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Business Roundtable - Three-generation family business prospers
The father-son team at Tri-State Development includes Keith Bouldin, right, and son Adam.

Keith Bouldin started Tri-State Development & Construction Co. in 1978 after getting out of school. Keith’s father, D.L. Bouldin, joined the firm from 1980 to 1995. Keith’s son, Adam, is now vice president of the firm and works closely with his father.  

Tri-State is headquartered at 335 Garfield Street in McMinnville. Tri-State’s main businesses are commercial/ industrial building construction and self storage rentals.  

Tri-State has averaged 6-7 new buildings per year since beginning operations and has done around 250 buildings. The largest buildings built are as follows:

DN Plastics – 119,000 square feet

Morrison Industries – 105,000 square feet (expansion to Spec Building 1)

Coffee County spec building – 103,000 square feet

Keith estimates 200 of their buildings are in Warren County and 50 are outside our county. Tri-State has built most of the buildings at Mountain View Industrial Park. This list includes the following:

• Morrison Tool & Fab (first building)

• DN Plastics

• Morrison Industries (expansion)

• Navares – major addition

• Multi-Source

• Yorozu Automotive (some)

• Helton Plastics

• SMG Global (both plants) 

• Union Corrugating

• TeNac

• Sansin

• Accu-Router

There are nine full-time employees and one part-timer. The company utilizes 12-14 subcontractors on a regular basis for plumbing, electrical, HVAC, grading, paving, brick/masonry work, insulation, drywall, roofing, framing, concrete, steel erection, fencing, etc.  

While the company employees enjoy long-term relationships with most subs, they will consider new subs. Tri-State is currently recruiting for a new superintendent due to a retirement. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact the company.

Keith and wife, Kathy, have two children. Son Adam is 35 and married to Samantha who has a PhD in bio-chemistry.

Daughter Kristin is 32 and lives with her family (husband and two sons) in Greenville, S.C. 

Keith’s hobbies are going to Center Hill Lake where they have a houseboat and flying his single-engine Cessna 182 airplane.

Tri-State Development was the primary contractor for building the new Chamber of Commerce building on the South Court Square downtown. Keith personally recruited several donations such as plumbing and electrical, roof, his personal labor. His staff labor cost was billed at cost. Keith estimates about $200,000 was donated on this project on what is a beautiful three-story building.  

Keith advises that Tri-State is known for taking care of customers with personalized service leading to much repeat business. Keith views their strengths as customer service, quality work, and a fair price. Having built my building at Accu-Router, I would add honesty and high integrity.  

Lead times on new buildings (kit) are currently 6 months. This used to be 6-8 weeks.  Getting parts and components is an increasing problem. So is high inflation. Keith advises that pre-engineered buildings are up 71% in purchase price.  

Keith has purchased multiple buildings and industrial land in Warren County. Keith has purchased what was known as the Aquatech building off Red Road, and the Metal Products (MPC) building on Garfield Street. He is in process of putting a new roof, doing clean up, and will remodel the offices to the MPC plant.  Keith also owns 4.5 acres of land near the Robotics Center and two acres beside Red Road.  

I asked Keith about when to start a building. He said “Don’t start it in the winter.” I asked Keith what the common problem is for a new building plan. Keith advised that the common mistake is under-budgeting, under-forecasting their needs. Tri-State will consider a project with rebuilding an existing facility. Tri-State relies on its website and word-of-mouth referrals for new business.  

I asked Keith about the most challenging building projects he has encountered. One was building a building over an existing building and then removing the existing building, with only shutting down the company for a short time.  

Another was a complete remodel of a four-radio station firm which stayed on the air throughout construction. He also cited the sewage treatment plant in Spencer as challenging.  

Keith is 62 and reports that Adam will be his successor although retirement is a ways off.  

A few more details about working with Tri-State with the Accu-Router building -  Keith’s word is rock solid; Keith’s people advisories are accurate and prompt; Keith is there when you have a problem; Keith stands behind his work; Keith Bouldin is fair and reasonable.  

I have a high regard for Keith Bouldin. I believe it is amazing that a local company has built most of the Mountain View Industrial Park. We are indebted to Keith for donating much of the new Chamber of Commerce building. 

BRAC congratulates Tri-State Development for building high-quality industrial buildings throughout our county. A loyal customer base will continue their good work.