The Origins Of Dolese Bros. Co.
From 1868 to almost 1900 John Dolese, father of Dolese Bros. Co. brothers William, John, Henry, and Peter Dolese, operated Dolese and Shepard with his partner Jason H. Shepard, a very successful contracting company as well as operators of one of the largest quarries in the country at the time.
With this background, in 1902, the four brothers began Dolese Bros. Co. which was originally focused on the construction of streets, sewer facilities, and other public projects in and near Chicago.
William soon decided to leave the company in the sole ownership of his three younger brothers. They evolved the business from contracting to operating railroad-owned ballast plants and quarries in various locations along main lines in Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
Prior to Oklahoma’s statehood in 1907, Dolese Bros. was already operating quarries in the territory, as well as in Colorado and Iowa. As Oklahoma settled, Dolese provided many thousands of tons of crushed stone and sand needed to construct this young state.
In 1910 Dolese purchased land at NW 13th and 14th street to establish an office and a distribution yard for crushed stone. In time, this location became the site of our first ready mix concrete plant and eventually the corporate headquarters in 1943.
As a natural extension of the aggregates business Dolese entered the Ready Mixed concrete business in 1931. This along with our aggregates allowed us to be a primary supplier of materials for the construction of Oklahoma’s primary highway system. Dolese remained a reliable supplier during World War II and the construction of military installations at Tinker, Vance, Altus, and Sheppard Air Force bases and for the Army at Fort Sill and the McAlester Army Ammunition plant.
In 1940, Peter’s son Roger joined the company, eventually taking the reins in 1944. Mr. Dolese led the company through many years of growth and development as Dolese continued to provide the foundational building products for the Interstate Highway system and the rapidly growing state. Mr. Dolese was an environmentalist and embraced responsible stewardship well before there were any government mandates and the company continues those high standards to this day. Mr. Dolese guided the company to the highest standard for 58 years until his death in late 2002, but what he left behind is his greatest legacy.
Faced with the prospect of the company being sold to pay estate taxes after his death Mr. Dolese worked tirelessly to find a way to keep Dolese an independent company. The solution was to give the company stock to the foundations at Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University, and Oklahoma University with the goal to help foster an increase in engineering graduates at these institutions. The company, if profitable, will buy back stock each year therefore providing the universities with an income to use to facilitate scholarships or other programs benefiting the students. This solution was successful because it kept the company independent. The profit-sharing program and stock buy backs will, in many years, create an employee-owned company and it has significantly helped the universities increase the number engineering graduates.
After the passing of Roger Dolese, Tony Basolo his right-hand man and closest confidant became President of the company. Mr. Basolo carried on Mr. Dolese’s vision and began the transition to the new structure of the organization with profit sharing and employee ownership.
The company continued to grow during his tenure with several acquisitions including Joe Brown Concrete and Wills Ready Mix. Tony was very well respected in the industry and was very active with the National Stone Association and served as the Chairman of the Board in 1997. He retired from the company in 2010.
In February of 2010 current President and CEO of Dolese Bros. Co., Mark Helm, took the top spot. While being mindful of the legacy left behind by Mr. Dolese and Tony Basolo before him, Mark is leading the company with the continuing mission to improve our communities through our products, actions, and support. He has instilled a renewed focus on customer satisfaction and vision within the organization focusing on innovation, employee development, and greater communication.
The company has continued to grow rapidly with acquisitions including in the Tulsa ready mix concrete market. Greenfield growth has come with the Roosevelt quarry in far Southwest Oklahoma and the White Eagle sand plant near Ponca City. Most recently the company acquired a rail yard in Fort Worth for sand shipments from White Eagle and the Quapaw company.
Mark is a member of a number of boards including non-profits the United Way of Central Oklahoma and the Nature Conservancy as well as The Oklahoma Aggregates Association, the State Chamber, and the Oklahoma City Chamber. He also served for many years on the National Stone Sand and Gravel Association Board serving as the Chairman in 2018.
In June 2021, Dolese moved from its office complex on 13th Street to a new Support Services Center located at 8300 N. Oklahoma Ave. in Oklahoma City. The new Support Services Center gives us the opportunity to have all our support groups together in one space so, working together, we can ensure that Dolese Delivers to our customers, communities and employees. We plan to make the Support Services Center our home for the next 100 years.