To those with the courage to go higher, faster and farther…
It was with great sadness that the industry mourned the death of George Brock in Richton, MS on February 11, 2004. As the owner of Hercules Concrete Pumping, headquartered in Houston, TX, Brock was one of the pioneers in the pumping business with innumerable achievements that helped establish concrete pumps as a viable method of construction.
George was raised on a farm in Mississippi with the spirit of resourcefulness that is born of necessity. After a tour of duty with the United States Navy, he graduated from Louisiana State University with an electrical engineering degree. For the first 10 years of his working career George applied his problem solving skills to the oil service business with Schlumberger Ltd.
Concrete pumping came calling in 1968 after George’s brother-in-law introduced him to one of the early pumps and the opportunity to on the leading edge of a new construction method. The name of the pump manufacturer was Hercules and George chose the same name for his new contracting firm – Hercules Concrete Pumping. Now with five kids born in five different states due to the travel required by the oil business, the Brocks settled in Houston.
Hercules grew in the next ten years to the point that Brock purchased his first boom pump in 1978 and his investment coincided with the boom in construction in the Houston area. The Houston skyline was growing and fast track high rise construction was ripe for the efficiencies of concrete pumping.
Turner Construction was the general contractor on the Texas Commerce Tower, designed to be the sixth tallest building at that time. Hercules had completed the 16,000 yard base mat for the tower with twelve Schwing pumps in a marathon night pour. Turner wanted to pump the decks on the 1,030-foot building and made it on their own to the 12th floor before they encountered problems and called George.
“We basically got ready for war,” recalls John Brock, George’s son and current Hercules owner. “No one had been that high before.”Using a Schwing 5000 and all of the Brock resourcefulness and determination the team topped out the building setting a new vertical pumping record. It was turning point for the pumping industry and set the stage for high rise pumping in the United States.
Not one to boast, George let the accomplishment speak for itself.
Through the oil business boom that controls the Houston economy, Hercules eventually owned one the largest concrete pump fleets in the country with branches in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Arkansas. Because George was always looking for a better way to pump, he designed clamps, pipe and gaskets and even ventured into pump manufacturing. “In the end his pride and joy was the friends he made,” John remembers. “All of the employees loved him and he helped anyone who was in need.”
Throughout his career, George kept the family close. Besides John, wife Phyllis, sons Steve and David and daughters Sue and Patrice all worked in the pumping business. They all survive him today. He died from a heart attack in the room his parents slept in back at the Mississippi homestead.
George Brock was a quiet man with a dry sense of humor and a gentleman to the end. Despite his unassuming demeanor, his legacy is much larger than any of the structures he helped build.