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.
The company also has worked with public and higher education on projects including construction management of the rebuilding of Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, destroyed, with loss of life, by the May 20, 2013, tornado; Portland Elementary School; Moore Junior High School; and Southmoore High School.
“Boldt has done an outstanding job on its many building projects for us,” Moore schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Romines said in material from the company. “They’ve been in our backyard as a resource to help this community and this school district. Now Boldt is rebuilding Plaza Towers Elementary School and they are helping us rebuild a building, but a community. Boldt is part of our family and that’s shown on a daily basis through the pride they take in their work snd care they have for our community.”
Boldt also has done projects for Piedmont, Western Heights and Bartlesville public schools. The company also did the College of Allied Health for the University of Oklahoma and the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center at Oklahoma State University.
“Oklahoma City and Oklahoma are important to Boldt,” said Robert J. DeKoch, president and chief operating officer. “The rich history of the Southern Operations Group has played a vital role in building Boldt into a major construction company with national reach.”
Ford said it’s time for Boldt to expand its work in the power business.
“We have been involved with a lot of commercial, institutional-type projects, educational projects. We’re going to put a little more focus on the power industry in the Southern Region,” he said.
“We’re very strong on power throughout the company, but we want to have a Southern base out of our Oklahoma City office. Couple that with our experience in the automotive industry, and how that parallels with the power industry, and the crafts we use and the work we do, it’s a good fit.”
Boldt has prospects in the region, he said.
“We’ve been talking to a number of different clients down here,” Ford said. “We are going to begin on a power project with sustainable power, with wind farms, here in the southern part of the state. That’ll get started in July. We’ve got that and some other clients in Oklahoma and some of the neighboring states that we’re working with. There’s opportunity in the wind market. There’s several projects here and in Texas that we’re chasing. There are gas-fired power plants, there’s retrofits of coal-fired plants that we’re looking at. We do a number of those around the nation, so we’re looking at some in Arkansas and Missouri.”