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Home | DALLAS / FORT WORTH | Spotlight | Spotlight - George Blakeman, Blakeman Steel Inc.

Spotlight - George Blakeman, Blakeman Steel Inc.

image George Blakeman, Owner, Blakeman Steel Inc., Fort Worth, TX

DALLAS/FT WORTH - He knows all about the little and large things in life. The hurdles of life shaped him to become a true success story. Someone who comes from a small town may not know what to expect from a large metropolitan city, but Blakeman embraced what there was. While Blakeman works in a loud industry, his persona is of the exact opposite.

 

 

 

Where were you born?
    Campbellsville, KY.  I grew up there.

What was that like?
    My large family and I lived in a small town on a farm. We went to grade school out in the country. I had to walk long ways to school. That was about 74 years ago.

How many siblings do you have?

    There are 12 of us; I was next to the youngest. I have six sisters and five brothers.

What are some childhood memories from living on the farm?
    We always had plenty to eat. We had cattle, hogs, and sheep. We raised all of our own [animals] on the farm. We bought very little produce because ours was good and fresh.

When did you move from Kentucky to Texas?
    I believe it was ’56 when I moved to Fort Worth. My brother Craddock Blakeman was in business over there, so I started working with him.

What did you think about Texas?

    Oh, I loved it. I was from a very small town and Fort Worth seemed like it was huge back then.

What business was your brother in when you moved with him to Fort Worth?

    Craddock owned a business called Redi-Mix Concrete and Industrial Concrete and Supply Company.
Describe your work experience with your brothers company.
    I didn’t know much [about this new line of work] coming from the farm. I managed to help where I could. It took time, but I finally got to learning about the business.

Why did you join the Air Force?

    I joined the Air Force in March of 1956. I figured I was going to have to go into the military at that time, so I said I might as well get it over with. I joined the Air Force as an aircraft mechanic and was in the service for four years. I also joined the Air Force because I like airplanes.

Have you ever flown a plane?
    I didn’t fly planes in the Air Force, but rather worked on them. Years later I did get my pilot’s license and flew privately. For 14 years I flew family and friends on a Cessna 210. 

What happened when you returned to Texas?

    When I got out of the service I moved back to Fort Worth and went back to working for my brother as a “rough-neck”. I continued operating different equipment, driving trucks and eventually operating the crane. I was working for my brother for about two years. At that time he was getting ready to sell the business and said you might want to find another job. Back then I had a friend that had another business, so I got a job with him as a crane operator. I was a crane operator for three years and eventually moved up into management.

What did you like about being a crane operator?

    By then it was what I knew. I liked running the crane and setting steel and concrete panels.

Why did you choose to start a business in the steel erector industry?
    Because of my previous work in steel erection and metal building erection I knew steel erection was what I wanted to focus on and what I was most experienced at.

You started the steel erector company with a partner back in ’73 and then parted ways. When did you establish Blakeman Steel?
    I started Blakeman Steel on January 1, 1988.

What came next?
    I brought my son Allen Blakeman and nephew Billy Blakeman in and together we started Blakeman Steel Inc. and turned it into what it is today. When Blakeman Steel started in 1988, Allen, Billy and myself started the business together as an incorporated company with Billy as president, Allen as vice president and myself as secretary and treasurer. I originally started as the CEO and majority owner.
What would you like to see come next at Blakeman Steel?
    I’m at the age to where I’m getting old enough to let the boys take over. Business is good and it looks like we are going to have another successful year. This year marks 30 years in business as Blakeman Steel.

Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?

    That would be my oldest brother Craddock Blakeman.

Switching over to your family life, what is your wife’s name and how long have you been married?
    Her name is Judy and we’ve been married for 31 years.

How many children do you have?

We have three. Allen, Christine and Kim.

What places have you visited?
    Judy and me spent some of our winter months in old Mexico near Puerto Vallarta in a motor home. It was very nice; we would park our motor home right near the ocean.
 
What are your hobbies/interests?

    I am 79-years-old and I don’t do a lot of activities or anything, but we do have a lake house with boats. I do like the outdoors and fishing.

What is your favorite place to eat? What meal do you enjoy?
    My two favorite restaurants are Charleston’s and Eddie V’s. I enjoy the steaks and seafood at both places.

If you could meet anyone in the world who would it be and why?
    George W. Bush, because he is a good man that cared for the United States and did everything he could to make it the best country to live in. He pulled his country together during 9/11 and I’ve admired him for that.

Now that football is back is there a team you enjoy watching?

    I watch TCU and the Cowboys.

Can you share some advice for those starting their own business?
    Most people think you have to have a lot of money to start up a business and it would be nice if you could do that, but we had very little and started and made a success out of it. It depends on what you are going to do, what experiences you are going to have and all the different things you need to know to start a business. It’s probably harder today than it was when I started.
    Blakeman is an honest man, who is devoted to his family, work and staff. His hard work as an owner has proved that you can start with nothing and turn it into something strong, like steel.  -lv


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Lexie Velasquez lexie@constructionnews.net