Small-Town Native Takes Marine Lessons to Process Mechanical Jobs
Cortez Technical Superintendent Traves Lyons says he finds the same esprit de corps as a Haskell team member that he experienced during eight years in the Marine Corps.

June 13, 2024

Small-Town Native Takes Marine Lessons to Process Mechanical Jobs

Learn how Cortez Technical Superintendent Traves Lyons has found his place and his career leading teams on complex specialty piping projects.

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Traves Lyons still lives in his hometown, Red Oak, Oklahoma (pop. 573), where he was a star pitcher and centerfielder on the high school baseball team and where he’s now raising two sons with his high school sweetheart, Sherrie.

“We didn’t have much money, but we had everything we needed,” Lyons said. “I worked on my grandfather’s cattle ranch and our garden, fished and hunted.” He and his pal, Keith Hovey, cut and sold firewood, hauled hay, and other odd jobs to make some cash.

Lyons batted .374 his senior year and had the chance to play college ball, but he chose to enlist in the U.S. Marines instead.

“I chose the Marines for the adventure and the unknown,” he said. “I was trying to find who I was in this world.”

He served for eight years, including a year in Japan. He played baseball for the Marines, and his team went to the Military World Series.

After the Marines, Lyons attended Tulsa Welding School and became a master welder. He worked as a pipeline welder for Colorado Interstate Gas and on some construction jobs.

Around 2001, he was talking with his old friend Hovey, who had gone to work for Cortez, Inc., a family-owned process mechanical contractor based in Ocoee, Florida. They were looking for help, so Lyons signed on. Cortez gave Lyons opportunities to grow professionally. He rose to Foreman, then General Foreman, then to his current position as Technical Superintendent.

Lyons and Hovey, now both superintendents, worked together on more than one occasion. “Keith was my fitter, and I was his welder,” Lyons said. “He’s one of my best friends. If he needs help, I’ll be there, and he’s the same with me.”

In 2022, Haskell acquired Cortez. With nearly 100 years of experience in fabrication, installation and maintenance, serving primarily the food and beverage industries, Cortez worked in many of Haskell's markets, often as its subcontractor. It was a perfect addition to Haskell’s in-house capabilities as a leading integrated builder and engineer, procure, construct (EPC) contractor.

The perfect fit was mutual, Lyons said.

“Now that I’m part of Haskell, it’s not just a job. It’s a career,” he said. “Haskell has so many opportunities. You see the greener side.”

Lyons said he applies the lessons he learned in the Marine Corps on the job.

“When someone falls, the next person steps up to take the position,” he said. “In construction, I want the guy behind me or below me to know my job. If I get hurt or have to leave, the job goes on. I try to keep everyone informed, from the lowest to the highest. The better informed your people are the better prepared they are. Plan your work and work your plan and take it to heart.

“Today’s construction projects are fast-paced. Everything needs to be done yesterday. It’s all about your budget and manhours. We do a lot of specialty pipe work. It’s going to be there when you’re gone. Someone will come behind you, see it, and think it’s awesome.”

Lyons enjoys spending his free time with his family – Sherrie, Trever, a rising college sophomore who was a 2023 recipient of the Haskell Scholarship Award, and Trendyn, who’ll be a seventh-grader.

“I still love to fish. I like saltwater when I can. At home, it’s freshwater. We have a lot of lakes with largemouth bass and catfish. If we catch enough, we’ll have a fish fry.”

Lyons said Haskell feels like family, too. “If it’s someone’s birthday, we always have cake or cookies. We’ve got to have that camaraderie, like esprit de corps in the Marine Corps. Always semper fi.”
 

Haskell is hiring! Explore the many options available to join a growing, Field-Focused company committed to offering the BEST job of your life.
 

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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