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Power in the cards for 125-year-old Boldt Co.'s Oklahoma City office

Construction company started in Appleton, Wis., in 1889, the same year as Oklahoma’s famous Land Run. The company has had an office in Oklahoma City for 30 of its 125 years.
by Richard Mize Modified: June 9, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: June 8, 2014

Boldt Co., 125 years in business, 30 years in Oklahoma City, is on a run — fitting for a construction company with roots paralleling Oklahoma City’s in the Land Run of 1889.

Boldt, long known as an industrial constructor, is chasing new stakes in the power sector, said Steve Ford, group president of Boldt’s Southern Operations headquarters. Boldt is based in Appleton, Wis.

There’s not much more to the 1889 connection, but it’s plenty, he said.

“It started back in Appleton in 1889 with a small carpenter shop. Martin Boldt was the original owner of the business. It’s progressed through four generations. Oscar C. Boldt is the chairman and he just celebrated his 90th birthday here a couple of weeks ago and he is in the office every day that he’s in Appleton,” said Ford, who took leadership of the Oklahoma City office in December.

“It’s interesting that our beginning coincides with Oklahoma City’s. We’ve been in business 125 years, we’ve been here 30 years, we’re going to be here many, many, many more years as the Boldt Co., a big part of the community and being part of what goes on here in the area,” he said.

Thirty years ago

Boldt registered with the state to do business on March 15, 1982, and opened its first office here, near Will Rogers World Airport, in 1984, although it started work two years earlier.

The new Boldt office here was the largest satellite office the company had in 1984, Ford said. It managed to survive and grow through the coming years of regional recession. With a regional office in Tulsa, Ford oversees operations in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

“We came down mainly as industrial and piping contractors. A lot of times when we go into a new area, we follow our customers and relationships we’ve built up,” he said. “Xerox at the time was a main customer of ours and they had some work down here, and they asked us to come down. So we started an office here.”

Boldt had a strong presence here from the start as a signatory to the National Maintenance Agreement, a collective bargaining agreement among industrial maintenance contractors, recalled Dick Anderson, retired executive vice president of the Associated General Contractors of Oklahoma-Building Chapter. Anderson said the agreement gives Boldt an upper hand in industrial projects for union operations. For example. he said, when the now-closed General Motors plant here was damaged by a tornado in May 2003, Boldt landed millions in business.

More publicly, Boldt has had a hand in several high-profile projects, including three high schools, what is now Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and part of the Bricktown Canal. The company renovated the airport and built two new parking garages. Boldt dedicated equipment and more than 120 employees to recovery after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995.

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by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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