After graduating from Newport High School, Tim Braxling headed off to Oregon State University to become an engineer. By the time he’d received his degree, he’d tired of desk work and decided to try his hand at the construction business as a partner in Quality Concrete of South Beach.
“It seemed like a really good idea at the time,” laughs Tim. Working construction during the summers allows you to enjoy the outdoors. Of course winter is quite a different story and outdoor work loses much of its appeal.
Also a native Oregonian, Mike McClelland received a degree in education at Western Oregon University. After student teaching, he was offered a fulltime teaching job, but decided instead to work as a contractor at the coast. By 1990 he had joined Quality Concrete after buying out Tim’s former partner.
Despite the cyclical nature of the construction industry, Quality Concrete is still successfully building more than 25 years later with projects as far south as Florence, as far north as Manzanita, and as far east as Bend. That’s a tribute to Tim and Mike’s work ethic, expertise, and ability to adjust to market conditions. It’s also a testament to their partnership.
“When we started, we only did concrete work,” explains Mike. “We now do excavating, site work, foundations, framing, siding, roofing and steel buildings.” In fact Tim and Mike now also operate a general construction company, QC Contractors, which builds homes, multi-unit dwellings and commercial buildings.
“We always have an owner/operator on the job,” comments Tim. “Having hands-on owners is our key to quality control.” Eventually a reputation for quality is what ensures the longevity of contractors. “In a small town, everything is word of mouth,” adds Mike.
Succeeding at the coast requires flexibility. “Around here, you do big and small,” points out Mike. It’s not unusual for Quality Concrete to perform jobs as small as a homeowner’s sidewalk and then complete a parking lot for a major hotel the next day. “Every job is different,” says Tim. “That keeps things interesting.”
Repeat business is essential. Large national general contractors who have hired Quality Concrete for commercial projects on the coast have later hired the company for projects in the Portland area. Recently a local Newport customer asked Quality Concrete to work on a project in Bend.
To Mike, long-term success boils down to one thing: “you do what you say you’re going to do”. That may sound simplistic, but it’s certainly not a given in the construction industry.
Although crew sizes may vary depending on the project, Quality Concrete has employed six workers fulltime, even during the recession. When the company is hired for projects outside the local area, the fulltime crew travels to the jobsites, ensuring ensuring excellent workmanship.
Quality Concrete’s relationship with its bankers actually predates the founding of Oregon Coast Bank. “Face to face banking is very important to us,” explains Tim. “They know us and we’re comfortable with them, which makes things a whole lot easier.” Over the years the bank has financed company vehicles, funded building projects and supplied a credit line. Tim and Mike have also obtained the mortgages for their own homes through Oregon Coast Bank.
Search online and you’ll find thousands of American businesses that include the word “quality” in their names. Names of course can be deceiving. In this case, it’s not a marketing ploy. Tim and Mike are adamant about quality, which may be why their company has remained strong for more than 25 years.