Now one of the most robust contracting companies in northern Alberta, Cox Contractors was tiny when Kevin Cox started in 1976. He was 18 years old and his equipment fleet consisted of a little gravel truck and an old loader. Minor excavation work and hauling were his bread-and-butter at first. “I began to realize that that was a hard game to play,” says Kevin. “I started reaching out further for something bigger.” He got a contract hauling aggregate for a company doing sewer and water work. “It opened the door to thinking I should be in sand and gravel,” he says. Kevin acquired a permit to explore for gravel. It was the start of a successful move into aggregate.
From one pit he soon had two, then another. He invested in more equipment. Eventually he had four different pits and an entire fleet of equipment. “It was interesting, it was exciting,” he says, of the early days, building a business from the ground up. “Sometimes it was tough. You’d look at people going to relax at the lake and you were going to work.” Kevin credits his wife Mickey Cox and Martha Nygaard, the company’s first office administrators, for their hard work keeping the business organized and well-functioning. “They were so important,” says Kevin. “You needed people you could trust and those were two that you could trust very much.”
His and Mickey’s sons, Ryan and Dustin, were also involved as soon as they were old enough to join in. “Ryan took a huge interest in equipment and he enjoyed the challenges that it brought,” Kevin says. By age 18, Ryan was a project foreman. “He never looked back,” Kevin says. Today Ryan is the company’s Construction Manager. Dustin has taken on the role of Contract Administrator. “He’s a huge asset,” says Kevin.
“I don’t remember ever having to go back to do a repair on work we’ve done”
The family’s – and their employees’ – hard work over the years has paid off. The company has impacted best practices in the construction industry and once set a record for the most kilometers of highway base laid provincially in a month. Today Cox Contractors has over 40 employees and over 100 pieces of equipment. The company’s focus is quality, as it has been since Day One. “I don’t remember ever having to go back to do a repair on work we’ve done,” says Cox.
Cox Contractors is proud to maintain close relationships with the First Nations people of the High Prairie area, one based on open communication and trust. Cox has several First Nations employees and values the experience and perspective they bring to the company’s team.
Cox Contractors believes in building community at home. The company is a major supporter of the greater High Prairie area, contributing funds – and often materials and equipment – to a great breadth of deserving groups and individuals, including: