Case Studies

Mason Construction Ltd.

Foundations Built on Integrity
  • Written by: Mason Construction Ltd.
  • Produced by: Mason Construction Ltd.
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Charles (Chuck) Mason Jr., president of Mason Construction Ltd. (Mason Construction), is part of a family that understands how a company survives in today’s economic climate. The industrial and civil contractor has been able to adapt and diversify according to industry needs while operating from its Beaumont, Texas, location.

Mason Construction was founded in 1939 by Chuck’s grandfather, W.K. Mason. W.K. had no equipment or employees, but still managed to win the contract to build a levee along the Houston Ship Channel between Houston and Galveston. W.K. invested his life savings of $650 on a dragline to perform the work and successfully completed the project.

The company expanded into building drainage systems for the low-lying land in southeast Texas and into work for the growing oil industry in the ’40s and ’50s. Mason Construction again diversified in the ’60s and ’70s into civil industrial construction and established itself as one of the region’s premier contractors.

Today Chuck and his brother Brad run the company, which now offers clients a comprehensive list of services, including concrete construction, site work, structural steel construction and, most recently, piling with the creation of a new piling division in 2004.

Evolution of a Company

“We’ve changed a lot over the last 70-plus years,” says Chuck, president of Mason Construction. “If you’re going to survive for any length of time, you have to evolve.”

The company currently employs roughly 275 personnel at its facility in Beaumont. Chuck estimates that the company’s workers routinely can be found on projects within a 75-mile radius of Mason Construction’s headquarters. “Most of work for the last 20 years or so has been with the petro-chemical industry; it’s roughly 95 percent of what we do,” he says.

“Our area is lucky in that we’ve seen a lot of activity in petro-chemical,” continues Chuck. “There’s been a lot of interest in recent years in domestic drilling and finding new sources of oil and gas. The refineries here are responding by aggressively increasing their operations and that has led to impressive growth for us while much of the construction industry was contracting.”

Mason Construction has over seven decades of history in the industry and has deservingly attracted a number of repeat high-profile clients. The number of companies that routinely return to Mason Construction attest to the quality of work.

Motiva Enterprises, a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Aramco, operates three large refineries in the region. Motiva Enterprises turned to Mason Construction while expanding its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery from its current capacity of 225,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) to a capacity of 600,000 bb/d. “We did a lot of work for Motiva, both in site prep and foundations,” says Chuck.

Valero Energy Corporation, the nation’s largest refiner, also calls upon Mason Construction for site work and concrete foundations for a number of its refineries. “We’ve been working with Valero and its predecessors for many years,” says Chuck. “They’ve been in expansion mode for a while and we are fortunate to have a good relationship with them. They call on us often.”

A portion of the company’s growth can also be attributed to Mother Nature. In the last decade southern Texas has been adversely affected by a number of hurricanes; most recently the area was impacted by Hurricane Ike in 2008. “A number of plants were damaged by Hurricane Ike and we’ve been working with the plants to build more extensive diking around their facilities so that they will be able to withstand and prevent future storm surge damage,” says Chuck.

Award-winning Safety Program

Mason Construction is not only capable of adapting to the economy, but has also reinforced the company’s success through its comprehensive safety program. “Safety is extremely important and the refineries and chemical plants, regardless of what you read in the papers, are extremely safety conscious and have very high standards,” reveals Chuck. “That’s one of our biggest challenges, because we work with multiple owners who have different safety requirements and we’re in a construction zone where things are never static. We’ve developed an outstanding safety program that is consistently recognized by local plants as one of the strongest in our industry.”

Local petro-chemical industry owners first recognized Mason Construction for its safety program in 1996 with the Golden Triangle Business Roundtable Contractors Safety Award. Mason Construction has been a winner or a finalist of the award in almost all of the years since. The National Business Roundtable recognized Mason Construction in 1997 as having the best safety program in the nation for similar-sized contractors.

Mason Construction then won the Southeast Texas Better Business Bureau’s second annual Torch Award for Ethics in 1999. The Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce recognized Mason Construction with the Spindletop Award in 2010, an annual award given to an area business for exemplary corporate citizenship.

Chuck is excited looking to the future. “We plan on creating more relationships with plants in the petro-chemical industry, and we have a solid reputation in the industry upon which we can rely,” he says. “The requirements from petro-chemical are pretty exacting, but we know how to do what they want and we’re going to keep on doing it.”

The company’s fourth generation of leadership has already joined Mason Construction; Chuck’s son, asmwell as several nephews and nieces are working at the company and will be ready to take over when needed. “Nepotism is generally not regarded as the best business plan, but it’s been working very well for us,” jokes Chuck.

Chuck Mason’s optimism that Mason Construction Ltd. is set for a bright future is not entirely misplaced, as the U.S. continues to invest more in its domestic production of oil and natural gas.

Published on: March 15, 2013

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