Rick Metheny's career as president of a ready-mix concrete supplier has come full circle in several respects. For one, the organization that laid the foundation for his business — Makins Sand and Gravel Co., est. 1907 — helped construct Interstate 40 in the 1960s, while his 25-year-old company, Metheny Concrete Products, has poured new bridges in the first three phases of the new I-40 relocation project.
Secondly, Metheny has brought his son and two sons-in-law into the business, as his father-in-law Hugh Smith, Makins' former chief executive, once enlisted him.
Over the past quarter century, Metheny Concrete has poured more than 4 million cubic yards of concrete in greater Oklahoma City, from the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark to eight Walmart Supercenters and multiple Home Depots and Super Target stores, Metheny said. The company supplies numerous paving contractors in residential and commercial developments, city streets and state and federal highway projects, he said.
Metheny Concrete, which today employs 130, has 10 times the $3 million in sales it enjoyed its first year, Metheny said.
From his offices at 1617 S Lowry, Metheny, 58, recently sat down with The Oklahoman to talk about his professional and personal life. This is an edited transcript:
Q: Can you tell us about roots?
A: I grew up in Oklahoma City with an older sister and older brother; who are both now attorneys. Our father, Lester Metheny, worked 38 years at OCU (Oklahoma Christian University), where he served as dean of students, coached golf, started the baseball program and kept the books for the all-college basketball tournaments. I'd sweep the gym floor for him, and get to see all the great players — like Pete Maravich and Calvin Murphy — up close and personal. Our mother, Billie, was a special education consultant. Both were big believers in education, held master's degrees and had completed some doctoral work. They were married 53 years until Lou Gehrig's Disease claimed my mom at age 75 in 1999. My dad died in 2009.
Q: And your school days?
A: I graduated from Northwest Classen in 1972. I played baseball, basketball and football, but was never a great athlete. I just liked hanging out with my friends and having fun. I used to spend my summers on my bicycle, playing baseball and swimming. Age 13, I started working summers at the Will Rogers Park pool as a basket clerk, then janitor and finally lifeguard. During college, I threw a paper route and officiated city league basketball.
Q: Where was college?
A: At OSU (Oklahoma State University), which is where my parents and sister went. I met my wife, Connie, the first week there. My brother and sister-in-law (then girlfriend) introduced me to her younger sister. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. But since I'd never really had a girlfriend, I — after six weeks of nonstop dating — suggested we see other people. I was so lovesick, and sick over what I'd done, that I dern near flunked out of school (2.21 GPA and an incomplete). After my dad saw my grades, he enrolled me at OCU for the spring semester, and I went to school from 8 a.m. to noon and worked 1 to 5 p.m. for Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation. That next fall, I talked my dad into going back to OSU, where I pledged SAE (Sigma Alpha Epsilon). Connie and I got back together that next January at our siblings' wedding — and have been together ever since. We graduated May 8, 1976, and were married Tuesday, May 18 at the Portland Avenue Church in Oklahoma City. Tuesday was the only day available for the minister and it worked out great because it didn't conflict with any of our friends' weekend plans.