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Building Structures Where Citizens Thrive

The following is a feature in the Memphis Crossroads Magazine. Click here to view the issue in its entirety.

Whether he’s speaking about creating vibrant city spaces or discussing his involvement with the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle, Montgomery Martin consistently emphasizes one clear message: He believes in the future of Memphis.
The founder and CEO of Montgomery Martin Contractors (MMC) says he is dedicated to uplifting the city through the structures he and his team build – places that foster community, productivity, recreation, tourism and, ultimately, the local economy. And while high standards of excellence play a leading role in Martin’s professional drive, he’s also fueled by personal beliefs.
“I’m a Christian, and it’s a holistic belief that my faith requirement is to not just give back, but to also try to make a difference,” said Martin, an elder at Independent Presbyterian Church. “Speaking from my heart’s side, my work at MMC and my involvement with the Chairman’s Circle are my best, most meaningful ways to do that in this city.”
 “In a more focused way, the Chamber’s purpose to grow and support new and small business in Memphis provides a good way to see how our economy can be changed,” Martin added. “The essence of the Chairman’s Circle is developing a strategy that helps remove the obstacles to Memphis’ success by promoting initiatives to solve the hard problems. In doing this there is a lot of positive energy that’s come together in a way I’ve not seen before.”
As with all his decisions, joining the Chairman’s Circle wasn’t something Martin took lightly.
“This approach has been used very successfully in other cities, so that was one of the reasons I joined,” he said. “I also respect the leadership. Phil Trenary, Mark Herbison and, at the time, Dexter Muller realized that bringing together business leaders to work collaboratively with a common mission would be one of the best ways to address some of the city’s economic needs. And now, through the collective strength and efforts of people who care about this city, we have long-term strategies to reach some of those goals.”
Recently, Martin’s company has been at the forefront of several exciting projects that should also add economic and cultural vitality to the Mid-South.
“In the early 2000s, we entered the downtown market to help owners and developers rehab, renovate and repurpose their buildings into mixed-use projects, primarily apartments,” said Martin, who listed Court Square Center, Pressbox Lofts and, in the works, the Central Station and Tennessee Brewery projects in the South Main districts as examples. “We just finished Chisca on Main and everyone seems to be pleased. It’s filling up and the rents are good, so that’s helping. It’s gratifying for all of us to be involved in a project where the common goal is delivering a building where people can live and enjoy life and thrive.”
An increase in attractive living spaces, where residents can live close to work and recreational spots and congregate with likeminded neighbors, is one key to attracting and retaining talented young professionals in the city, he said.
Some of Martin’s other projects, such as the new pavilion that will house the restored 1909 Dentzel Memphis Grand Carousel at the Children’s Museum of Memphis and, most recently, Shelby Farms Park’s $52 million “Heart of the Park” initiative, will enhance quality of life by providing places for families to enjoy, as well as must-see spots for Memphis visitors. Again, Martin uses the word “thrive” in summary.
“Our purpose is to create places where people thrive. That’s our mantra. What we do is, to a great degree, projects that are game-changers for the city,” Martin said. “The Shelby Farms project is an international-class attraction. We’re so pleased to have been part of the team that created it.”
With a planned grand opening in September, the Heart of the Park additions include an expansion of Patriot Lake from 55 to about 80 acres, rental facilities for boats and bikes, walking trails, an events stage, a “Water Play Sprayground,” restaurants and more. At the height of the two-year construction period, MMC had 120 workers at the site.
“We’re thrilled to have partnered with Montgomery Martin on our Heart of the Park project for Shelby Farms Park. As one of the premier builders in this area, his firm is consistently recognized for its work on a local, regional and national level,” said Jen Andrews, executive director of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy. “They recognized the importance and special needs of this phase of our master plan and have delivered an exceptional space that is sure to be a gem for Memphis."
Aside from civic involvement and a constant drive to excel professionally, Martin said that a third component to his goal of giving back to the city is the professional development of others. His company has a robust internship program designed to attract, train and hire the best and brightest students from local and regional colleges, including Auburn, Purdue and Mississippi State universities, as well as University of Memphis.
With help from the Greater Memphis Chamber and the Supplier Diversity Collaborative, Martin said he’s also working with other local business leaders to develop industry-specific mentoring and training programs for Minority Owned Businesses (MBE), Women Owned Businesses (WBE) or Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) that have the drive and tools but need coaching on some of the finer points of subcontracting, such as accounting and running a business in general.
“We want to create ways for more companies to succeed and, through an organized effort, impart knowledge through education,” Martin said. “The cost of entry into our business is low, but the percentages of sustainability are also low and the ability to grow the companies is hard. We want to come together to help create a long-term sustainable way to grow MBEs, WBEs and DBEs. In the end, it means creating more jobs, upping income and lowering poverty.”
For Martin, who was born and raised in Memphis and has “deep roots here,” at the end of the day it all comes down to his love of the city.
“I do what I do because I love Memphis, because I want Memphis to succeed and because I want Memphis to grow and become what I know it can be.”
Story by: Erinn Figg
Photo by: Troy Glasgow
Posted: 9/27/2016 1:47:27 PM | with 0 comments
Filed under: Building, Chairman's, Circle, Construction, Contracting, Environment, Martin, Memphis, Montgomery, Spotlight

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The latest news from the Greater Memphis Chamber. For more information, contact Director of Communications Christina Meek at (901) 543-3504 ( or Communications Specialist Jenny C. Fish at (901) 543-3558 (