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Bekaert Celebrates 140 years Manufacturing Fencing Products

Tuesday, March 31, 2020



Crawford County Arkansas’s largest employer, Bekaert, celebrates 140 years manufacturing fencing products.

quotes Image “We’re a rural community surrounded by farmland. Everywhere you look, there’s Bekaert fencing. It’s a point of pride to know the entire process started and finished right here in small-town America,”

explains Bekaert Plant Manager Randy McClaren II. “It is not just about the final product. It’s the jobs we provide to 350 team members.”

McClaren’s 21-year-career at Bekaert began the summer after high school graduation. “My dad told me he wanted me to spend my summer working in a factory so I would see how hard factory work was, go to college, get my degree and not work in a factory.” Although he heeded his father’s advice, the plan didn’t go quite like his dad anticipated.

McClaren spent the summer of 2001 sweeping the factory floor. In the fall, he began studying mechanical engineering at Arkansas Tech, returning to work for Bekaert each winter and summer break.

Bekaert Celebrates 140 Years Manufacturing Fencing Products

In 2006, Bekaert offered him a full time position as a Project Engineer. 

“Bekaert was all I knew. I grew up watching my dad play in Bekaert's company basketball games,” McClaren explains. “Working here is like working with one, big extended family.”

Keith Taylor feels the same way. “When you work here, you know your role is important and you feel wanted – like a family.” Like McClaren, the Technical Support Manager began his nearly 30-year career with Bekaert on the factory floor. He worked his way up, gaining hands-on experience in nearly every aspect of the manufacturing process.

Today, Taylor shares a wealth of knowledge with farmers, ranchers and fencing contractors, hosting fencing field days and hands-on demonstrations across the U.S.

“I appreciate the opportunity I have to grow our business because Bekaert employs so many people I care about,” Taylor says. “I get to work with the best people. The farmers and ranchers I work with from across the U.S. are just like my neighbors. I wouldn’t sell them something that I wouldn’t be willing to buy.”

Taylor means what he says. His grandpa William put up a Bekaert barbed wire fence on their family farm 35 years ago. “It’s still standing. And there’s not a spot of rust on it.”

Giving Back to the Community
Manufacturing fence since the 1880s, Bekaert invests in many of the communities where its products are sold. Bekaert teaches 4-H and FFA members throughout the U.S. how to build fence and supports their programming on the state and national level. In Van Buren and Moultrie, Georgia, the Bekaert team helped construct playgrounds for youth.

The company encourages employees to be engaged in their community.

quotes Image “Manufacturing fencing for 140 years means we know a lot about fencing. But it also means we feel a strong commitment to those who use our products to protect their livelihoods on farms and ranches across this great nation,”

says Matt Schumann, Agriculture Segment Manager.

Giving back to the community where he grew up is yet another reason McClaren values his career with Bekaert. He coaches youth sports and serves on board for the Boys and Girls Club/ Van Buren Youth Center. “Growing up, I spent a lot of time at the Boys and Girls Club while my parents were at work. It means a lot that Bekaert supports me in my community involvement.”