Taking Chances and Embracing Change, Matt Stephenson Charts His Own Course
A third-generation builder, North Carolina native Matt Stephenson knew from a young age that he would continue the family tradition and build his career in construction. What he could not have predicted, however, is that he would develop a reputation as one of Charlotte’s most adaptable and diversified builders, meeting the evolving needs of his clients and partners.
Matt grew up with a hammer in hand, spending his high school and college summers working on his father’s residential jobsites. After graduating from NC State University with a degree in mechanical engineering, Matt obtained his North Carolina general contractor license and spent the first several years of his career as a mechanical estimator on domestic and international power plants.
In 2014, Matt joined Balfour Beatty in a preconstruction role focused on mission critical projects, where his MEP expertise contributed to the development of reliable estimates and commissioning of data center, call center and central energy plant projects. Matt was fascinated by the highly complex aspects of mission critical mechanical systems, where contractors must prevent even a millisecond of downtime.
Although Matt thrived in preconstruction, a hunger always existed within him to physically build the projects he had planned conceptually hundreds of times over. When Matt was approached to join the team’s commercial ranks, he jumped at the chance.
That opportunity came with major changes and challenges: a transition into operations that began with managing the construction of a five-story, precast parking deck. Matt was eager to break in his boots and embraced the unknown with an unwavering confidence in the team that surrounded him. Predictably, the project met every definition of success, completed on time and under budget.
“Every day in construction is unique,” says Matt. “Is there a procurement issue? Is there a fit-up issue? Is there a weather impact? You learn how to tackle each challenge and become a better project manager because of it.”
Matt further solidified his dexterity as a project manager on the award-winning Frankie's of Charlotte, a $30 million, 18-acre family fun park. From complex sitework that included cutting and filling 250,000 cubic yards of dirt and erecting a 1,500-foot-long, 40-foot-high mechanically stabilized earth wall to an intricate electrical system with colossal voltage, Frankie’s demanded a detail-driven, collaborative leader. Matt recorded some firsts on this one-of-a-kind project, and so did the town in which it was built. The team executed the installation of 28 rooftop HVAC units via helicopter—a first in Huntersville, NC history.
Frankie’s owner Doug Godley praised, “I have worked with many construction companies since opening our first location in 1990. With the completion of this project, Balfour Beatty has set the industry standard for what it means to deliver a quality product with professional performance.”
As a mission critical construction expert, Matt knows a thing or two about redundancy. But as his career progresses into new markets from high-end interiors to government facilities, it is proving anything but predictable. Matt’s chameleon-like adaptability isn’t a survival tactic in this progressive industry—it’s what makes him thrive. No matter the market, customer or end user, Matt’s focus on providing consistency, value, intentional communication and superior service remains the same. With calloused hands and a compassionate heart, Matt looks forward to tackling his next challenge and welcoming change as a catalyst for growth.