One business is helping build a rock solid foundation for Corpus Christi. Rock Engineering and Testing Laboratory, Inc. (RETL) provides geotechnical engineering, geotechnical and environmental drilling, construction materials engineering and testing services for the engineering and construction industries. The original owners, husband and wife duo Mark and Roetta (Roe) Rock, helped found the Corpus Christi company in March 1998. Roe serves as President of RETL and Mark is the Senior Engineering Consultant. Two of their children–Curtis and Loren– have also joined the family business.
“It was never expected for our children to work at RETL,” said Roe. “However the opportunity was there and they are both very successful at it. It’s refreshing to know they have helped us to build our business, which has grown into three locations.” RETL works throughout the state and has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Round Rock. RETL is certified by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and State of Texas Historically Underutilized Business – just to name a few.
The services that RETL delivers are crucial to the foundation of construction. Whether a parking lot or large commercial building, or heavy industrial structure, it’s critical to have an understanding of the behavior of the site soil conditions and what type of foundation should be utilized. “We will perform a site exploration, drill and obtain the soil samples and conduct laboratory testing depending on what they’re planning to build. Our knowledge base includes 30 years of extensive local soil condition information, which helps us determine the depth that we’re going to drill and sample,” said Curtis. “A report is then generated using our findings and test results for suitable foundation recommendations which is provided to the owner’s design team. Then, someone such as a civil or structural engineer can use that report to develop designs.”
RETL has been part of countless massive developments in Corpus Christi, including La Palmera Mall upgrades and The Cosmopolitan Apartments. “We’ve been part of some of the most transformative projects in the last 20 years,” said Curtis. “Projects such as Del Mar South, Veterans Memorial High School, the new Mary Carroll High School that is currently under construction, TPCO, the Exxon Plant in Gregory and many more exciting projects have included Rock Engineering. We are always thankful for those opportunities.”
No matter how many projects they do, they are each still struck with emotion each time they see final results from their early support. “I love this city so much and I’ve always been an advocate for its growth and development,” said Curtis. “So when I drive by even the smallest example of our work, it’s a big deal to me.”
RETL employs more than 90 people throughout its offices, and the family connection isn’t just between the parents and children. “Here in the office, there is a sense of family,” said Loren.
The family business, in addition to helping develop buildings, helps build their family. “Having two of my kids working for the company has helped keep us close with them and their kids,” said Mark, of their grandchildren who spend time around the office. Loren echoes this sentiment, noting that being able to be around her family often has made them all closer.
“I’m proud to work with my babies,” said Roe, who was born in Hawaii and brought the Hawaiian value of “Ohana,” which means “family” with her when she moved to Texas in the ‘80s. “My children know the importance of Ohana. They know – ‘Ohana is everything!'”