Bickford retires after 29 years of service

CONWAY — Conway Corp Utility Worker Mark Bickford recently retired after working more than 29 years at Conway Corp. 

Bickford joined the company as a utility worker in the water department in April 1994. In this role, he installed, maintained, and repaired water and sewer lines, performing other tasks related to the operation and maintenance of equipment. He was also responsible for the movement of materials and supplies used by the department.

Utility Worker Apprentice Caden Owen recalls his time with Bickford. “When I started with him, Bic told me, ‘Son, we have two speeds here at Conway Corp, and that is slow and stop,’ Owen said. “His favorite thing to tell me is, ‘I have forgotten more than you’ll ever know.’”

Bickford was known for not wanting to bother with a cell phone or technology but was serious about the safety of his co-workers and was always willing to help. 

“The first time I met Mark was on a job on Prince Street installing a corporation stop on a new main his crew was [working on],” Conway Corp Water Systems Manager Lee Tedford said. “I was new in engineering and was wanting to learn all the aspects of what the job entailed. He took the time to teach me the steps to complete the task. On numerous occasions, I have seen him take the time to teach the new employees the correct and safe way so that each one could go home at the end of the day. I hope Mark enjoys retirement to the fullest and gets to hunt ducks all 60 days of the season.”

Bickford said the co-workers that he worked alongside day in and out were one of the reasons he stayed at Conway Corp so long. “Working with such a great group of guys makes it hard for me to leave,” Bickford said. “Everyone has shown me kindness. We’re like a family, and I will miss everyone.”

Though he has his worries about creating a new routine, he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Angela, and being a “Paw Paw” to his 19-month-old granddaughter, Stella. 

“The hardest part is learning how to sleep in. I tried to sleep in last Saturday and woke up about 4:15 a.m.”

Bickford had some final words of advice: “When you come to work, come prepared. Be willing to learn and ask questions.”