Grand Lake Docks Withstands Winds of Grand Lake
By Lady Shutterbug
Owner of Grand Lake Dock Bill Morgan grew up in Washburn, Missouri, following in his father’s footsteps as a construction worker. He grew up building home and additions when things started slowing down in the construction of homes about 20 years ago that he would go into the dock building business.
Bill was a little hesitant when a friend suggested the go into building docks. He had never built a dock before, but one thing he did know was how to read prints. “My friend, who was an intelligent little feller, and use to work for NAMI, (North American Marine, Inc.), out of Kimberling City, Missouri, said that with my knowledge of being able to read prints I would be able to build docks,” said Morgan. “he had built docks, so I figured he knew what he was talking about.”
Bill and his friend decided to call upon a couple of dock companies in the area and see if any contractors were needed. The first company Bill called on was Superior Docks. He explained to them that his partner had built docks for one of the biggest dock companies in all of Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. “Superior Docks had its own dock building crew, but sked, “when can you start?” said Bill. “I told them we were available to start right then. The ordered their frame from LATCO, who build frames and sell them to different companies. They were purchasing them as a kit.
“So we started putting up their boat docks. What it was taking their dock crews to do in a month, we were doing in four or five days, which made them money big time. Then we started having problems with the frames coming in and the holes not drilled properly. You would go to hook them up and you would have to re-drill the holes! So, we propositioned them and said, what about us building your frames? We build your frames; put them together and get the job done quicker. They liked the Idea and told us to give it a try. That was the best thing I ever did. I’ve been in the dock building business ever since.
“My friend and I eventually left that company and decided to form a partnership and go into business on our own. We build docks on Beaver Lake, I Arkansas, and Table Rock, in Missouri. We worked together for quite a while. He had twin boys. One worked with me and the other with him. However, Oklahoma kept calling to me. I finally wished them well and told them I was heading to Grand Lake. That was eight year ago. I knew there was a lot of work in Oklahoma, as there are more docks on Grand Lake than Beaver and Table Rock combined.”
Just by word of mouth Bill Morgan has stayed busy on Grand Lake build docks from Elk River all the way to Pensacola Dam. “There were also a lot of re-floats here,” said Morgan. “I’m proud to say the 99.9% of all my customers have been satisfied. I use the hot dip galvanized. That way you have no maintenance of them. All my docks have wind bracing, even single docks. Grand Lake is one of the highest wind areas there is. Beaver Lake and Table Rock never had the wind that I’ve seen on this lake, and I always put wind bracing on my docks on those lakes. One of the reasons you have problems with docks is that they will ben and sheer and stuff tears off. That’s because there is no bracing on them to hold things to keep them from moving. That’s the reason I put a wind bracing on all docks I build. My columns are six-feet apart and thing is hot galvanized. I lay the steel to them and build a heck of a stout dock. I don’t run down other companies. They make a good dock too, but I think I can build one better than anyone of the lake. I can say that because I put a lot of stuff in them. The material I put in them is good, heavy material that won’t rip out, tear, or blow away. You also don’t have to paint my docks every few years. You don’t have to touch them. I may not build the cheapest, but compare apple to apples of what I put in my docks and you will be getting a better deal than with some other companies. I have a good one year warranty that I stand behind 100%. I was raised country and you do what you say you are going to do.”
Morgan also builds ramps, or walkways, leading to the dock using galvanized square tubing. He recommends that wood be put on the walkways and docks using a sealer call Restores, which has grit in it. “it’s like a sandpaper grit that helps eliminate slipping,” said Bill. “It’s even good to use on your home decks.”
Bill loves Grand Lake. Besides having a successful dock building company, he loves to fish for Crappie and catfish. He also loves pheasant hunting and putting them on the grill for dinner. His wife Becky still lives in their home by Roaring River State Park in Missouri. She is a Maintenance Clerk at the Walmart warehouse in Arkansas, whom she has worked for for 29 years. “Shae has passed over numerous promotions as she loves what she does,” said Morgan. “I go home two days out of the month be with her and my grandchildren and she comes to Grand Lake every weekend. When it comes to grandkids they melt you. I told my kids that they better work their tails off, because anything I leave it’s going to my grandbabies.”
Bill Morgan does not limit himself to just dock building. He is still into construction of homes, buildings, storage sheds, anything that has to do with construction. He is also into selling golf carts! His shop is located at 453896 E. 305 Road, adjacent to Red Arrow Marina, in Cleora. He is on call 24/7, however he prefers working from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. He prefers not to be working on weekends, as he would rather be fishing, but he is on call if necessary. He can be reached at 479-633-1356, or 918-219-3994.
“I just want to make a good living here and put out one of the best docks on the water,” said Bill.