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Volume. 2 Issue. 3


Fall 2013

Serving Contracting Firms and the Arizona Community …Then & Now

• The Valley’s Great White Elephant of 1920 • Thinking “Globally”, Building Locally: Harry J. Hagen • The City that Cotton Built • Class Act: Paradise Valley School District Centennial • A Concrete Reputation: Bill Heeter • It Was A Very “Good Year”: The Wigwam Resort Story

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Arizona Contractor & Community Magazine Working with the following Associations Publisher William Horner

Alliance of Construction Trades Jim Kuliesh - Executive Director (520) 624-3002 465 W. St Marys Rd. Tucson, AZ 85701

Arizona Chapter Associated General Contractors David M. Martin - President (602) 252-3926 1825 W. Adams, Phoenix, AZ 85007

Editor Douglas Towne Marketing & Sales Consultant Chuck Runbeck 602-881-0907 Advertising Manager Shane Addington 623-826-8598

American Rental Association of Arizona Bob Nally - Executive Director (602) 272-7368 249 S. 59�� Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85043

American Subcontractors Association of Arizona Carol Floco - Executive Director (602) 274-8979 4105 N. 20th St. Ste. 230, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Production Manager Laura Harley Columnists Paul Beaulieu John Bueker

Arizona Builders’ Alliance Mark Minter - Executive Director (602) 274-8222 1825 W. Adams, Phoenix, AZ 85007

Arizona Rock Products Association Steve Trussell - Executive Director (602) 271-0346 916 W. Adams, Phoenix, AZ 85007

Contributing Writers Connor Descheemaker Roberta Graham Lee Addis

View our online magazine at:

Annual subcription $16 send check to: ACC, PO Box 6912 Glendale, AZ 85312

Printed at Lithotech National Utility Contractors Association of Arizona Connie Corder - Executive Director (480) 775-3943 PO Box 66935, Phoenix, AZ 85082

Tucson Utility Contractors Association Ramon A. Gaanderse - Executive Director (520) 623-0444 1842 W. Grant Rd. Ste. 103, Tucson, AZ 85745

Published in the interest of the entire construction industry and those allied with it.

Arizona Contractor & Community (ACC) magazine is published quarterly (spring, summer, fall, & winter). ACC is a professional publication designed for the contracting industry, engineers, architects, and others interested in Arizona and its history. Content including text, photographs or illustrations may not be reproduced without the written permission from the publisher. The publisher does not assume responsibility for unsolicited submissions. ACC reserves the right to reject any editorial and advertising material and reserves the right to edit all submitted content material. Arizona Contractor & Community Copyright © 2013 All rights reserved.

Volume. 2 Issue. 3 Fall 2013



Editors’s Column: Monoculture Blues: the 1920 Cotton Craze - Douglas Towne

10. 20.

Construction Around Arizona - William Horner University Construction Nears $700 Million in 2014 - Eric Jay Toll

22. 25.

Association Highlights Construction Column: The City that Cotton Built - Paul Beaulieu


Harry J. Hagen - Arizona Construction Pioneer - Elaine Hagen

34. 39.

Cotton and Cowboys - Roberta Graham Timeless Thrill Ride: Legend City’s 50th Birthday Party - John Bueker

40. 42. 48.

Vintage Arizona Cotton Machines Class Act: Paradise Valley School District Centennial Digging Through the Archives: The Bill Heeter Story - William Horner

52. 53.

Construction Marketplace Bid Results - Bidjudge


Front Cover - Harry Hagen Harry Hagen stands on one of two bridges his company built on U.S. Highway 70 between Cutter and San Carlos Arizona. See story on page 28.

Monoculture Blues: The 1920 Cotton Craze Douglas Towne


from World War I that began in Europe in 1914. Wartime hostilities limited shipments of Egyptian long-staple cotton. Back then, the commodity wasn’t coveted for luxury bed sheets as much as for military equipment such as tires and airplane fabrics. After the U.S. entered the conflict on the side of the Allies by declaring war on Germany in 1917, the production of domestic long-staple cotton became a priority. While limited long-staple cotton was grown in coastal South Carolina and Georgia, fortunately, cotton research had been conducted at an experimental farm in Sacaton south of Chandler in the early 1900s. Led by agronomist Thomas Kearney, Pima Indians cultivated cotton hybrids until ideal traits were achieved that grew well in the Valley. These hybrids produced long, silky fibers for a soft, dense cloth. This long-staple cotton was named Pima after the Native Americans who grew it; its commercial production in Arizona began in 1912. By 1916, only 7,300 acres of Pima cotton were planted in the Valley with a pound

bringing about $0.28. Fueled by wartime demand however, prices for a pound of Pima cotton reached an amazing $1.25 in 1919. Tempted by these escalating prices, farmers sowed cotton seed in every available field, abandoned citrus orchards, and borrowed heavily to buy additional farmland. Ranchers

Images courtesy of author

ot quite a century ago, the Salt River Valley was intoxicated with white fiber fever. Easy wealth was virtually guaranteed to be had sowing cotton whether you were an experienced farmer or merely a “cotton plunger” someone with little agricultural knowledge who purchased land eager to capitalize on the skyrocketing prices. The euphoria about “King Cotton” was as rampant and unrestrained as the Phoenix area’s recent housing boom. And cotton went bust just as fast, going from one of the original economic foundations of Arizona to overnight becoming a white elephant in 1920. Cotton, copper, citrus, climate and cattle made up the "Five C's" of Arizona’s economy at statehood in 1912. At the time, the Valley supported a diversified agricultural base of cotton, alfalfa, and citrus crops, along with dairy and beef cattle. Cropland had expanded with the copious water supply provided by the recent completion of Theodore Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River. The Valley’s bucolic agricultural setting would soon change dramatically, however, the result of global repercussions


bankrupt, business declined, and Mexican farm workers lived in poverty. The Valley soon rebounded, however, to become the Southwest’s leading agricultural region. Alfalfa, grain fields, citrus orchards and dairy herds quickly reappeared thanks to loans to farmers

made by local banks. “King Cotton” would never again so dominate local farming but continued to be a major presence in the economy – and culture – of the Valley.

Images courtesy of author

and dairymen sold their livestock and plowed under alfalfa fields. By 1920, 180,000 acres, over threequarters of the irrigated land in the Valley, was planted in Pima cotton which was forecast to reach $1.50 per pound. To manually harvest the bumper crop, cotton growers and railroad interests recruited 35,000 Mexican farm workers to temporarily relocate to Phoenix, a city of only 29,000 residents. “The high cotton prices lured people who had no farming experience into trying to grow the crop,” local historian Donna Reiner says. “Of course, most lost their shirts.” World War I ended in late 1918. Decreased peacetime needs, together with large amounts of stockpiled Egyptian cotton dumped on the market, caused prices to unexpectedly plummet in the fall of 1920. Tariffs on Egyptian cotton imports were proposed but nothing prevented the collapse of the Pima cotton market. Many Valley farmers abandoned their fields, leaving row upon row of cotton bolls to rot. The few local farmers who harvested their cotton received far less than what it cost to produce the crop. Imported Mexican laborers, despite having contracts with the growers, were turned away from the fields. “The Arizona Cotton Growers Association had promised to pay the workers and send them back to Mexico on trains free of charge,” Ruben Hernandez writes in A Legacy Lost and Found: Finding our Latino Roots in the History of Phoenix. “In reality, it did nothing; the Mexican government finally paid to bring the workers back home.” The cotton bust caused a run on banks and a short-lived economic depression in the Valley. Merchants including Korrick’s, Hanny’s, and Diamonds department stores held huge sales in order to remain viable. Many farmers went Left: Cotton harvest near Litchfield Park, 1955. Top: Phoenix postcard, 1923. Right: Model Judy Hickman poses for the Phoenix Cotton Wives marketing campaign, 1968.

Arizona Contractor & Community

Images courtesy of author

Construction Around Arizona

Construction Around Arizona Freeways • Roadways • Commercial • Residential William Horner Above: Employees of the Concrete Division of Sun Valley Masonry pose for a photo at Tolleson High School. Sun Valley Masonry had the difficult task of grading, forming, and pouring sidewalks throughout the campus, often in tight spaces between existing buildings. The project was completed on time before the start of school. Right: PacWest Field Mechanic, Zac Jackson changing out scarfire teeth on their blade. Far right: Firestop Southwest Supervisor, Charlie Crippen whose crew caulked and sealed the newly installed windows on the W.L. Gore building. See Project on page 14.


Public Auction held the 2nd Saturday of every month. Preview Every Monday – Friday 8am – 4pm. Consignments Welcome. Western Sales Management, Inc


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Construction Around Arizona

Tanner Does Black Op Duty For Improved Phoenix Streets


bove: Laydown machine operator, Jesse Martinez, screed man, Gilbert Tapia, and raker, Jacob Ortiz of the M.R. Tanner Construction crew, in the midst of applying 11,000 tons of asphalt to improve Phoenix streets. The road material was laid from Union Hills to Greenway Road on Cave Creek Road, east on Bell and Greenway roads to 44th Street, and then south on 44th Street for two miles. Mundall Trucking is delivering the asphalt. Left: Ralph Conklin Retires from M.R. Tanner. After 50 plus years in the paving industry, Ralph Conklin will retire soon to his property in south Texas. He first entered the business with Ward Paving in


upstate New York and upon moving to the Valley worked for Horizon Contracting and L.B.G. Conklin. For the last 19 years, Ralph has been with the paving division of M.R. Tanner. In his over half century of laying asphalt, Ralph’s one-day record was 5,010 tons while with M.R. Tanner. Over his entire career, Ralph estimates he’s applied over one million tons. Paving in the Arizona heat has never been an easy job so ACC Magazine wanted to know what drew Ralph to the profession. “It was a dead tie of looking at a nice finished product and working with good and talented people,” Ralph says. So just how far south in Texas will Ralph be ? Let’s just say he will spend a lot of fishing on the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks for your service to the Arizona paving industry Ralph!

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yan Companies is currently constructing the last phase of W.L. Gore’s Pinnacle Peak biomedical campus located in the Sonoran Foothills north of Phoenix, Arizona. Each building is a 115,000 square-foot biomedical manufacturing facility that includes 30,000 square feet of classroom space, sterilization laboratories as well as research and development laboratories. W.I. Gore is a familyowned company that develops fluorocarbon fibers. Best known for its GORE-TEX product, the company has expanded its fibers’ uses to medical, industrial and electronic products. Because of the beautiful desert surroundings, it was important to the W.L. Gore team that the facility have a connection to the outdoors. A unique landscape design incorporates gabion walls, desert walking paths, native plants and materials as well as sport courts and exterior meeting spaces. The entire campus will be constructed of low

maintenance, sustainable materials with a focus on energy conservation. Some of the other sustainable features include solar technology, reclaimed-water irrigation, day lighting technology and a highly energy-efficient mechanical system. This was especially critical because the biomedical manufacturing facility will operate 24/7. This includes a mission critical component of emergency generators, UPS backup, redundant cooling systems and a communications network which monitors W.L. Gore’s buildings throughout the United States.

Right: The J.F. Ellis concrete crew finish perimeter sidewalks. Below: There is an art to hoisting heavy glass into place. In this instance, two lifts on the exterior and a scissor lift inside are required for safe installation of the dual pane glass.

Images courtesy of author

Construction Around Arizona

Sustainable and Sterile Define New Gore Pinnacle Peak Campus


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ajor work is underway on Gilbert Road in south Chandler. Construction has entered phase two as contractor Achen-Gardner is widening Gilbert Road from two-to-four lanes between Ocotillo Road to just south of Chandler Heights Road. The work also includes improvements to the Gilbert Road and Chandler Heights Road

intersection, including dedicated turn lanes and widening of Chandler Heights Road. Construction is also happening as far south as Riggs Road with the installation of a thirty-inch water transmission line and a twelve-inch reclaimed water line along with various other utilities. Other construction associated with this project is landscaping

medians, installing sidewalks and bike lanes, adding retention basins to accommodate storm runoff, and relocating overhead Salt River Project power lines underground. Later this year there is extensive work scheduled for the Roosevelt Water Conservation District canal system, which is necessary to facilitate the improvements at the Gilbert Road

and Ocotillo Road Intersection. The water district manages nearby canals which need to be relocated to accommodate the road improvements. The entire project is slated to be completed the fall of 2014. For more information on this project, see www.GilbertRoadImprovements.c om . – Lee Addis

Images courtesy of Jim Phipps

Construction Around Arizona

Achen-Gardner Speeds South Chandler Roads


Images courtesy of Hardison Downey

Construction Around Arizona

Healthy Rehabilitation for the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS Project


he former Channel 12 News building at 1101 North Central Avenue is in the midst of a 60,000 square-foot design/build adaptive reuse project in that features the renovation of an existing two-story building. The Southwest Center is a nonprofit research and resource


organization based in Arizona, with a mission of reducing infection, improving quality of life and contributing to worldwide research, is currently located at 12 Street and McDowell Road. The new community space in downtown Phoenix will include

clinic areas, pharmacy, conference and event rooms, offices and parking underneath the building. Also included in the former KPNX building are tenant space renovations for Maricopa County Integrated Health Services (MIHS), Avella, Family Services, and some

retail space on the lower floor. The exterior skin of the building is also being renovated, along with the street level entryway and landscaping. The new facility, designed by Holly Street Studio, should be open in September.

University Construction Nears $700 Million in 2014 Eric Jay Toll, Senior Correspondent Arizona Builder's Exchange


onstruction is starting its comeback across Arizona, and a lot of that big ticket development is spurred by projects related to the University of Arizona (UA) and Arizona State University (ASU). For the new fiscal year that started July 1, 2013, the two universities are spending more than $560 million on capital construction projects. Associated private development in and around the schools adds more than $100 million to the ticket. ASU Construction News The headliner for ASU is the new Center for Law and Society in Downtown Phoenix. Envisioned in 2012, the $129 million project slipped into the system during 2013 after the 2013-17 capital budget was okayed. Donations, grants, and bond funds made the project an immediate reality. ASU awarded the Construction

Manager at Risk (CMAR) to DPR Construction and is preparing to start work in June 2014. The University wants the school open for new students by July 2016. The remaining $33 million in capital spending is scattered amongst building and infrastructure enhancements, class renovations, and a research lab for faculty business startups. Although not an ASU capital project, a 300-room hotel and 30,00 square-foot conference center is has been awarded to USAPlace LLC. The project grew from the hotel conference center to include offices, 500 luxury apartments, and the training headquarters for USA Basketball. Four privately-developed student housing high-rise projects are going up for ASU students; three close to the Tempe and one near the Downtown Phoenix campus. Another future development around Tempe will be the massive Sun Devil Stadium renovations— which are awaiting the award of a

master developer agreement for the ASU Athletic Facilities District. The special taxing entity will divert property taxes from more than 300 acres of university-owned land to fund improvements to the stadium and other ASU athletic facilities. UA Construction News UA is projected to spend $399 million during the fiscal year. Mortenson Construction is the general contractor for the North End Zone Upgrade project for UA. The $72 million renovation is already underway. There are four other major projects: $85 million for new Bioscience Research Labs; $80 million for McKale Memorial Center improvements; the $79 million Chemical Sciences building renovation; and $63 million for the Engineering Innovation building. AECOM and BWS Architects designed the McKale upgrades, and five firms are being reviewed for an imminent bid award. Design and general contracting roles for the

science building are still pending. SmithGroup JJR designed the engineering building, and Sundt Construction, Inc. is building it. Upping public-private efforts on the campus edge, UA is building a trio of high-rise student housing apartments. The Hub, $41 million apartment with 590 bedrooms for rent is 14 stories. Next door, the 14-floor Level is projected to cost $37 million and the nearby Park Avenue is 13 stories. A low-rise student townhouse project is just about to break ground, The Junction at Iron Horse, 504 E. Ninth St., has 202 bedrooms and $12 million price tag.

University of Arizona Project Engineering Innovation Building Bioscience Research Labs North campus Infrastructure Old Main Renovation Bear Down Gym Addition & Renovation South Stadium Parking Structure McKale Memorial Center Improvements Interdisciplinary Chemical Sciences Ren/Exp TOTAL

Value $63.0M $85.0M $32.0M $13.5M $27.4M $18.5M $80.0M $79.2M $398.6M

GC/CMAR Sundt Construction DPR Construction Sundt Construction Sundt Construction Sundt Construction McCarthy Building Companies Not yet awarded Not yet awarded

Design SmithGroupJJR Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, LLP GLHN Architects and Engineers Poster Frost Mirto/NTD Architecture Poster Frost Mirto/NTD Architecture DFDG AECOM/BWS Architects AECOM

Arizona State University Project




Center for Law and Society


DPR Construction

Ennead Architects (NYC) & Jones Studio

Building and Infrastructure Enhancements


Info Not Yet Available

Info Not Yet Available

Classroom and Academic Renovations


Info Not Yet Available

Info Not Yet Available

Research Laboratory/Faculty Startup


Info Not Yet Available

Info Not Yet Available




Association Highlights ABA Offers Mixers, Courses, and Conference The Arizona Builders’ Alliance (ABA), a statewide construction trade association, formed as an alliance of the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) and the Associated General Contractors (AGC) will be hosting a joint mixer with Valley Partnership, September 19th from 4–6 p.m. at Ryan Companies office in Phoenix. Join us for food, fun, networking, and prizes. The ABA’s annual Convention, which offers education, networking opportunities, and fun, will be hosted October 17–19th in Sedona. To register for either event, see If you are in need of Certified Professional Constructor Certification, the ABA will be providing this to members and non-members throughout the

month of October. The final exam will be given November 2nd, with four preparation classes held in October. The ABA exists for the purpose of advancing the productivity and profitability of our members and the construction industry. Celebrating its 20th year in 2014, the ABA is proud to service the construction industry through advocacy, education, and networking opportunities in the state of Arizona. ACT Expands Membership The Alliance of Construction Trades (ACT), the non-profit trade association that represents specialty trade contractors and materials suppliers in the construction industry in southern Arizona, has opened its membership to include general contractors and home builders in an effort to improve

communication and develop stronger relationships in the industry. The organization voted a bylaw change at its June membership meeting by a 90 percent approval margin, creating a General Contractor-Home Builder Council that would allow those types of companies to become members of ACT with full benefits. Jim Kuliesh, president and CEO, said ACT was kicking off a campaign called “Partners in Construction” to attract home builders and general contractors “…to facilitate open communication, cooperation, and understanding, and to develop solid relationships. We can do that by providing them access to all of our member classifications, education on construction topics and issues, an exchange of

information on industry trends, and perspectives based on common goals and interests,” Kuliesh says. ARA Donates to Fallen Firefighters The American Rental Association (ARA) of Arizona teamed with the ARA Foundation to give $1,000 to benefit families of fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots crew who perished in the recent Yarnell Hill wildfire. The ARA of Arizona wanted to help the families of those fallen firefighters and, by taking advantage of the ARA Foundation’s disaster recovery


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Arizona is 2nd in the nation in aggregate materials production matching fund program, the association doubled its giving power — donating $1,000 to the 100 Club of Arizona. “These firefighters, who use equipment to fight fires that our rental businesses in Arizona rent, left behind wives and children,” says Cathy DeBusk, vice president of Party People Rentals in Phoenix, who serves as chair of the ARA Foundation board of trustees. “I thought a donation to the 100 Club, which provides financial assistance to the families of public safety officers and firefighters who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, would be a perfect way for the ARA of Arizona to assist these families and support the work the firefighters do in keeping us safe.” Connie Lannan ARPA’s Solid Economic Impact The Arizona Rock Products Association (ARPA) is Arizona’s oldest mining association and one of the most dynamic, successful and eclectic trade associations in the Southwest. ARPA Executive Director Steve Trussell says that the rock products industry-- sand and gravel mining firms, crushed stone producers, ready-mix concrete suppliers, concrete product and asphalt manufacturers, as well as cement producers—contribute nearly $3 billion in direct output, production and deliveries in Arizona annually.

ARPA knows that in order to build Arizona, ARPA members have to also invest in people and communities throughout the state. ARPA has an ongoing list of projects that provide ARPA members with the opportunity to support local communities. The ARPA sponsored transition housing for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, provided the materials and installation for the Navajo Code Talker monument and Veteran’s Memorial Flagpole at the Arizona Capital Plaza as well as improvements of the Capitol grounds for the State’s Centennial. Safety and environmental compliance are also priorities, so ARPA hosts monthly workshops to ensure that its members are aware of the latest regulations and innovations which include use of recycled materials and water and employment of new technologies that vastly reduce the industry’s impact to the environment. Success stories; such as the reuse of fly-ash as an admixture incorporated into finished aggregate products, are an example of the largest recycling efforts of any business sector. The ARPA may not be the biggest trade association in the Southwest, but is arguably one of the most effective.


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The City that Cotton Built Paul Beaulieu


The earliest bale of cotton ginned in Arizona up to that time occurred on June 30, 1954 at the Acme Gin Company in Buckeye using crops harvested at the Turner-Shawler Ranch south of the Gillespie Dam along the Gila River.

have set out on a journey to discover the story behind Arizona's traditional Five C's and her four new ones. Mention Five C's and many of us suddenly have flashbacks to high school history class, taught by our school's basketball coach, who seemed more interested in that night's game and the varsity cheerleaders than in Arizona history. Contrary to what many may believe, the tale of Arizona's industry is not accurately depicted with a dry and flat scene where a few lonely cows graze near a cotton field, while singing migrant workers pick oranges which will be sold at a local farmers' market. It is an epic where industrial titans, civil rights heroes and patriots battled to produce their products and a better place to live. Today, our businesses, our buildings and our cities are named after those leaders. Their struggle continues in an often tense, politically charged environment, where the federal government gives some local businesses lucrative contracts while slapping legal handcuffs on others. It is the story of Arizona, it is the story of America, it is our story, and together we are going to explore it from the early days of King Cotton to the current suite of cruise missiles and the controversial legalization of cannabis. Our story begins just after statehood where the decisions of one man pushed a young Arizona onto the national stage. Paul's family became some of the first illegal aliens on record when Myles Standish crossed the pond on the Mayflower in 1620. Or, as the Associated Press would say it, Mr. Standish failed to obtain legal permission from the Wampanoag citizens prior to entering their country. Fortunately for Mr. Standish, I.C.E. would not be formed for another 383 years and the Wampanoag granted him amnesty. So, from that American line, Paul emerged in Boston 1875 and he would remain in Massachusetts until he graduated from MIT in 1896. He had the mind of an engineer, the drive of an industrialist and the heart of an adventurer. These traits caught the attention of an entrepreneur whose two year old tire making business needed some aggressive, high energy, intelligent help to drive growth. Paul accepted the offer and went to work with the start up company. With the invention of the automobile and the development of Henry Ford's model of mass production, the market was primed for

the little tire company to succeed. The cutting edge technology of the day was the bias tire, composed of layers of cotton cords surrounded by vulcanized rubber. There were two places in the world where tire manufactures could buy their cotton: one was in Egypt, the other was in the American South. These sources were generating record breaking amounts of cotton when suddenly they were both attacked. The Germans launched their World War I assault on the Egyptians and the American South was invaded by millions of boll weevils that decimated cotton crops. The United States needed tires to fight the war and grow the economy; an economy that Twenty six

was becoming more and more geographically diverse and dependent on the truck transport of goods. So when Paul approached the USDA, they were elated and pointed him to the one place in the country that could grow the cotton he needed for his tires, with no threat of Germans or weevils. Paul listened and in 1916 he made the cross country trek to ask the farmers of central Arizona to plant cotton. An entire nation was riding on what those farmers decided and Paul poured his heart into the proposal. The farmers all listened to the citified, East Coast, smarty-pants businessman and came to the unanimous decision of, hell no! Still determined, Paul traveled back to the

company headquarters for a quick discussion with his CEO. Like a true blooded industrialist, when forced to choose between giving up and death, Paul bought the farm. In fact, his initial purchase was for 16,000 acres of Arizona farmland and he would eventually acquire a total of 36,000 acres. Paul started a new company to oversee agricultural development and manage the farmers and workers he imported from other states and Mexico. All the land was designated to the singular purpose of growing cotton. Eventually two cities would grow up in those fields. The first one Paul named after the company he served and would serve for 59 years. That company was

Images courtesy of Author

Goodyear. In return, the Goodyear company named the other city after him, Paul Weeks Litchfield. Paul Litchfield retired from the his role as CEO of Goodyear Tire and Rubber in the fall of 1958 and moved to his Litchfield, Arizona home. He died there the following spring. The Arizona cotton boom lasted from Paul's arrival in 1916 until shortly after World War II. It created thousands of jobs and brought in enormous amounts of revenue to the state. Today, it is a smaller player at number eight on Arizona's list of exports, but it has forever shaped us. Developments like Cotton Center on 40th Street and Broadway Road and Algodon

Medical Park on 91st and Thomas Road bear its name. The longest and strongest cotton was developed in Arizona and is named after the Pima Native Americans who were instrumental in its engineering. In time, technological advancements lead to the development of synthetic reinforcement materials that dethroned King Cotton from his dominant position in the tire industry. As science and capitalism pushed forward into the mid-twentieth century, states and businesses worried that, like cotton, their resources and products would become less desired and the gold in their vaults would dwindle. In contrast, Arizonans prepared to welcome new friends

from around the globe. One nation had driven to power on Arizona cotton, but in the Information Age, all the world's superhighways would be paved with Arizona copper.

Across top left: Western Cotton & Oil Products Company at 51st Avenue and Buckeye Road in 1965. Across top right and below: Western Cotton & Oil Products Company cotton bales in 1965. Across below: Aerial photo of the Western Cotton & Oil Products Company in 1965. Top: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company meeting including Mr. Litchfield (second from left) at the Westward Ho Hotel in 1954. Above: Goodyear store at 7012 N. 56th Avenue in 1965.

Arizona Contractor & Community


ew have left such an indelible construction mark in Arizona as Harry J. Hagen. Whether employed by public highway agencies in the 1920s or later starting his own firm in Globe, the roads Hagen helped create are among the state’s most legendary engineering feats. The Superior-Miami Highway, the Apache Trail, the Mt. Graham Highway, and the Hoover Dam highway are just some of Hagen’s transportation legacy. These engineering feats however, didn’t come easy for Hagen. His rise in the industry from underground miner to running his own construction firm was the epitome of the American dream. Hagen was born the youngest of five children in a Norwegian-American family in the southwestern Oregon logging town of Glendale in 1897. While in high school, Hagen worked at his brother’s sawmill. After graduation, he attended the University of Oregon and for almost two years studying civil engineering until contracting tuberculosis. Hoping a drier climate would help his ailment, Hagen and a buddy hopped a freight train bound for work in Arizona’s booming copper mines. Their adventurous hobo journey included an unexpected backtrack when they caught the wrong train in Los Angeles that nearly landed them back in Oregon. The pair eventually made it to Yuma, Arizona where Hagen continued his journey hitchhiking. The 19-year-old arrived in the mining town of Globe with only hope, determination, and eight dollars in 1916. He became an underground miner for the nearby Inspiration Copper Company. During off hours, Hagen studied civil engineering and was soon reassigned to the firm’s engineering department as a draftsman working with George Booth. Shortly afterward, miners went on strike at the company. Refusing to strike, Hagen was hired by Matty Jacobson, a local contractor, and continued studying engineering at night. The following year, Hagen became the Arizona Highway Department’s youngest supervisor when he was hired to lead a ten-man crew to survey the Maricopa-Yuma county line west of Phoenix. The project required them to camp along the survey boundary that stretched over 100 miles of rugged, remote desert terrain including the . Hagen did paperwork during the day; nights were spent surveying to avoid the hottest temperatures. Lanterns were used at the end of each line-shot to increase the Left: The 1953 Burro Creek crew, standing: Ellie Trethway, Ed Gilmore, Harry Hagen, Henry Farrow, Del Canti, and a Native American worker. Kneeling: Woody Frenny, a day worker, Corbet Jonovich and two additional workers.

Images courtesy of Elaine Hagen

accuracy. Hagen’s survey line remains the official county boundary. Hagen subsequently became the youngest resident engineer in the Arizona State Highway Department at the age of 21. His first engineering job was the Miami-Superior Highway, where he supervised two contractors with a combined 150 employees. Hagen was tasked with locating a route connecting the two mining towns and surveyed a path going up the east side of Queen Creek Canyon above Superior. This route was abandoned however, in favor of another along the west side. Hagen was the general foreman for this difficult construction project where excavation was accomplished using hand shovels or mule-


powered Fresno-scrappers, and debris was hauled away using wheel barrows and wagons. The toughest section of highway to build was the Claypool Tunnel, which was replaced by the Queen Creek Tunnel in 1952. When the tunnel was almost finished, a young man in Globe who wanted to visit his girlfriend in Phoenix asked Hagen if he might save time by taking the underground shortcut. “I guess we can throw a few rocks out of the way and let you through,” Hagen replied. He became the first tourist to drive through the Claypool Tunnel. The “Million Dollar Highway,” which had taken nearly three years to build and in several places passed through canyons so deep and narrow that road crews had to carve the route into rock wall, was completed in 1922. At

dedication ceremonies, Governor Thomas Campbell, speaking to a crowd, proudly predicted that of all his accomplishments while in office, the most important “will have been the construction of this highway.” During road construction, Hagen met his future wife, Thelma Webb, who was the daughter of a local rancher and taught at Inspiration Addition School. “Most dates with Harry consisted of going on the rounds and checking work sites,” she recollected. Just a month after the highway’s dedication, Harry and Thelma were married. The couple was inseparable as Thelma accompanied Harry on his construction projects. Hagen spent two more years with the Arizona Highway Department, during which he engineered the difficult Fish Creek Hill Road from Roosevelt Dam to Mormon Flat that is now the upper stretch of the Apache Trail. In 1924, Hagen joined the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads and was soon asked to relocate to the Northwest. While in Idaho, Hagen was employed evenings by the Keiling Company and worked both jobs concurrently for five years. The couple had their first child, Harry W. (Hal) Hagen. While working on a forest road near Cougar Creek, Hagen made an arrangement with his supervisor at the Bureau of Public Roads that he could bid the job. If Hagen received the contract, he would quit, start his own company, and build the road. If Hagen didn’t get it, he could keep his job with the bureau. Hagen’s was the winning bid and his gamble was on. With their savings along with a bank loan, the Hagen’s formed a partnership with two Slovenians, Nick and Chero, and Hagen Construction Company was born. “They bought a little three-quarter yard P&H power shovel and paid for its shipping by dipping rockslides in the area,” Hal Hagen says. “When the construction job started, your grandpa

supervised the job during the day and worked a full shift on the shovel at night. During the winter, that could mean working in four feet of snow in negative 15 degree temperatures. Mom did the night shift cooking and took care of me in the daytime. They kept the books together. Your Grandma didn’t see another woman for four months.” Although this project was successful, the Hagens ended their partnership with the Slovenians and returned to Globe in 1930. Hagen did survey work in Globe until he was awarded the contract to build a road at Turkey Flat, on Mt. Graham in the summer of 1930. He hired workers from the Safford area, bought a team of mules and a Fresno scraper, and a 35 Monarch Allis Chalmers track-tractor from Neil B. McGinnis in Phoenix. The crew set up camp with Harry supervising, Thelma’s younger brother, Ordy, operated the tractor and Thelma, seven months pregnant, kept the books, fed the crew, and cared for her family. Hagen brought along Charley Edwards, a driller and powder man and M.F. Cain, a blacksmith, who would sharpen picks, bars, and drill steel. Construction progressed until Thelma’s labor pains forced Harry to drive down the dirt trail in their Model-A Ford to the Safford hospital where their second child, Richard Dean Hagen, was born. Hagen Construction Company won the contract on two consecutive sections of the Turkey Flat road—a rarity in the competitive road construction business. Not until the Winkelman road project in the 1960s did this occur again with the firm. Under Hagen’s leadership however, the company left its construction footprint across Arizona’s landscape. Other highlights include Strawberry Hill over the Mogollon Rim towards Flagstaff, U.S. Route 66 overpasses, city streets in Globe and Flagstaff, upgrades at the Navajo Army Depot, U.S. Highway 70 between Cutter and Peridot, 35 miles of U.S. Highway 60 between Globe and Show Low, including the treacherous four-mile southern descent into the Salt River Canyon. With the latter project in 1964, Hagen had to create a special traffic crew to pilot cars whose drivers were afraid to go through the steep canyon. Although Hagen Construction Company is best known for roads, they also had a transitmix concrete business. The firm built Inspiration Mine’s primary crusher, ore bins, and a controlled blasting excavation project, Miami Copper Company’s leaching facilities, a concrete dam for Kennecott Copper Corporation, and all the concrete for Images courtesy of Elaine Hagen

Across top left: Harry Hagen. Across top right: The state’s largest culverts installed beneath U.S. Highway 60 in 1936. Across left: Lester Rice and Rick Anderson unload the first Caterpillar D9 crawler in Arizona at the Hagen yard in 1953. Top: Early cable equipment working on the road to Boulder (Hoover) Dam in 1935. Right: Ladybug crane at Burro Creek in 1953.

Arizona Contractor & Community

construction of the Copper Cities Unit Mine. In addition, they built the Pinto Creek Bridge, the Winkelman Bridge, and Hagen’s last construction project, the Carrizo Creek Bridge, in 1977. Hagen also contributed to the Globe community, building an Olympic-sized pool and the baseball diamond, Hagen Field. Hagen worked as long as he was physically able saying, “If I retire I’ll let my crew down— especially the old gang that’s been with us all these years.” “We have been most fortunate in having the best quality people working for us,” Thelma said. “One of our men has been with us 43 years, and many others for 25 years. We’re grateful to these people.” Turnover at the business was very low which is rare in the construction business. “The people in the company are most of Harry’s world,” she added. “He’d do anything for them.” Hagen’s integrity, business knowledge, and ethics make him a pillar in the Arizona construction community. “He has always been very interested in helping young men,” a Hagen employee said. “He feels every man should have the opportunity. If he muffs it, that’s his own loss, but he should have the chance.”

Images courtesy of Elaine Hagen

Right: Aside from the purchase of the first D9, Hagen also owned the first Caterpillar 988 loader in Arizona shown here operating near Flagstaff in 1964. Bottom: A Caterpillar blade nicknamed the “knuckle buster” working in rocky terrain outside Globe in 1953.

Thirty two


he Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio had a big problem in 1915. The Great War threatened their supply of Egyptian extra long staple (ELS) cotton, a critical component used as reinforcing fiber in the production of rubber tires. Egypt had long produced most of the world’s ELS cotton, but the onset of World War I made importation of Egyptian cotton burdensome, expensive, and unreliable. A domestic substitute needed to be secured, and quickly, if Goodyear was to maintain its dominance in the burgeoning rubber tire market. Frank Seiberling, founder of Goodyear Tire & Rubber, chose Paul Litchfield, his plant superintendent, to solve the company’s cotton problem. Litchfield, an engineer educated at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had patented the first tubeless automobile tire in 1903. He had since proven himself to be a formidable problem solver and leader, with a promising future at Goodyear. Litchfield was aware that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had begun breeding new varieties of ELS cotton in the early 1900s on their experimental fields in Sacaton, on the Pima reservation in Arizona. The site offered a climate and soil type similar to the Egyptian delta, and the Pima (Akimel O’odham) were also, conveniently, experienced farmers of irrigated land, willing to grow the cash crop for the USDA. These new USDA varieties, at first collectively called “American-Egyptian,” were the result of crossbreeding a variety of ELS cotton from the Sea Islands of South Carolina with various Egyptian ELS varieties. “Sea Island” cotton had originated in coastal Peru, where it had been cultivated for

“Of course, Litchfield’s extensive agricultural undertaking needed a command post. A building with offices, sales rooms, and guest accommodations for Goodyear employees…”

Goodyear’s vast cotton fields in the West Valley along the Agua Fria River. Litchfield sought the services of Leighton G. Knipe, a structural engineer and architect in Phoenix. Knipe, like Litchfield, was a newcomer to the Valley. Since his arrival in 1910, he’d established a thriving architectural firm. He’d designed several notable homes as well as the Tempe City Hall and Tempe National Bank in 1912, and the six-story Jefferson Hotel in downtown Phoenix in 1915. Litchfield and Knipe settled on a Pueblo Indian inspired design complete with vigas, parapets, and finished roof decks accessed by ladders. The building, the Organization House, was completed in 1918. It had six guest rooms, as well as a communal dining room and lounge featuring a massive adobe fireplace. But Litchfield also had ideas for the land surrounding his new headquarters. It was to be a “city of the future,” a new town planned with broad boulevards, lined with palm trees and citrus, with areas dedicated to commercial and public use. Knipe designed the townsite, as well as a one-story general store and grocery building. The store was built, burned down, and rebuilt by 1920. It Left: Paul Litchfield at Goodyear Farms. Top: 1939 Wigwam brochure cover. Bottom: Goodyear Tires blimp hovers over a farm in Litchfield.

Images courtesy of Robert Graham

thousands of years before spreading throughout South America, the Caribbean, and eventually to the Carolinas, where it had been grown for export since the 1780s. The USDA eventually named their new experimental varieties “Pima” cotton in honor of the tribe’s contribution to their development. A variety labeled “Yuma,” deemed most likely to succeed commercially, was offered to the public in 1908. The early success of “Yuma” cotton in the years after its introduction convinced Litchfield that Goodyear’s problem could be solved in the Arizona desert. So off he went. Within a few months of his arrival in 1916, Litchfield had acquired nearly 40,000 acres of undeveloped land south and west of Phoenix for the Southwest Cotton Company, a new subsidiary of Goodyear. Southwest Cotton, later called Goodyear Farms, offered good pay and fair management. Workers flooded in seeking employment in the fields. They quickly cleared the desert scrub, built irrigation systems and planted enough “Yuma” cotton to produce 1,500 bales in 1917. Problem solved. Of course, Litchfield’s extensive agricultural undertaking needed a command post. A building with offices, sales rooms, and guest accommodations for Goodyear employees willing to endure the bumpy, dusty, nearly full-day drive out from the train station in Phoenix would need to be built amidst

Arizona Contractor & Community

Thirty six

loosely based on reality. Zane Grey’s best seller of 1915, Riders of the Purple Sage, was made into a movie starring Tom Mix and his really big white hat in 1925. Mr. Mix had starred in over 250 westerns before tackling the Zane Grey classic, but he’d still have another decade of work afterwards. Cowboys, and cowboy-related activities, were hot. Wigwam guests could trail

Top: Entrance to the Wigwam Resort. Bottom: Exterior of the Wigwam Resort .

Images courtesy of The Wigwam

was later expanded to include a restaurant, pool hall and barbershop. Construction of a train station to serve the community, now called Litchfield, began in 1920. Upon its completion, Goodyear executives and their families could visit the wilds of the Arizona desert in relative comfort, at least in the winter. By 1921, new techniques in tire manufacturing made ELS cotton unnecessary. Paul Litchfield saw this, along the surplus of cotton on the market, as an opportunity to diversify the production of Goodyear Farms. Cattle, citrus and a variety of field crops were added to the mix on thousands of acres surrounding the Organization House. What had been a forbidding landscape, accessible only to the hardy, was now an increasingly verdant townsite with a robust agricultural economy. Farm employees were encouraged to buy their own land and develop businesses with loans from Goodyear. Paul Litchfield’s success in Arizona did not go unnoticed. In 1926, he became CEO of Goodyear Tire & Rubber, by then the largest tire company in the world, and was Chairman of the Board by 1930. The growing town, lush landscaping, and comfortable accommodations grew ever more popular with Goodyear executives and their families. By 1929, the expanded facility, with rooms for twenty-four, was renamed the Wigwam Resort and opened to the public. Guests were offered a wide mix of trendy amusements. Dude ranches had become vacation destinations in the years following World War I. Nostalgia for the untamed, unsullied West, tough times for ranchers, and the success of writers like Zane Grey created the demand. Hollywood began cranking out westerns, happy to feed a public taste for manly American tales,

ride, take rodeo lessons, wagon tours, and gather for steak cook-outs while being serenaded by the Wigwam’s very own singing cowboy, Yellowstone Chip. Guests less interested in horses could always play golf. One of the gardeners, a Scotsman, Jacque Phillip, laid out the first course in 1929 using his farm tractor. It was a dirt course, without turf, which relied on oiled sand in lieu of grass for the “greens.” A golf pro, Vernon “Red” Allen, was hired in 1935. He oversaw the expansion of the course, and the addition of trees and turf. Farm crews more accustomed to managing row crops were tasked with growing and mowing grass. Famous golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed the Wigwam’s second 18hole course in the 1960s. A third, desert style course by Robert “Red” Lawrence, was added in 1974. The Wigwam continued to expand outward, while maintaining its rural character, and most of the original landscaping. The cowboys are gone, and the cotton fields have largely disappeared beneath new development. But Paul Litchfield and Leighton Knipe would still recognize the Organization House and the palm lined boulevards of their “city of the future.”

egend City may have had its swan song 30 long years ago, but that didn’t prevent the vanished Arizona amusement park from celebrating its 50th birthday with a lavish event at the Arizona Historical Society Museum in Tempe on June 22. An estimated 350 people attended the sold-out affair. The 50th anniversary celebration marked the golden anniversary of the park’s grand opening on June 29, 1963. The event featured memorabilia displays, a show-and-tell memories booth, a costume contest, an original park snow-cone machine, and a 90-minute multimedia walk down Legend City memory lane. Commemorative t-shirts and pins were distributed to guests, and at the conclusion of the festivities, attendees enjoyed Legend City birthday cupcakes. Legend City founder Louis Crandall and his five adult children appeared and spoke at length during the auditorium program. After a standing ovation from the audience, the 83-year-old Crandall spent almost 20 minutes at the

podium, wistfully unfolding the tale of his conceptualizing, founding, building, and ultimately losing control of the ill-fated theme park. Crandall left Arizona in 1964 and has lived in Provo, Utah ever since. Legend City closed for good in 1983. An assortment of notable Legend City entertainers and celebrities assembled for the celebration, including Bill Thompson (Wallace of “Wallace and Ladmo”), Arizona’s balladeer Dolan Ellis, actor Sandy Gibbons, and 1965 Miss America Vonda Kay Van Dyke. The program also featured a series of videotaped greetings from Legend City notables who were unable to attend the celebration, including Wallace and Ladmo alum Pat McMahon. The auditorium program was impressively emceed by local entertainer Brad Zinn. The celebration served as a reunion for many park employees, some of whom credited their work at Legend City with dramatically changing their lives. The show-andtell video booth afforded them, and fans of the park, ample opportunity

Image courtesy of Author


to recount their favorite park memories. Those videos will soon be posted on the Legend City website: Without a doubt, however, this day belonged to Louis Crandall, who clearly felt a sense of longoverdue redemption watching the happy crowd streaming out of the auditorium following the program.

Legend City, it seems, is far from forgotten. “What a wonderful, wonderful day this has been,” said the smiling Legend City founder as he helped pass out the cupcakes. Top: John Bueker and Louis Crandall with Legend City cake. Bottom left: The Crandall family. Bottom right: Crowd celebrates at the Arizona Historical Society.

Arizona Contractor & Community

Vintage Arizona Cotton Machines Cotton Defoliating Machine - New equipment at the O.S. Stapley Co., July 30, 1954.

Cotton Harvester - United Equipment Co., demonstration of new machine in 1961.

Cotton Ginning Machine -

Barksdale Cotton Fertilizer - 1955.

Inside view at Western Cotton Products, March 24, 1955.

Cotton Harvesting Machine at Arizona Machinery Co., August 12, 1953.


Image courtesy of Author

Western Cotton & Oil Products plant, 1956.


913 was an auspicious year in many ways: the federal tax was levied for the first time, Henry Ford cranked up his assembly line, suffragettes demonstrated for the right to vote, issues leading to World War I simmered, and children were surprised to find a prize in their Cracker Jacks. Here in Arizona, citizens were proud of their new statehood earned just the year before. Newcomers to the Valley marveled at the beauty of an area north of Phoenix verdant with yellow palo verde blossoms and the purple blooms of ironwood trees, which they dubbed, Paradise Valley. For all its beauty, the Paradise Valley environment was harsh and only those willing to brave the heat, scorpions, sandstorms, and rattlesnakes stayed. In

1913, the hardy few signaled their the size of Flagstaff that determination to make Paradise Valley home by is bounded by 7th opening a one-room schoolhouse a half-mile Avenue and east of 32nd Street and Cactus. Sunnyside School enrolled 14 boys and 21 girls that first year and became the precursor to Paradise Valley Unified School District, now Arizona’s seventh largest district serving 32,000 students across a geographical area

Images courtesy of Paradise Valley Unified School District

Pima Road, and Northern Avenue and Jomax Road. Over its 100-year history, the district’s growth mirrored the evolution of the community. When the area failed to secure water rights for irrigation, many residents left Paradise Val

ley. In fact there is no record of a school from 1920 to 1923, probably because there were not 10 children in the area, the required number to operate a school. Throughout the rest of the ‘20s, the Sunnyside School taught only the basics. The school, which had moved in 1918 to a barn-like building at the northeast corner of 32nd and Greenway, had no indoor plumbing but proudly boasted “an outdoor facility – one for the boys and one for the girls.” Students attended to their readin’, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic, but also brought in wood for the stove. By 1930, concerned citizens knew they had to prepare for residential growth in Paradi

Background: Wildfire Elementary School opened in 2006. Across top: Providing the needed tools for students has evolved from #2 lead pencils to the latest technology. Across bottom: In 1927, students in what was to become the Paradise Valley Unified School District were driven to school along rough dirt roads by a local resident in his then modern Willy Knight automobile.

se Valley. Edwin Nisbet donated land for a new school (the present day site of Greenway Middle School) that he’d originally bought for 50 cents an acre. Still, the area was served by a single school throughout the ‘30s and ‘40s. In the late 1940s, when electricity first came to the area, the district began to grow. As World War II ended, a residential boom occurred in the area. The early settlers – some familiar names from having streets named for them -- finally saw their investment in the area pay off. Among them were the Bells, Nisbets, O’Clairs, Norrises, and Vondraceks. By 1956, the district had 259 students, who from 10th grade on, had to attend Phoenix Union High School. That changed in 1957 with the

Images courtesy of author

Forty four

as growth continues, particularly in the northern-most part of the district. Certainly when early teachers bumped along roads no better than cow paths in a Willy Knight automobile to greet their 24 students, they could hardly envision a district as large or progressive as what is now Paradise Valley Unified School District. The district, supported through a partnership with The Foundation for Public Education, is celebrating 100 years of Paradise with the community, alumni, past and present students, teachers and employees with a special public Centennial Celebration Oct. 19.

Centennial Celebration Paradise Valley Unified School District 4 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 Shadow Mountain High School Complex 30th Street and Shea Parade * Historical Displays * Fireworks Students * Teachers * Alumni * Friends Supported by The Foundation for Public Education

Top left: The John F. Long Company building a new subdivision at Paradise Valley Oasis in 1962. Top right: Billboard for acre lots by Hallcraft Homes in the Scottsdale/Paradise Valley area in 1963. Bottom: Senator Barry Goldwater greets students from the Paradise Valley Unified School District.

Image courtesy of Paradise Valley Unified School District

opening of Paradise Valley High School (which was rebuilt in 1993). Preparing for the baby boomers, the district built four schools in the 1960s. During the next decades, some schools were closed and others remodeled, but growth and construction were a constant for the district. The projects included building 13 schools in the 1970s, 11 schools in the 1980s, 10 in the 1990s, and 8 since 2000 with the most recent being Fireside Elementary in northeast Phoenix. Fireside is an 88,660 square foot elementary school designed to be a near “net zero” energy building, meaning it produces nearly as much energy as it consumes. The design team from DLR Group and Core Construction included major energy reduction features such as: ● Solar collection panels ● Daylight harvesting ● Solar hot water system ● Low flow plumbing ● Water harvesting for irrigation ● Energy efficient lighting ● High performance building envelope Currently the district has 53 schools and support facilities. Construction projects underway at 30-plus sites range from solar installations to roofing, security upgrades to athletic field renovations to a replacement facility. These projects involve working with multiple contractors including Chasse Building Team, Brignell Construction, Core Construction, Joake Construction, Progressive Roofing, Sundt Construction, McCarthy Building Companies, and other firms. ADM Group, DLR Group, and NTD Architecture have provided architectural services. The construction reflects changing needs as the district has evolved with the community. Technology has been a driver as the district focuses on preparing students with twenty-first century skills. So has serving expanding areas

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gentleman who possessed impeccable

Bill was fun to hang out with as

retired from many years working in

integrity and loyalty. He was a kind

he was like an adult kid who played

the Arizona concrete industry. We

soul who treated everyone with the

as hard as he worked.

discussed his early days at Superior

utmost respect.

four-wheeling, hunting, collecting







Bill enjoyed


Through the years, Bill faced

Contracting), the Tanner Companies,

many challenges during his sales






career and handled each situation





with poise and fairness.









changes the






He was a


gracious to share his knowledge and


photo collection with me.

professionals to set records in the







Metro in



training program. impressions





One of my first





network of friends, customers, and colleagues and how their lives seem to mesh together on and off the job. As I got to know Bill, I understood that there was much more to this man than his gregarious personality and his innate ability to build lasting relationships.

Forty eight









knowledgeable, humble man and was

I met Bill in 1985 after being hired


classic cars, and restoring antique






guns, Lionel


trains, and loved to frequent swap


meets, car meets, and antique shops.



enthusiastic and

that have never been rivaled in the


Phoenix market. I had the privilege







involved numerous

of joining his sales team in 1997,

Bill was one of my best friends

handling aggregate sales for Kiewit

and the most positive influence in



my life; I am a better person because

epitome of the caring mentor who

of him. He lived his life with sound

would encourage and empower his


subordinates to try fresh, creative


ways to gain new business and build

very fortunate to have known him

stronger customer relationships. He

and will always be thankful for our

taught me that at the end of the day



Bill was an icon in the concrete










character to

wonderful and




years gentle






reputation, and to conduct yourself


with honesty and sound ethics in all

loyal friend to those of us who



situations in life.

knew him.

Images courtesy of Connie Jones



market I







Division of the Tanner Companies to


gravel, and asphalt in Arizona. Here ●






Customers and employees trusted him 100 percent. Bill would always say, “Treat people the way you “Make your customers your friend about your job.” Bill felt employees were the best salesmen, and drivers were the first -line sales people.


knew if the customers were happy with their service, future jobs opportunities were possible.

I never



the employees working.


Bill did







would say we “work together.” ●

Bill was a serviceman and part


time salesman. At times he had to convince his customers to pour


very early in order to get better

Bill set goals not only in sales


volume, but in efficiency too. He

and Bill had to sell Dispatch and

measured yards per truck per day,


yards per hour, load size, haul

worked and he was rewarded with











This was something new on




a promotion. ●

Bill helped many small customers grow into large companies.


would take them plans to bid on

product. ●


struggling to get equipment and


and you will never have to worry ●

Bill was a team player.

cost, and finding ways to reduce

want to be treated.” ●



a lower profit in order to keep



are my favorite memories of Bill:

time to find the right personal


he was ready to take advantage

else, made the company the largest concrete,



this so when the market improved,

United Metro. Bill, more than anyone of

economist; slowing

would increase jobs, sometimes at

transferring from the Construction




Bill matched sales people with the

and find jobs for them. He earned


their loyalty and trust. Bill said,

He believed in making










customer had a hobby, he would

and you will be successful.” He was








Whether it was classic

cars or hiking he would take the

Bill was an icon in the industry.


will miss my friend and co-worker.

Image courtesy of Bill Heeter

Arizona Contractor & Community

Image courtesy of author

Dad collected trains, A-1 Beer art

co-workers, customers, or vendors,


he would often visit them at home or

abreast of employment possibilities

even the hospital to keep them up to

and prospective customers. It was a


great forum and still happens with










my Dad’s chair empty.

believed in paying it forward.

work, and vintage memorabilia such as









His first job was for Moe’s Food Fair

recently he had purchased a 1949

at 35th Avenue and McDowell when he

My father was born in Providence,

Ford pick-up truck and also owned

was 16 years old. He saved enough to

Rhode Island on January 9, 1938 and

his grandfather’s (Homer Heeter) 1951

buy his first car, a navy blue 1949

his family moved to Phoenix in 1951.


His biggest passion in

Ford coupe. After Blakely Oil he

They lived in Alzona Park and Bill

the last few years of his life was

worked at Reynolds Aluminum in the

attended Isaac School and JB Sutton



Cast House. In 1958 he started work at

School. Dad served in the United

tractors which he proudly used at

Fisher Contracting in the dispatch

States Marine Corps Reserve from

the CJ Ranch in Mayer, Arizona. For

department and worked there until



Company as a Lance Corporal. My











wheeling with the Sahauro 4X4 Club, which he helped found.



loved hunting.






He continued to serve as a Sales

Phoenix Union High School in 1957.


My dad never said a bad thing about








Contracting/United Metro Materials. until




President in 1972. They were sold to



Ashland Oil and he continued to sell





workers like they were family, and

Ashland sold the company to Peter

he treated his friends like gold. He

Kiewit who in turn sold to Rinker


Station at 35th Avenue and Van Buren



from 1956-1957. He sold more tires,

until the company was sold to Cemex

Heeter, and he was the best father

batteries, and oil than



he made as an hourly

serving 53 years in the industry


wage I


Bill always put his customers first

opinion, we are so very proud of

when his gift of sales

and had his finger on the pulse of

him but most of all we loved him and



we miss him .












continued on





to 2009


work after



most to
















caring Sharon for.


We his

You could ask him about

any cement plant, ready-mix plant,

Bill is survived by his wife, Sharon,

aggregate pit, etc., and he could tell

of 56 years, his son, Paul Heeter, who

Bill stayed in contact with as many

you everything about it .he truly



was “Mr. Concrete.”

daughter, Connie (Craig) Jones, who









owns and operate CJS Enterprises

visiting old customers, and having

LLC here in Phoenix and Lisa (Pat)

breakfast with industry leaders. My


Dad should always be known for how



he stayed in touch with his mentors

It began around 1985 as a way to keep

Albuquerque, New Mexico.

that he met during his early years




coming up in the concrete business.




It didn’t matter whether they were

around so this was a good way for



together. people


In to




He has 10 great-

Arizona Contractor & Community

Images courtesy of Connie Jones

Construction Marketplace


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(JOC) Small Diameter Sewer Rehab 7/29/2013 SAK Construction $6,000,000.00

Runway 30L Threshold Reconstruction 8/1/2013 Southwest Concrete Paving $5,693,149.00

WWTP Post Filtration 8/1/2013 KCCI $528,430.00

Parker Cyn Lake-Mtn View Hwy 8/2/2013 Granite $1,251,485.00

Casa Grande-Coolidge Hwy 8/2/2013 J Banicki $1,844,392.00

Yuma-Casa Grande Hwy 8/2/2013 FnF $3,015,187.00

Oracle Junction-Globe Hwy 8/2/2013 Ames $2,029,608.00

(Design-Build) PSHIA Terminal 3 Modernization 8/12/2013 Hunt Construction $334,000,000.00

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Road Machinery P.6 & P.24 Shanes Grading & Paving P.52 Sunland Asphalt P.46 Sunstate Equipment Co P.17 Titan Rentals P.7 TSR P.18 Vanishing Phoenix P.52 Venture Leasing P.52 Vermeer Sales Southwest P.19 Water Movers Equipment Rentals P.19 Williams Scotsman P.54 Woudenberg Properties P.15 WSM Auctioneers P.11

PRSRT STD U.S. Postage PAID Phoenix, AZ Permit No. 3418


480.832.0855 Water Equipment

Mining Equipment

Earth Moving Equipment

Voca�onal Trucks

Specialty Equipment and A�achments

Jim Lowry

Jean Kasitch

Rental Manager/Sales

Rental and Sales Supervisor



3105 N Maple St

Office 480.832.0855

Direct 480.941.6504

Mesa, AZ 85215

Mobile 480.717.7271

Mobile 480.258.4818

www.pacwes� Office 480.832.0855

Arizona Contractor & Community magazine V2 I3  

Arizona Contractor & Community magazine V2 I3