WILKS MASONRY - A FAMILY TRADITION

The Wilks masonry tradition started with VOY WILKS, who took up his trowel more than fifty years ago.

It was only natural that his sons, Farris and Dan Wilks, worked with Voy on summer breaks. Both entered the trade early, learning and applying all aspects of masonry through decades of hands-on experience.

 

"In the mid fifties my family of seven was temporarily living in a small, three-room, former goat shed," VOY WILKS recalls. "My wife, Myrtle, and I wanted to build a house, but we were determined to pay for it as we went.

"Knowing it might take us several years, we chose to build with masonry because it would withstand exposure to the weather."

They were many months growing that red clay tile house, but it has aged gracefully. Voy still calls it home.

"As these walls went up," chuckles Voy, glancing around him, "I got to enjoying that block work."

"Coupled with that, my job in a Cisco factory wasn't paying the bills well. So during my vacation in 1959 I worked for a masonry contractor in Abilene, Snodgrass and Company. I could hardly wait to go to work each morning.

"When my factory employer refused my request for a small nickel or dime raise, I gave notice and hired out my trowel.

"You could say the course of history for me and my family turned on not getting that five- or ten-cent raise."

One of Voy's daughters remembers, "Then there was the happy day Dad came home from work and announced he'd laid a thousand brick. That was a proud moment."

Voy nods. "I think that was two or three months after I went to work in Abilene. I remember starting at $1.50 per hour. Snodgrass was good to increase that as I got better. I joined the union as a journeyman bricklayer about 1962. Work took me all over Texas and beyond.

"It was another proud moment when I went to work for my sons in the late seventies. I worked for them, occasionally running work, until I retired in 1980. I may have worked after that date briefly a time or two."

In 1995, FARRIS WILKS combined resources with his brother, Dan, to form WILKS MASONRY, INC.

While he was President, Farris' dynamic leadership qualities and diplomacy were especially valuable. He configured field personnel and materials for maximum production; resolved problems that arose on the jobs; and drew on his familiarity with the trade to implement financial goals and to increase profitability.

He was unflagging in pursuit of objectives -- virtually indefatigable. But it was his exceptional integrity that framed his other fine qualities and set him – and WILKS MASONRY, INC. – apart.

Since passing the baton to the third generation in November, 2005, Farris has been an active member of the board of WILKS MASONRY, INC.

 

FARRIS WILKS started in masonry as a bricklayer's helper while a teenager. He completed his apprenticeship and received journeyman status while working for A. A. Kelley of Abilene, developing a fast, smooth style and accumulating a store of knowledge and experience. He soon became foreman on several projects for the same contractor.

Farris returned to his home town of Cisco and joined Central Masonry, Inc., in 1978. He repeatedly demonstrated his worth to the fledgling company. He excelled as a mason, but he had a leadership quality, and an infectious, downright persistent optimism, that made him a gifted supervisor. That, with an unusual measure of practicality, will power, and determination, made him a highly effective foreman.

Farris extracted top production from his masons and laborers, partly because he was at the head of the crew, setting the pace.

He was doing what he still does so well: leading. He was repeatedly in charge of CMI's largest and most profitable jobs.

In 1989 Farris accepted an offer to be field superintendent over the Dallas/Fort Worth area for masonry contractor Nelms Construction of Temple. He played a crucial role in that company's expansion during lean construction years, overseeing contracts totaling $3-$5 million annually. His exceptional dedication, loyalty, integrity, and experience explain why.

However, Farris chose to return to Cisco again in pursuit of greater fulfillment and reward. In 1995, Farris combined resources with his brother, Dan, to form WILKS MASONRY, INC.

While Dan handled estimating and routine financial matters, Farris configured field personnel for maximum production; supervised foremen; expedited material deliveries; resolved problems that arose on the jobs; and drew on his experience, his familiarity with the trade, to implement financial goals and to increase profitability.

A long-time employee says, "Farris brings out the highest potential in people, primarily through encouragement – but they also know he won't tolerate poor quality or inefficiency. He epitomizes the company motto: Setting the standard for excellence."

Farris' dynamic leadership qualities and diplomacy were especially valuable as President. He was unflagging in pursuit of objectives -- virtually indefatigable. But it was his exceptional integrity that framed his other fine qualities and set him – and WILKS MASONRY, INC. -- apart.

In November, 2005, Farris resigned his position as President to pursue other goals. He continues to be active on the board, however, and watches with pleasure as a third generation of Wilks men carry on the family tradition of setting the standard for excellence in masonry.

DAN H. WILKS co-founded WILKS MASONRY, INC., in early 1995, accepting the position of Vice President and estimator. He rejoined his brother, Farris, who for twelve years had been Central Masonry's ace foreman and Field Superintendent.

At WILKS MASONRY, INC., Dan estimated, bid, and contracted new projects; negotiated with suppliers and general contractors; and oversaw daily financial and office operations. His construction and managerial experience and his warm good humor enabled him to coordinate smoothly with company contacts. He was adept at filling key positions with talented people, then inspiring their best.

The diverse but complementary strengths and abilities of these two men, given their mutual dedication, loyalty, integrity and trust, formed a strong, proven, almost seamless bond rare in today's business world.

Dan's commitment to dependability and excellence and his experience served him well as Vice President of WILKS MASONRY, INC. They continue to benefit the company through his present position as an active member of the board of directors since November, 2005.

 

DAN H. WILKS entered masonry almost four decades ago as a bricklayer's helper and worked up to union journeyman. Through tutoring, self study and practical application on the job, Dan added estimating and managerial skills.

 Dan began contracting residential and small commercial jobs in 1977. After a year he joined Kerry Nelms to form Central Masonry, Inc. Four years later Dan bought Nelms' share of CMI.

Central Masonry, Inc., established an elite reputation for quality and performance, growing rapidly to gross $2.5 million the third year. From 1978 to 1989 the company completed projects of some $35 million. Projects averaged $400-500,000 and went as high as $1.5 million.

Due to the construction downturn of the 80s, Dan stopped contracting in 1989. But with the economy rebounding, he reentered the field in late 1992 as Dan H. Wilks Masonry.

Those renewed contacts with general contractors, suppliers and skilled workmen proved valuable when Dan accepted a position as Vice President and estimator at WILKS MASONRY, INC., in early 1995. Dan co-founded this company with his brother, Farris Wilks, who for twelve years had been Central Masonry's ace foreman and Field Superintendent.

At WILKS MASONRY, INC., Dan estimated, bid, and contracted new projects; negotiated with suppliers and general contractors; oversaw day-to-day financial and office operations such as purchasing, billing, accounts payable, and correspondence. He brought a store of construction and managerial experience to the job. His warm good humor enabled him to coordinate smoothly with company contacts. He was adept at filling key positions with talented people, then inspiring their best efforts.

Asked to describe Dan, "Incredible" is the first word from a close associate. "He has an amazing memory and grasp of detail. But he sees the overview, too."

The diverse but complementary strengths and abilities of these two men, given their mutual dedication, loyalty, integrity and trust, formed a strong, proven, almost seamless bond rarely found in today's business world.

Dan's commitment to dependability and excellence and his experience served him well in his position as Vice President of WILKS MASONRY, INC.

Now a third generation of Wilks masons carry out the day-to-day responsibilities of this dynamic and growing company. Since November, 2005, Dan takes time from his many other interests to actively share his expertise as a member of the WILKS MASONRY, INC., board of directors.

JUSTIN WILKS started working summers with his father Dan, learning the basics of construction and business planning at sixteen. Later he began working full time as a laborer for WILKS MASONRY, INC., then entered the training program for masons.

Accomplishing that, he turned to estimating at 23. He was soon promoted to Chief Estimator.

"Justin is an astute executive," says a former worker. "He has a thoughtful, focused, measured approach to things."

Farris and Dan recognized those qualities when in November, 2005, they officially turned operation of the company over to the third generation of Wilks masons, appointing Justin President of this growing, dynamic concern.

As President, Justin oversees all aspects of the business, particularly accounting and estimating. He assists project managers with oversight and facilitating positive relationships with clients. By starting his career in the field, Justin developed knowledge of the intricacies and procedural elements of the masonry trade.

Justin's primary objectives are ensuring safety for employees and securing the future of WILKS MASONRY, INC., carrying the standard for excellence into the future.

 

MATT WILKS started working for the company in summers as a laborer, learning the basics of construction at sixteen years old. During the school year he worked afternoons in the office, learning to estimate. At eighteen he went to work full time in the office, first as an Assistant Project Manager, then as an Estimator. Eventually he was promoted to Project Manager. He was appointed to his present position in 2006.

As Executive Vice President and Project Manager, Matt oversees projects and coordinates with contractors, architects, suppliers, and field personnel. He works to ensure projects run smoothly by providing the right people with information and material.

"Bright and intelligent," an observer says of Matt. "Confident in an easy, understated way."

With a career in masonry going back to his teen years, Matt has accumulated a useful knowledge of the trade, making him ideally suited for his present work as Executive Vice President/Project Manager of WILKS MASONRY, INC.

 

At fifteen, KYLE WILKS began working during summer breaks as a laborer with his father, Farris Wilks. Completing school, he worked full time, quickly excelling as a mason. He was soon entrusted with running projects. He started working as a Project Manager in the office at age 23.

Kyle gained additional managerial experience running a startup masonry company with two partners in 2002. He brought that hard-earned knowledge back to WILKS MASONRY, INC., in 2004, as Senior Project Manager. There he coordinated material, equipment and personnel, working with general contractors and other trades to realize the architect's vision.

In 2006 he was appointed Executive Vice President as well.

"Kyle is a persuasive, engaging, high-energy people motivator," says an associate.

"Great people skills," says a worker close to Kyle. "You know he's not just thinking of the company. He's also thinking of you, and making sure you have everything you need to get your job done."

Kyle's hands-on experience in the field, his tutelage under the watchful eye of his father, and his own stint as independent businessman are great assets in his current position as Executive Vice President/Project Manager of WILKS MASONRY, INC.