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FCS celebrates 70

image Paul Holden proudly stands next to a portrait of his father, Bill Holden, who helped make FCS a successful family business.

DALLAS/FORT WORTH – The United Tile Company may have been born in 1947, but it became a living, breathing thing when William “Bill” Holden came on board in 1953. Having returned from tours in World War II and the Korean War, Bill, a Southern Methodist University graduate with four years experience at Owens Corning Insulation, joined the company, ascending to president, board chairman and major shareholder in 1978.

    During those years, he helped establish the drywall and architectural woodworking divisions, oversaw the company’s name change to Facility Construction Services and two company relocations. He also made the business a family affair: Bill’s sons Paul, Neal and Tom began working for their father at a young age. Paul remembers he began working for FCS in the 9th grade, creating shop drawings, painting and hanging drywall, with one of his first jobs being the DFW Airport.
    “I enjoyed it and I thought about doing it as a career,” he says. “I studied and got my degree in architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, probably because I had the background in construction. I didn’t really think about it too much until I got out of school and then I decided I didn’t want to go straight out to work for my dad. I went to work for Beck for four years, then my dad offered me a job and I thought it sounded like a pretty good deal.”
    Bill’s hopes to keep FCS as a family business were fulfilled. Today, Neal serves as company president, Paul acts as vice president and Tom is FCS’ chief financial officer. Working with family has “its pluses and minus,” Paul jokes. “But it’s worked for 23 years. We’ve gone through some tough [economic] years in that period and we’ve come out of it okay.”
    As the company celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, Paul says the most satisfying part of working at FCS is seeing the finished product.
    “We do a lot of high-end, high profile projects. It’s really neat to step back and tell your kids, ‘Hey, I built that hotel,’ or ‘I built that office building.’ We’ve worked on the W Hotel, Cowboys Stadium and we’ve done a lot of work for Harlan Crow and Crow Holdings. We worked at most of the condominiums downtown: One Arts Plaza, Museum Tower, Ritz Carlton, Azure Tower, the Nasher and Klyde Warren Park.”
    Paul says FCS is comfortable in its wheelhouse.
    “I think we’ve found our niche –high-end architectural woodwork and cabinets,” he says. “We do high-quality finish and that’s a big deal because not every shop has a finish department. That’s where we shine is our finishing and our craftsmanship. We install it too, and I think that’s where we really differentiate ourselves. Also, our field people are the best. They can fix any kind of problem that we might run into and make it smooth for the customer.”
    Paul says FCS’s business has ramped back up after the recession, which has left the Holdens little time to consider who will take over the business.
    “We haven’t discussed how we’ll do a transition down the road, but there are some really great long-term employees who have already started stepping up. Our employees are it; they do all of the work. If we don’t have them, we don’t have a company, really.
    “We’re going to work with the customers we know, although we may have to broaden our customer base a little bit more,” he says. “But I don’t see much changing. We’re just going to stay in our little comfort zone, which is North Texas.” –mjm

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Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net