As the story goes, young Henry C. “Peter” Beck III called his mother and father “Mr. and Mrs. Arch,” after the arches in their Dallas home, designed by the late Philip Johnson. In 1977, he joined the Dallas-based construction firm founded by his grandfather in 1912 and run by his father from 1948 to 1974. After a couple of years, he left to attend grad school at Stanford then rejoined the company in 1981.
Beck took the helm of the company in the early 1990s and helped pioneer the design-build strategy, a move that helped The Beck Group grow to become one of the most formidable companies of its kind in the nation. Beck handed off day-to-day operations to Fred Perpall in 2013 and segued into his current role, executive chairman. He currently serves on the Southwestern Medical Foundation Board, The Salvation Army’s DFW Metroplex Command Advisory Board, and the Design Futures Council board.
Education: Stanford Graduate School of Business (MBA), Princeton University (BSE)
First Job: “I leased space for the Trammell Crow Co. at Park Central and learned the importance of persistence and patience in accomplishing goals.”
Toughest Challenge: “Surviving several significant losses on building projects in the late 1980s when many developers could not fund them.”
Advice For an 18-Year Old Me: “When doing business with a customer, leave the last dollar on the table for them. It’s not about maximizing profits on any one deal, but rather the benefit of the relationship over many deals.”
Favorite Pet: “A black Lab named Coal.”
Favorite Movie: “All of Me, starring Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin”
Favorite Thing: “A book named Atlantic Game Fishing, formerly owned by Ernest Hemmingway. Hemmingway wrote the chapter on Marlin fishing, which his [second wife’s] Uncle Gus introduced him to. He gifted the book to the uncle and included several inscriptions.”
Greater Good: “Improving public education is one of the most critical issues we face, particularly around early childhood development. We cannot let entire generations of children suffer in poverty with limited aspirations and no opportunity to learn.”
Destinations of Choice: “Idaho, Africa, and East Texas”
Looking Ahead: “I’m most excited about the opportunity to integrate the various disciplines in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry.”
This Q&A is extended content from Dallas 500, a special edition produced by D CEO that profiles the region’s most influential business leaders. Visit Dallas500 for details.