Steve Mason, owner of one of the city's leading civil engineering firms, and a developer along Automobile Alley and the 16th Street Plaza District, is starting his “second chapter” and selling Cardinal Engineering to two prominent engineers formerly associated with the Benham Group.
Mason, 54, moved his company from northwest Oklahoma City to Automobile Alley six years ago with about 50 employees, and has since seen it grow to a workforce of 95.
That move, which required a redevelopment of a century-old former Cadillac dealership building at 1015 N Broadway, then morphed into a sideline of commercial redevelopment along nearby NW 9 and along NW 16 west of Classen Boulevard.
“I underestimated the value of being downtown, the value of having a neon sign on Broadway,” Mason said. “You're prominent, they see you.”
That presence, Mason said, will continue with the sale of Cardinal Engineering, which is led by former Benham Group executives Herschel Roberts and Greg Meacham. Roberts and Mason's careers both started at Benham Group, formerly known as Benham Engineering, and Roberts was a veteran of the failed Benham Group merger with London-based W.S. Atkins in 2000.
Roberts, now chief executive officer of Enviro Clean, said his firm and Cardinal compliment each others' services and fit into a larger strategy of creating an engineering firm that provides a full array of work.
Enviro Clean offers professional environmental consulting, engineering and field services to clients in the private sector, including primarily oil and gas companies and industrial/manufacturing facilities. Cardinal Engineering offers civil engineering, environmental consulting and surveying services for clients in various public and private sector markets.
“Cardinal Engineering has an outstanding reputation for service and will bring many assets to the table, including civil engineering and surveying capabilities that we previously were unable to provide our clients,” Roberts said.
Roberts said he hopes to move some of his 120 employees downtown either in the same building as Cardinal or nearby.
The sale price of Cardinal Engineering was not disclosed. Cardinal achieved 2013 revenues of $13 million and in the same year was listed as one of The Oklahoman's Top Workplaces.
Mason said he will remain a consultant for the combined companies for two years as he begins what he called his “second chapter.”
“There is still a lot to accomplished for our community here,” Mason said. “I enjoy it. I sit in Coffee Slingers, which was an empty space a few years ago, and I wonder where all these people were. I go to Frontline Church down the street and see hundreds of people there. And I wonder where were all these people a few years ago? They're coming from somewhere to be here, and that excites me.”
Mason, who served on the board of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation for 12 years and was chairman of the Frontier Council of the Boy Scouts of America, said he wants to create a foundation that will issue grants for strained nonprofits.
He also wants to mentor the young professionals who are helping transform Oklahoma City.