Dewitt Tilton Group
2807-A Roger Lacey Ave.
Savannah, GA 31404
What motivated you to enter into this business?
Chris: We saw the need in Savannah for a firm that is focused solely on new construction, and one that can carefully manage every aspect of a project, from pre-construction through completion.
Andrew: We both recognized the growth in this market and we felt that by pooling our resources together we could provide a unique product.
Please provide a short description of your business.
Chris: The Dewitt Tilton Group knows what it takes to manage successful building projects. We build innovative solutions for the most complex commercial construction challenges. Andrew Dewitt and I are the co-founders and Kim Thomas is director of operations. We serve the metro-Savannah market, including Chatham County, Richmond Hill and the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Andrew: We can get done what others cannot.
Why should a customer choose your business?
Chris: We’re new, yet we’re old. Andrew and I each have 25 years in the construction business, plus we grew up in Savannah and have known each other since we attended Benedictine Military School together. We have worked independently and with each other, building homes, offices and subdivisions. Dewitt Tilton Group may be a new business but we have an old Savannah heart and soul.
What are some of the hallmarks of your business?
Chris: We’re doing things a little differently than what you might expect with a construction firm. We understand the importance of having a brand people can trust and respect and deliver a higher level of excellence in our service and staff capabilities as well as our construction sites and crews.
What aspects of the business inspire your passion in this field?
Chris: What inspires me the most is the completion of a building and having a grand opening for a client. There is great satisfaction in fulfilling somebody’s dreams.
Andrew: I agree with Chris. There is great satisfaction in completing a project for a client.
What degrees/certifications do you have?
Chris: I graduated with honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in the field of building construction. I have a Georgia General Contractor license (# GCQA004613), South Carolina General Contractor license (#107106) and am a Georgia Registered Real Estate Appraiser (#289261).
Andrew: I completed college at the University of Georgia with a BBA degree in Real Estate. I am a licensed General Certified Real Estate Appraiser in both Georgia (#3546) and South Carolina (#5021).
Briefly describe your career path before starting this business.
Chris: I honed my skills with several large construction firms outside this area prior to returning to the Savannah market in 2005. I am also the founder of Tilton Commercial Group and JHT Construction.
Andrew: I have been appraising commercial properties in this market for 25 years. I have developed subdivisions, condominium and townhouse communities, office parks and restored historic buildings.
How do you see the company growing over the next five years?
Chris: I’ll continue to be on the front lines, meeting with clients and being involved in every job.
Andrew: It’s important to maintain personal relationships with each client, to guide them through the process, which can be an intimidating one. Many of our clients have never built a building before.
What challenges have you encountered that strengthened your business skills?
Chris: The 2008 recession taught me many lessons; mainly that speculative building is a thing of the past. But I knew if my grandparents could survive the Great Depression, then I could get through those years. It was a life changing experience.
Andrew: There is no one specific encounter, but rather, a life full of lessons and the school of hard knocks that influenced my business acumen.
What childhood experiences helped shape the person you became?
Chris: My family, particularly my dad and grandfather, were great influences. When I was a child, we lived in the North Forest Beach area of Hilton Head Island, which was still a small, rural place. I could go into the grocery store and pick up something and my parents would settle the bill at the end of the week. My dad was one of only three builders on the island. His trim carpenter, Mr. Lariscy, would pick me up in the mornings and I’d help him all day. He’d even let me set nails.
Andrew: My time at Benedictine Military School is probably my most influential experience. The friends I made there are my best friends today. It’s truly a fraternity.
Who is/was your professional mentor?
Chris: I went to work for Bill Grant in Atlanta in 2001. He is a smart builder who never got overextended in those heydays before the recession, and he helped me understand the professional side of the business. I still talk with him about once a month.
Andrew: Stan Strickland (Savannah’s Candy Kitchen founder) has been a big influence in my life. We spent so much time together fishing that I would pick up bits and pieces of knowledge and occasionally get the subtle push to do more. My wife, Sara, has also played a big role in helping me achieve success over the last eleven years.
What are some of your hobbies?
Chris: I love to fish and attend my children’s sporting events. I have one son off at college but of the three at home, my daughter is in traveling cheer, and the boys play basketball and baseball. I enjoy reading and am a big history buff. My favorite author is Gore Vidal.
Andrew: My family and I love the outdoors. My youngest son, Baylor, absolutely loves to hunt and my oldest, Andrew, loves to fish. We also have a small farm that we enjoy working.
Is there anything that might surprise someone about you?
Chris: No surprises here. I wear everything on my sleeve.
Andrew: How much my family and I work on our farm. It’s a lot of hard work but we enjoy the outdoor time together.
Tell us about your family.
Chris: I am married to Christy, an engagement manager at Microsoft, where she has been employed for the past 21 years. My 18-year-old son, Peter, is enrolled at Texas A&M. John Clark is 13; Jessica is 11 and Christian is nine years old.
Andrew: I have been married for eleven years to Sara DeWitt. Sara and I have worked together the entire time and my success would not be possible without her help. We have two boys. Andrew is seven and Baylor is six.