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How the Keck did it happen?


SAN ANTONIO - Let’s take it from the top. Tommy Keck was in the Air Force Reserve in 1973, going through basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Then he went to electrician school at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, TX.




    “We were stationed out at the 433 Tactical Airlift Wing at Kelly and a ‘prime beef’ [civil] engineering [deployable] team. I was an electrician out there,”
explained Tommy.
    After coming out of the AF Reserve, Tommy went to work for a small electrical company that he remembers being located on Josephine St.
    “I worked for other companies along the way. My wife, Julie, was pregnant with Casey while I was working for another electric company,” shared Tommy. “She got laid off and then I got laid off. We didn’t have any insurance, so we had to pay cash for Casey to be born. When Casey was born, that’s when I went into business for myself.”
    Tommy is the proud owner of Keck Electric Co, which he established in 1981. Of course, Tommy was on his own then, but already had nine years of experience within the trade. To continue what he started, Tommy paid $600 for an old, used green van, made it his by installing shelves in it and started to go to work.
    “The engine was between the two-bucket seats,” Tommy recalled. “I remember I had to pick up Casey from day care and I had his little car seat strapped down to the top of the engine.”
    Tommy had to provide for his family, so when Julie asked him what his plans were if the work dried up, Tommy said he would go get another job as an electrician – except Tommy never ran out of work since ’81.
    In fact, Tommy admits to his electrical company being small, but says his team has worked on some pretty large projects. And since 2004, Tommy has had his son, Casey Keck, working with him as vice president of Keck Electric. Casey was introduced to the industry at an early age.
    “I started working with my dad as a kid,” said Casey. “Then I went off to college and came back and started working full time in 2004.”
    After 15 years of the trade for Casey, he and the Keck Electric crew have put their hands on all types of projects.  Keck Electric serves both commercial and residential clients, which include multifamily and large residential work such as the townhome projects by the Pearl.
    “We do large commercial work. We did a dormitory at San Angelo State University,” mentioned Casey.
    Other projects they completed are the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Marble Falls and San Antonio’s Scorpion Soccer Stadium.
     “Not too many people get to do stadiums; it was neat to do that,” said Casey. The stadium is also an accomplishment for Tommy, who said, “When we took that on, it was quite a bit, but we got in there and we got it all done.”
    To work on projects, Tommy and Casey rely on a crew of up to 14.
     “We are there to help them grow,” Casey said. “We’d like them to work for as long as they’d possibly like to, but if they have the drive to move on and forge ahead on their own, we wish them all the luck.” Plus, the company wouldn’t run without Julie Keck, who does the company’s books and has been since they started in ’81.
    The Keck family doesn’t want to be a “really big company,” but rather keep the smaller-family feel. In the future, Tommy thinks he’ll be stepping down and turning things over to Casey.
    “Keck Electric is going to stay in the family and he is going to keep it going,” said Tommy.
    Tommy has created a family business that not only brings light, but also motivates others’ industry success. 
    Keck Electric Co is an electrical subcontractor in San Antonio, TX. –lv

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Lexie Velasquez lexie@constructionnews.net