An aerial view of northeastern Oklahoma depicts the megalithic handiworks of heavy highway construction company Becco Contractors Inc. Projects range from highway and bridge constructions like the Gilcrease extension over the Arkansas River to the almost finished widening of Yale Avenue from 81st to 91st. 

Holding both helicopter and plane licenses, Becco’s general superintendent Chad Smith is familiar with that stunning view from the sky.

 “Most of our projects are within 90 miles of Tulsa for bridges and overlays outside the surrounding cities,” says Smith. The company typically works on around fifty plans simultaneously, often on projects large in scope, involving infrastructure and mainstay institutions including the Turnpike Authority, the Oklahoma Transportation Department, the City of Tulsa, the City of Broken Arrow and the City of Owasso. 

Becco is a private, family-owned company headquartered in Tulsa that employs around 430 people. Smith says the business has grown about 800% since his parents founded it in 1988, thanks in part to large city projects that started in 1989. Smith grew up learning every aspect of the construction industry, later earning a business construction management degree at Oklahoma State University. Today, he continues to wear many hats including, he says with a laugh, “all the HR.”

Training existing employees and the future generation of workers is a priority for Smith, and Becco has curated project partnerships with Tulsa Technology Center to develop the workforce they need, with training for equipment operators and CDL (commercial driver’s license) truck drivers.

“We started a program about six years ago with Tulsa Tech,” he says. “Right now, we have an operator’s program with equipment simulators at the campus at 31st and Memorial with a full-time instructor; we think of it as ‘Becco University.’ As we bring in new people and invest in existing employees, we want them to succeed – and so we invest in training, helping them earn certifications and operating skills. We are getting a nice return on the young men and women who come through the training program who become safer, more efficient and overall better employees.”

Smith says he devotes time talking to high school and vocational tech students to “let kids know that construction is cool, and you can have a different, well-paying career where you are outside every day. Minimum wage in this is $16.20 an hour, and when you prove your worth, that wage keeps going up.”   

The social media campaign #BeccoCares came about “to bring awareness to our company and to safety,” says Smith. “Often in this industry, the only news that comes out is talking about road construction. With hashtags, I thought we could update it and bring awareness to employees, safety, community and our well-received, free concrete recycling program. It’s ongoing, as we’ve donated to different [causes]. People ask for donations, and we help when we can. And we want to communicate that we are hiring and share an option to people wanting a computer or tech job.”

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