Beck & Hofer transitions to new ownership

Oct. 29, 2018

After almost 40 years in business, there’s a new owner at Beck & Hofer Construction.

Tyler Morris, who started as a field superintendent and moved into an estimator and project manager role, took over as CEO from co-founder Dick Beck earlier this year.

“He knew what he was doing,” Beck said of the decision to transition leadership to Morris. “And he knew the operation because he had been in the field long enough.”

Beck entered the construction field somewhat by accident in the 1970s.

He had run the iconic Barrel restaurant in Sioux Falls and was thinking of buying it when the restaurant landscape started changing.

“All the fast-food companies started coming in and taking a bite,” he said. “I had enough of that and got out of it and was unemployed.”

While at Ace Hardware buying supplies for a home remodeling project, he ran into the owner of Palmer Construction Co.

“He asked if I wanted a job, and I said that would be nice. And that was my start in the construction business,” Beck said.

He worked for Palmer for several years until the business moved to California.

“There were about 40 people who needed a job and not a lot of companies hiring, so I figured out a way to start a little company and do some odds jobs,” he said.

He and former co-worker Chet Hofer began helping each other on jobs and combined to form Beck & Hofer in 1980. They added a draftsman and a former co-worker and concrete specialist, Randy Williams, who continues to work there.

“The first real construction job we had was to build an ambulance garage for Avera McKennan,” Beck said. “I think it’s still standing. And that was $20,000 or $25,000. And then we built a house … and that kept us busy for that winter.”

The original office was on Phillips Avenue across from the State Theatre.

They grew the business “knocking on doors and making phone calls and keeping an ear to the ground,” Beck said. “When you’re younger and hungry, you answer every call and look under every rock to see what’s there.”

A cold call to then-McDonald’s franchisee Max Pasley led to work building and remodeling McDonald’s, and then Burger King, that continues today.

Chet Hofer retired in 2010. Beck remained at the company until this year. His son, John, works there as a senior estimator and project manager.

The headquarters is at 618 E. Maple St., but Beck & Hofer does business throughout the Midwest and has worked as far away as Wyoming. There are 40 full-time employees, which grows to about 50 during the peak season.

“It’s hard to believe how big we really grew,” Beck said, shaking his head.

Large projects in recent years have included the Howard Wood field house, a renovation of the Kresge office building downtown, the Aerostay Hotel next to the Sioux Falls Regional Airport and building projects at Midwest Railcar Repair.

Morris became connected to the company after graduating from South Dakota State University in 2014. He was born in Sioux Falls and graduated from Dell Rapids High School.

A construction management major, the field always interested him, he said.

“I love the idea of seeing something built from the ground up and seeing the finished product and seeing end users be able to use the space and fulfill their needs,” he said. “Growing up, I had a knack for it, and through high school and college and in my summers I spent time building houses and doing that type of thing, so it’s always been a part of me.”

His great-grandfather was a contractor, he said.

Morris’ father, Tom, is director of development at Kelly Inns Ltd. and helped him acquire Beck & Hofer by becoming an investor.

“My goal was always to be in a position to operate my own construction company. At the time, I didn’t know what it would look like, and the opportunity presented itself a little sooner than I would have imagined,” Morris said. “But that’s what my end goal has always been, so I want to take it in stride and continue the business and continue relationships and build relationships.”

He’s keeping the Beck & Hofer name and said so far it has been a smooth transition. Morris said the business is known for being community-minded and offering quality services, and that’s what he plans to continue.

“It was a family-run business and continues to be,” he said.  “We have many great relationships made over the years that I am excited to continue, as well as create many new long-lasting relationships built from honesty, integrity, transparency and our solid reputation. I’m looking forward to expanding and growing the company to many more years of success in the Sioux Falls and surrounding communities.”

Current work includes an expansion at DeGeest Steel Works in Tea and a tire distribution warehouse in Beresford.

“It’s going very well,” Morris said. “The transition has been good,and the employees have been happy and accepting. And we’ve had a busy year, so that helps.”

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Beck & Hofer transitions to new ownership

After almost 40 years in business, there’s a new owner at Beck & Hofer Construction.

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