Deep Foundations of Partnership
Subsurface Constructors | St. Louis, MO
At just 16 years old, Jim Morgan began his career in deep foundation construction at Subsurface Constructors. When he became president of the company in 1999, Morgan, along with his brother Jeff, dove into the design and engineering capabilities of Subsurface Constructors and built the family business into the nationwide full-service construction contractor it is today.
Subsurface Constructors has banked with Commerce Bank for many years, creating a relationship that has differentiated them from their competition. “Our competition at the time was stuck with older, cheaper US drill equipment and at Subsurface Constructors, we were investing in the newest, best technology,” Morgan shares. “Besides providing our line of credit, Commerce was fully supportive every time we were buying new drill rigs, and they ran around $700,000–1,200,000 apiece.”
As Subsurface Constructors continued to explore new technologies, they began to import equipment from England, needing support in International Payments. “We had to buy in pound sterling.” Morgan notes. “I didn't know what the rig was going to cost until it shipped because of the arbitrage between the dollar and the pound sterling. Commerce was a solid partner throughout that process.”
Because of this commitment to service and relationships, Subsurface Constructors can truly call Commerce a financial partner. “In the early 1990s, we were doing $2-3 million in volume,” Morgan shares. “This past year, our revenue more than exceeded 10 times that. Commerce partnered with us through that growth — and we’re continuing to grow. Commerce will be there to help us do it.”
With a Commerce team member assigned to their business, Subsurface Constructors knows who to call to find out what’s happening. “The biggest challenges Commerce has helped us solve are related to growth,” Morgan explains. “We'll have a surge of growth and realize that our current line of credit wasn't quite covering our cash outlays. After a brief explanation and going over the numbers, Commerce would swiftly up our line of credit. It’s good to have that confidence, that if I need to up my line of credit, our banker at Commerce is just a phone call away.”
Over the course of his years as CEO of Subsurface Constructors, Morgan has experienced economic ups and downs, and many worldwide challenges that have impacted the business. “We've never felt unsupported during those times,” Morgan says. “I talk to lots of friends who operate businesses with different banks and they’ve found themselves searching for a new banker every time things got rough. But not us.”
Confident in their solid relationship with Commerce, Subsurface Constructors has valued having Commerce to lean on in times of challenge and in times of growth. “It's been such a steadfast relationship,” Morgan says. “I don't spend my time worrying about cash flow and financing like so many businesses do just because I know I have a reliable partner.”
After decades of working with Commerce, Morgan has joined their advisory board. “It’s certainly been a rewarding experience,” Morgan recalls. “We've had so much confidence with Commerce and we appreciate that they’ve had confidence in us and let us participate on the board.” Today, Subsurface Constructors and Commerce Bank continue their relationship to achieve new heights in tandem.