SAN ANTONIO – At 56, Gene Oden has been working in the industry ever since he got his first job as a project manager doing Job Order Contracting (JOC) work at the Corpus Christi Army Depot 26 years ago. Having started out in construction at age 16 on framing crews, he started at Alpha Building Corporation in February as a project manager for its JOC contract at UTSA.
Oden credits his parents with his ability to have a career in the construction industry. His father was an English major and a teacher and his mother was a teacher. He observes that his ability to spell, read, write and communicate – as well as build relationships – gave him a good chance at a construction career.
“That’s the experience that makes it possible for me to write proposals that win jobs,” he says.
Having grown up in Littleton, CO, a suburb of Denver, Oden traveled mostly doing federal government contracts, including emergency repair work in Louisiana and South Texas after the hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005.
In 1997, after traveling all over the country as a national sales manager for Delivery Order Contracting, he and his family decided to stay in Enterprise, AL, where they settled for the next 18 years until he and his wife relocated to join the team at Alpha.
“I’ve been married for 35 years to my high school sweetheart, Leslie, and she actually works at Alpha,” says Oden. “She is the receptionist at the corporate office on Blanco Road.”
The couple has four children. Their oldest, Max, 30, is a photojournalist who lives in Guatemala and is married. Their son, Sam, 24, is a welder at ALFAB who still lives in Alabama. Their daughter, Caitlin, 23, lives in Italy with her husband who is in the airborne division of the Army. Their youngest, John, 21, is a musician and lives in Alabama.
Having settled and raised their four children in Enterprise, AL, relocating to San Antonio to work for Alpha Building Corporation has been a new experience for Oden and his wife. He notes that this is the first time they’ve been empty nesters.
Now that it’s just the two of them, the couple has been going for drives and enjoying having this time together. Oden enjoys barbecuing, which comes from his dad’s side of the family. His great-grandfather started a meat market and a barbecue place in Ozona in West Texas in 1923. Four generations of the family ran it until it closed in the ‘90s. Back in Alabama, Oden and his wife owned Bowlegs BBQ, and though they don’t have their own place anymore, Oden keeps his eye out at antique shops for barbecue tools.
Thank you to Mary Hazlett (firstname.lastname@example.org) for featuring Gene under “Industry Folks” in the October issue of Construction News.