Tulsa business celebrates 100 years


Friday, November 12th 2004, 10:37 am
By: News On 6


It's not easy keeping a business going, it's even tougher to keep a business going for a whole century.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg shows us a Tulsa company that's been proving its mettle since before statehood. Southern Sheet Metal Works owner Mike Tidwell has been in the game a long time. "I started out sweeping the floors, when I was in high school. It's probably just in my blood, I don't know any better."

John Tidwell started the business in 1904. Then passed it on to his son John, and now Mike. He thinks the secret to their longevity is loyalty. "A lot of the guys have been here 25 years. We had a gentleman who passed away last year who had worked here over 50 years."

Early on, the company specialized in making tanks for the oil industry. Then after World War II, and people started using more central heat and air, they got into ductwork and the sky was the limit. "We did the Bank One building in Tulsa, the 41-story tower, the Woodland Hills Mall, St. Francis Hospital when they built that. "We just finished Asbury church and we're working on the Cancer Treatment Center. We've just been lucky, and we've tried to look ahead to see where the trends are going.”

Like a machine that cuts sheet metal with a laser beam, with shapes that would've been almost impossible in 1904. They can make just about everything but the kitchen sink. They've done restaurant and hospital sinks though.

Mike doesn't know for sure if a fourth generation of Tidwells will carry on the business, but he has two sons. "There's always a chance you know."