather, Tom Tellepsen, the Norwegian immigrant who started the family business back in 1909. “In order to improve himself, my grandfather, in 1910, the year after he started building here in Houston, took architectural drafting classes at the YMCA night school.”

While at Bauer, Perilloux became interested in the school’s emerging Graduate Real Estate program and elected to make real estate a focus of his MBA studies. He now holds a Graduate Real Estate Certificate and an Energy Investment Analysis Certificate. “The Real Estate Club was outstanding,” Perilloux says. “All the opportunities to meet and work beside some of the best real estate companies in Houston were invaluable.”

Tellepsen, who sits on the executive advisory board of the Graduate Real Estate Program, was delighted to discover Perilloux’s interest in real estate. The company recently made a significant commitment to the Graduate Real Estate Program, to be given over three years.

Before the YMCA project, Perilloux, who has a B.S. in construction management from Louisiana State University, built the wedding chapel and children’s ministry building at Woodlands Church Fellowship Campus; supervised the remodeling of Houston’s First Baptist Church sanctuary; and managed the construction of a six-story Marriott Residence Inn prototype in the Energy Corridor, among many other projects.

He’s thrilled to have his MBA under his belt, and knows he picked the right time to pursue it. “I understood the details of the business so much better, going to school and working at the same time.”

By Wendell Brock

Posted Under: Alumni, Graduate, Recognition

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