John Payne founded his first fencing company in the early 1990s – literally in a barn in southern Ellis County — after an unsuccessful foray into the commercial ostrich ranching business. As painful as losing the commercial ranching operation was, Payne says, that experience was one of the best things that ever happened to him. Leaning on his wife, Lana, and drawing on his faith, Payne bounced back quickly as most entrepreneurs do to build Payne Fence Products into an industry leader with a reputation for quality second to none.
“Looking back on the last 25 years, there is no doubt God was working on Lana and me,” Payne says. “In the early days of our fence company, we just felt we were surviving, but daily we were committed to diligent work, great service, and executing a plan that had been laid for us.”
With its focus on top-quality materials and innovative engineering solutions, Payne Fence Products developed a reputation for devising solutions for complicated commercial, industrial, and security projects for clients such as Wal-Mart, Lowes, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. And in so doing, it attracted the attention of international conglomerates and its ultimate suitor, the BetaFence Group of Belgium.
In 2008, Betafence entered into a partnership with Payne Fence Products and then bought the company in its entirety in 2011. Payne, who helped guide the transition, exited the company with an equity buyout to embark upon the next chapter in his life.
As a fencing industry entrepreneur, Payne had obtained more than 20 patents that translated into better construction, better processes, better solutions, and better fences. He had served on several ASTM International Technical Committees to help develop industry standards. As a native Texan and landowner, he understood just how important a good fence is—and often how difficult it can be to build that good fence over rugged terrain and streams. Now, he had the chance to bring together two great passions: devising solutions and improving the land.
And thus, Tejas Ranch & Game Fence was born.
Building fences across ranches in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, Payne quickly realized that for many landowners, a good fence was just the beginning. There were roads and ponds to construct, brushy pastures to clear, and wildlife habitats to develop. Tejas had the experience and equipment to do all that. What’s more, Payne had the vision, creativity, and know-how to help landowners develop master plans for ranch property improvements.
“Some people like to hunt and fish, and in my younger days I lived for those things,” says Payne. “But these days, I like to make the hunting or fishing experience better for others by building the ranch infrastructure and adding the right details in the right way.”
In just a few years, guided by Payne’s vision, Tejas Ranch & Game Fence has expanded from a fencing solutions company into a full service ranch development company with a reputation for quality and problem solving.
“Whether it’s a high game fence, a shooting range, pond enhancements, or a bird-watching pavilion with a fire pit, at the end of the day,” says Payne, “it’s all about creating something that makes people say, ‘Wow!’”