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American made

image Bill McKeans (far front left) with the Metalink team.

AUSTIN - Only six months into retirement, Bill McKean found himself getting back into the workforce. But he would not return to the path of semiconductors and travel that had guided his career most of his adult life. No, he would venture on a new and unknown path – fencing.




    Eighteen months ago, McKean became the new owner and president of Metalink, a fencing supply, fabrication and installation company with deep roots in Austin. Coming from a long line of steel workers of some form or fashion, McKean was fascinated with the idea of working with American steel. “I wanted to build something that would sustain and last,” says McKean.
    Not knowing anything about the industry or the business, he went to work learning the business and familiarizing himself with the products and customers his new company would service. In learning the business, he discovered that the first thing he needed to do was keep his employees.  Upon discovering what his employees needed and what the company needed to grow, he was soon about to start making tracks. “If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, we’ll still build fences. But if that same bus hits these folks around here and in my shop, we’re in trouble.  I believe that to my core.  The best marketing tool any company has is its employees.”
    Taught the value of a strong work ethic at an early age, the value of being honest, doing the right thing and respecting everyone is something McKean holds dear to him. Within the first three months, the new owner and his partners targeted a handful of key customers to rebuild relationships using the values that were handed down to him.  Building the relationships within those companies has enabled Metalink to grow and expand. The company has nearly doubled in revenue through the commitments it has made to their customers.
    “I tell my customers, everyday I will continue to earn your business.” As a result, Metalink was recently presented the 2017 Preferred Partner award from White Construction, and according to McKean, “it validated to me that we are on the right track.  This solidifies what we want to be.  We want to be one of the most reputable fence companies there are, period.  We want people to say ‘we really enjoyed working with them, they do great work. They’re committed to the customer. They do what they say they will do.’  We will do what we say we will do.”
    McKean’s vision is to provide a quality American made product crafted with pride. “I take a lot pride in offering a product made of American steel. I ran external manufacturing for 15 years.  I took US manufacturing from the states to Asia and it bugged me every step of the way. Now I have the opportunity, in a small, way to produce a product with American made steel. Yes, we could purchase material cheaper from Asia or outside the U.S., but I prefer American made steel.  We want to continue to build a great company, built with American  made products and built right here in the U.S.A.”
    Metalink is a Texas HUB vendor, manufacturer, supplier, and installer of quality steel products in Austin. -cmw

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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net