Involvement in local business helped Yantis Corp., a $25-million highway-construction company in San Antonio, survive Texas's real estate bust of the late 1980s.

During the mid-1980s, chairman John Yantis, who served on the board of a local savings and loan, convinced his sons that a slowdown was coming. Preparing for the hard times, president Tom Yantis and executive vice-president Mike Yantis developed a multipronged strategy that their company still relies on. It involves diversification and improved tracking of their market. Instead of specializing only in highly profitable--but cyclical--private-development work, the company has diversified into city, state, and even federal projects.

Now the Yantises track private real estate projects approved by local planning and zoning boards--a good indicator of construction activity six months ahead or more. With that information, they can vary their business mix and, with several options to choose from, adjust their company's plans as economic conditions change.

Published on: Jan 1, 1998