Vail Valley Decades: Beck Building
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado ” When Andy Beck decided to start his own construction company, he did it with the belief that customers in Colorado’s Vail Valley were ready for a different kind of construction company. The idea seems to have taken hold. Beck Building Company is now one of the valley’s biggest.
Beck recently took some time to answer a few questions about his company and its history.
Vail Daily: When and why did you make the decision to start your own company?
Beck: It was the fall of 1972. I felt that a more organized and deliberate approach to the construction process than the one I had experienced working for someone else just might work. I was also in the right place at the right time. Gordon Pierce gave me an early opportunity with the Keeler Residence in Vail. It was our first project of significance.
Vail Daily: Beck is a big company these days. How long did it take for the payroll to top 20 people?
Beck: It took around 12 years before reaching 20 people. That would have been in the early to mid 1980’s. Controlled growth has been one of our guiding principles all along. We have continued to grow by becoming more management-focused and getting leverage on an experienced staff of almost 60. We like to think we are a nice blend of enthusiastic newcomers and grizzled veterans.
Vail Daily: What were the biggest challenges your company faced in its early days?
Beck: The basics: learning as we went, business/financial management, finding like-minded people and learning to be realistic about what we could and couldn’t do
Vail Daily: How did Beck evolve into a company that specializes in high-end homes?
Beck: We started out with a custom home and some remodeling. Along the way we added multi-family, commercial and development work to our resume but we always felt that what we did best was focus on client relationships, quality execution, and well-managed projects. That, plus a can-do attitude and desire to please naturally led us to focus on the ultra custom market. We like this work and it matches up with our corporate culture.
Vail Daily: What two or three things have most changed your business over the last 35 years?
Beck: The demands of the architectural designs, levels of quality, system sophistication and our clients’ expectations are all much higher now than in the beginning. We are meeting those challenges using computerization, skilled employees, and a core group of competent subcontractors.
Vail Daily: Are you surprised by how quickly “green” thinking has come back? How much of that thinking are you seeing from your clients now?
Beck: It’s not really a surprise. Green building is good building with a colloquial name. We learned a lot about the basics in the 1970’s. Solar orientation, energy efficiency, life cycle costing, use of local materials where things we integrated early into our collective mind set. Well-planned building insulation, high efficiency mechanical components, radiant heat, lighting and shade control systems have been the de facto standard for almost a decade.
New today are the notions of a reduced carbon foot print, sustainability and a sense of global environmental responsibility. Clients are now focusing on the notion of a more manageable home size with the bells and whistles concentrated on the most public spaces. “Smaller in stature but rich in detail” is something that is on the table more often in the design phase.
Even more current is the willingness to add healthy home considerations such as low VOC products. Larger initial costs and longer payouts for systems such as photovoltaic, solar hot water, and geothermal are not the hurdles that they once were.
If your company is celebrating a milestone anniversary (five, 10 or 20 years) or is 35 or more years old, we’d love to celebrate your success in Vail Valley Decades. To learn more, call Vail Daily Business Editor Scott N. Miller, 748-2930, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.