Precast Concrete Manufacturer Since 1970Born in 1924, William "Bill" Hawken spent his early years growing up in St. Joseph, Missouri. The only boy among three sisters, Bill quickly learned how to keep a good sense of humor and, in many cases, how to problem-solve. Graduating from high school in the midst of World War II, Bill enlisted in the Army Air Force where he trained to become a bombardier. As a Second Lieutenant in the 8th Air Force division Bill flew in twenty six missions over Germany. In addition to achieving the position of division lead bombardier, Bill received four Air Medals and a Purple Heart. The flight that earned him the Purple Heart also resulted in the bestowed honor of the Distinguished Flying Cross medal. A determined Bill Hawken finished his mission over hostile skies despite being severely wounded. Following Germany's surrender in 1945, Bill was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant.
Bill returned to the United States a hero - as he will not hesitate to tell you! He immediately decided to take advantage of the G.I. Bill and continued his education at UCLA. After a couple of years, Bill transferred to USC to pursue industrial engineering. He graduated with his B.S. in 1950 and was ready to enter the business world. It was during his college years that he met his future wife, Evelyn Henkins. Many said that the beautiful Evelyn (known by those close to her as "Red") was far out of Bill's league, yet he continued his courtship with confidence and determination. On December 26, 1949 the couple began a marriage that was to last over 50 years.
With a degree in hand, Bill participated in a supervisor training program with General Motors. Shortly after, he acquired a position as an Industrial Engineer with Grayson Control focusing on time studies and production methods. It was this experience that first introduced Bill to the precast industry. Bill's next career move was as a Shop and Transportation Supervisor for eight years with American Pipe and Construction Company. This lasted until Bill accepted the position of national Production Manager for American Marietta. During his three and a half years with this company, Bill managed an impressive 126 plants in their concrete production division. Always displaying his outstanding potential, Bill was offered an opportunity with North Star Concrete Products as the Manager of Chicago Precast, a position he held for eight years until 1969.
With an exceptional background in management and a solid foundation in a variety of industries, Bill decided to go into business for himself. Bill discussed the idea with his friends and family and found that he had plenty of support to pursue this new endeavor. Several shareholders joined to serve as the financial backing for Utility Concrete Products and during the early months of 1970 they poured their first structure. A fire destroyed the original plant in 1973 and threatened the future of the company. As always, Bill found a way to fight through the challenge and drove Utility Concrete Products to an even higher level of excellence. With a decade of success under his belt, Bill Hawken became sole owner by 1980. Bill's son, Russell, now holds the title of CEO.
Grandson of Bill Hawken