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Twenty-eight years in the industry, and Randall McCown knows there’s a new one born every minute.
Foundation cracks, that is. The owner of the Oklahoma Power Lift foundation-repair franchise says Oklahoma’s record drought and summertime soaring temperatures have catapulted his business to record sales. And no matter whether you live in a sprawling mansion or a one-bedroom fixer-upper, the foundation in Oklahoma literally has been crumbling away.
McCown (pictured) calls the current demand for foundation repair like none he’s ever seen.
“It’s almost like a statewide disaster,” he says. “It’s not recognized because people don’t get hurt or there isn’t dramatic damage to people’s houses. The ground doesn’t care if a house is big or small, new or old. It’s affected every area statewide. In the metro, it’s overwhelming.”
Call-ins to McCown’s offices have been averaging around 50 a day for several months.
“Our backlog is further than it’s ever been to get them even looked at,” he says, noting that in October, his crews already were booked well into February.
McCown started Power Lift in the Oklahoma City market in 1986. Today, you see former state football coaches Barry Switzer and Pat Jones hawking the company’s “house divided” catchphrase.
Employing 70 people, he’s made a living fixing something that Sooners and Cowboys equally despise.
“This drought will produce work for years to come,” he says. “It’s one of the driest times on record, and by far the busiest.”
At the beginning of November, the National Weather Service listed the majority of Oklahoma in the extreme to exceptional drought category.
With only 18 inches of rain from January to November, Oklahoma Climatological Survey data showed the state was nearly 13 inches of rainfall below normal – the second-driest period on record since 1921.
As the largest independently owned foundation lift company in the state, Power Lift’s commercial work can be seen at the state Capitol, in Bricktown and at Mercy Hospital.
American Leveling owner Doug Denison says his company, which goes by the trade name of Ram Jack in the metro, is busy, as well.
Photo by Mark Hancock