Pouring ‘wow’: Slab is just the start for Baltzes’ scoring, staining and stamping

By Andria Lisle
Memphis Commercial Appeal
April 9, 2008

When Antone Edward Baltz returned to the Mid-South after World War II, he decided to go into the concrete business.

More than 60 years later, his grandson, Kevin Baltz, carries on the family tradition as president and owner of Baltz and Sons Concrete Services Inc.

baltzKevin Baltz”It’s been my birthright, so to speak,” said Baltz. “My grandfather started the business in 1946 when he returned to Pocahontas, Ark., and found his farm in disarray.”

He was just in time. In the 1950s, the concrete business exploded, thanks to an increase in federal building projects.

Fast-forward to the 1980s, when Kevin Baltz began punching the clock at the family-run company as he worked his way through high school and got a business degree at Christian Brothers University.

After graduation, Baltz relocated to Colorado, ready to start a new chapter in his career.

Then in 1994, his dad, Tony Baltz, needed help.

“He asked me to come back to Memphis to work on a particularly large project, and so I flew home for what I thought would be a temporary job,” Baltz said.

It turned out Henry Turley had hired Baltz and Sons to take over the developmental concrete work — sidewalks, curbs and gutters — for Harbor Town and South Bluffs.

“It was a gold mine,” said Baltz, “and we needed to either turn it down or turn our company into a complete operation.

“We formed a partnership from a proprietorship, which lasted for six months. There were too many chefs in the kitchen, so my dad retired, although he’s still the end-all counselor for everything we do. He instilled a great work ethic in us, which I may have resented growing up, but have a profound appreciation for now.”

Baltz and Sons is “truly a family operation,” he said.

“My partner is my younger brother, Ted, so I know his interest is in the welfare of the company. … The transition I made was more on the business end. I just made the company function more smoothly, and we’ve grown from 7 to 20 percent annually. Right now, we’re pouring over a quarter-million square feet of concrete a year.”

Ironically, said Baltz, the project that brought him back to the concrete business was the most utilitarian work he has ever done.

“My father’s reputation was built on decorative concrete,” he said. “A vast majority of our work is residential. We do over 200 pool decks a year. And we’ve won five awards from the Tennessee Concrete Association for our stamped concrete work, including Project of the Year in 2006 for the common areas of the Preserves in Arlington.

“Whether it’s decorative scoring, pigmentation methods or stamping, we research ways to make concrete new, unique and beautiful. My favorite thing in the world is to inject that ‘wow’ factor into people’s backyards. If they’re thrilled to be there, I know we’ve done our job.”

Kevin Baltz

Age: 38

Profession: president and owner of Baltz and Sons Concrete Services Inc.

Personal: Wife, Shelley; daughters Emma, 7, and Sofia, 4.

Philosophy: “My dad told me long ago, ‘If you do the right thing and you do it well, then you can’t fail.’ I think that’s critical. The other thing he taught me is the profound impact of relationships. If you maintain your integrity, you thrive.”