The remarkable history of Mason Construction began in 1939 when W.K. Mason founded the company as a dragline contractor. More than 70 years later, what started as a one-man operation has grown to become one of the most well respected and successful construction companies in Southeast Texas – with a workforce of more than 250 skilled professionals. Likewise, the company has expanded over the years to offer a wide range of industrial and commercial construction services for markets including petrochemical, refining, power, manufacturing, ports, healthcare and more.
It all started on November 6, 1939. After arranging to buy a dragline, W.K. Mason won a bid with the U.S. Corps of Engineers to build a containment levee and dredge out part of the Houston Ship Channel at Galveston. And with that, Mason Dragline Contractor was born.
A few years later, W.K.'s sons, Kee and Charlie, joined the business – which continued to grow and expand to include oilfield construction as well as excavation of the network of drainage ditches surrounding Beaumont. After W.K. retired in 1956, Charlie and Kee continued operations as W.K. Mason and Sons – working primarily for the drainage districts and for Sun Oil, which was headquartered in Beaumont at the time.
By 1968, Kee had left the business, Sun Oil had left the area, and much of the drainage work had been completed. As times were tough and work was hard to find, Charlie shifted the focus of the business to equipment rentals.
The early 1970's brought new faces and fresh ideas, as Charlie's sons, Chuck and Brad, joined the business. Their addition, along with Charlie's seasoned leadership, put the company in a position to grow. After changing focus to "hard dollar” projects in site work, road construction and asphalt paving, the company did indeed begin to grow – even surviving a series of refinery and construction strikes lasting for months.
The early 1980's brought a period of spectacular growth for the company, which was now known as Mason Construction. With the retirement of Charlie Mason in 1980, Chuck and Brad were now running the company. Returning to work after a three-month strike, the company won a bid on nearly $7 million in projects – more than its entire annual volume for any previous year.
However, the company's explosive growth soon created a major problem, as a $5 million project for Mobil Chemical resulted in a half-million dollar loss. Chuck and Brad immediately realized the need to reassess the industry's normal approach to work. Recognizing that "throwing resources at a job” had been the main cause of the loss, they reshaped the company into a leaner, more efficient and controlled organization.
This new company structure – forged from a past failure – proved to be the key to success. While many successful contractors failed during the oil bust of 1983, Mason Construction had its best year ever.
Throughout the rest of the 1980's, the company continued to expand and improve by hiring more experienced managers, supervisors and craftsman. The company also focused on strengthening its core values: safe worksites; well-trained, long-term employees; high productivity; and continuous improvement. As a result, Mason Construction continued to thrive.
In the early 1990's the company bought Basic Steel, a structural steel erection company. This allowed Mason Construction to expand even further by offering clients specialized structural steel services.
In 2004 the company's growth and expansion continued, as Mason Construction launched a new piling operation. In the years since, the company has increased its piling services exponentially and established itself as a leader in this specialized area of construction.
The early 2000's also saw a fourth generation of Masons join the family business, bringing new skills and talents to benefit the company's clients. With a rich tradition of meeting challenges, embracing change and delivering the highest quality work, Mason Construction is poised to continue growing and improving well into the future.