Heavy highway construction company Becco Contractors, Inc. of Tulsa, Oklahoma self-performs nearly all of its work with a minimal amount of help from subcontractors. Its services include demolition, rehabilitation, and new construction of bridge structures as well as concrete paving and asphalt paving of streets, highways, and turnpikes. The company also performs projects involving earthworks, underground water, sewer, and storm utility installation, trucking, and recycling.
“In one year, we usually move 500,000 to 1,000,000 cubic yards of dirt, pave over fifty miles of concrete roadway lanes, and produce and place over 500,000 tons of asphalt for road improvements per year,” says General Manager Chad Smith. Becco replaces bridge structures over waterways, highways, railways, entire rail yards, and industrial facilities. “On a yearly basis, we erect over 500 tons of structural steel and concrete beams, we place over one million pounds of reinforcing steel, and we form and pour over 15,000 cubic yards of concrete within bridge structures alone.” Becco typically works on forty to fifty projects at any given time.
A few years ago, the state of Oklahoma made national news as having the most structurally deficient bridges compared to the rest of the United States. There are approximately 4,500 bridges in the state, and the majority are past the fifty-year average lifespan. Becco has built up its bridge personnel and equipment to become more involved in this sector and now has six specialized crews and one general bridge superintendent.
The company has been in business for 31 years and has approximately 430 employees. As a private, family-owned-and-operated company, Becco has a close-knit group of people which is why many of its supervisors have been around since its inception.
The company partnered with Tulsa Technology Center to establish a long-term contract to provide in-class training for employees. The seven-week program – paid by the company – takes place at the Broken Arrow Campus, and there is also a job site classroom at Becco to provide training. After one semester of this new program, several employees have graduated and continued to work for the company under an apprentice program.
“We just decided that we have to take the leadership and ownership of our own education. We feel like it’s an investment into our employees in order to keep the future going. Construction is becoming a lost art in some ways because the young aren’t going towards that,” says Chad. The company provides OSHA 10 training to certify its employees to a higher standard and it reaches out to high schools and colleges in an attempt to improve construction workforce numbers.
Becco has made some major changes to personnel, operations, and policies within the last five years that have resulted in substantial growth. In the last thirty years, it has grown by eight hundred percent, so today, expanding is not its primary focus. “I’m not necessarily trying to grow as much as I’m trying to maintain our workforce since it’s a continual thing. We’re trying to stay in our niche, and we’re just trying to get more efficient because we already have a well-oiled machine here,” says Chad. Since Chad joined the company, he has focused on making the company more well-known in the areas surrounding Tulsa and building the brand. After twenty-five years, the company’s logo was updated to reflect a more modern image.
Chad and his father run the company together and can shift resources and complete projects faster than most companies. “We are fortunate to have long-term employees that are talented and/or experienced in many work trades, and this allows us to shuffle crews between projects where the project may be lacking experience with the everyday crew,” explains Chad.
The company has many diversified personnel and resources that it can reallocate on short notice to expedite completion of any given project. There are always unforeseen issues with construction projects, and its versatility is a key advantage. Construction companies also must deal with constantly changing laws, so Becco has a staff on hand to ensure the company is fully compliant.
While the company does some private and commercial work, it is mostly engaged in public transportation projects that include partnerships with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, the City of Tulsa, and other municipalities within a ninety-mile radius of its headquarters. It has also done work with tribal organizations within the northeastern quadrant of Oklahoma
Work includes numerous notable projects for Tulsa and the surrounding area. In the last three years, it worked on the truss bridge along U.S. 169 over Bird Creek and re-decked the 23rd Street Bridge over I-244 and the BNSF rail yard. “Between the three years of construction on those two projects, we erected over 6.3 million pounds of structural steel and placed over 20,000 cubic yards of concrete for the replacement or rehabilitation of over one mile of bridge spans,” says Chad.
Tulsa has a lot of new exciting development, and City of Tulsa Director of Engineering Services Paul Zachary asked Becco take on an important project in August of 2018. The Amazon building project required 5,668 feet of waterline, 1,485 foot of sewer, seven manholes, nine fire hydrants, and the company had to bore 283 feet under 46th Street with a twenty-four-inch bore. It had three utility crews working on a very demanding schedule and pulled resources from different jobs to complete the project by November 23rd.
The company has become well known throughout Tulsa for its recycling program. It accepts old concrete without charging a fee and piles it before crushing it for reuse. This material can be introduced in some projects at different levels, but its use has not yet been standardized, so Becco uses it for bedding and backfill of its own pipes but does not sell the product. Chad is hoping to work with the right people to establish a full concrete recycling program in Oklahoma and become an approved recycling facility. There are some parts of the state where it is very difficult to find virgin rock and hauling it long distances is quite costly.
The process of recycling does cost roughly four or five dollars per ton to handle, however, it is a useful service the company is proud to offer. It also recycles asphalt material and prevents landfill buildup by separating materials. “We take all materials and separate them; we take rocks, concrete, dirt, and asphalt, and we separate it all as much as we can to try and keep these landfills from filling up. I have plenty of landfill to fill, but I don’t want to keep filling it if don’t have to,” says Chad.
Chad has initiated the #BeccoCares social media campaign to get people’s attention and raise awareness about community, employees and safety. The message of #BeccoCares is clear in all operations including its recycling program and the Tulsa Tech training to enhance the careers of its employees. Becco Contractors is striving to create a better future for the community and the construction industry.