Gary Beckner Celebrates 41 Years with PCS Structural Solutions

Gary Beckner Celebrates 41 Years with PCS Structural Solutions

By Erin Fahlsing
 
At 7:30am on July 5, 1977, Gary Beckner walked in to his first day of work with Chalker Engineers.  Now, three company name changes, four office moves, five promotions and 41 years to the day later, he will finish his last workday with PCS Structural Solutions this afternoon.
“Gary is the office expert on the projects no one else knows how to approach,” says Senior Principal Jim Collins, who has worked with Beckner for over 40 years. “If you have something that is difficult to define, Gary will take it on and always find a way to make it work.”
But Beckner wasn’t always the office expert; in fact, the former C+ student was originally unsure of what he wanted to do after graduation. It wasn’t until his high school geometry teacher got him interested in science and understanding 3D objects that he became motivated to pursue a career in engineering.
“Plus, my mom told me to make something of myself,” Beckner recalls.
And make something of himself he certainly did. Shortly before graduating from the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, the small-town Oregon native was hired with Chalker Engineers by founder Ray Chalker (an Oregon State alumnus himself). With little to his name but a working vehicle and a trunk-full of determination, Beckner moved to Washington to begin a brand-new life.
“I started a week after moving up here and they put me right to work. They were amazed by how much I already knew and immediately put me on some of the hard stuff,” says Beckner.
Beckner has since made a career of making the difficult projects look easy. He is the Associate to whom young engineers turn for advice and creative problem solving, and he is known for his ability to design the not-so-mainstream structural systems.
“You have to walk into every project with an open mind,” he says.
That open-mindedness and desire to grow is also what made him successful with PCS for 41 years.
“(Staying with PCS) worked out very well. I learned from one person to the next and one job to the next,” says Beckner. “You just keep learning new things and getting better and better.”
Even in retirement, Beckner will keep getting better. He is looking forward to having the flexibility to work on new projects around the house and go on regional trips with his wife of 33 years, Karilyn, and his three sons Aaron (29), Kevin (27) and Loren (25). He may even begin building a new home as a general contractor, but he hasn’t made any concrete decisions about what he plans to do after he clocks out for the last time at 5 pm today.
“I’m trying to figure that out,” he says. “The way I look at it, I’ve always had the ability to figure things out and accomplish something, so I’ll just do that in a different way now.”