Barry Faulkner was a 10-year college football assistant coach, and
he sold artificial turf for two years before he organized All-Pro
Athletic Surfaces Inc. of Oklahoma City in 1980.
To outsiders, Faulkner must have seemed like a gnat challenging
a couple of elephants. Monsanto of St. Louis, which makes Astro
Turf, and Super Turf of Dallas were the giants of the industry at
that time. However, Faulkner saw a niche in the market for small
jobs, such as sidelines and indoor surfaces.
"These were just too small for big companies to do efficiently
at a low price," said Faulkner. "With my low overhead - a one-man
office in Oklahoma City - I could install them for about $4 per
square foot. That was about the same as the usual price for a large
Now, All-Pro Athletic Surfaces of Oklahoma City is becoming one
of the giants, with more than $5 million in sales in 1985 and the
same projected for 1986. Based at 8213 Classen Blvd. with up to 175
employees at peak periods, the firm has installed more than 50 major
playing surfaces in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.
As a result, All-Pro is one of the best kept secrets in Oklahoma
business. It is better known to national and world athletic
directors than to the general public in Oklahoma.
Faulkner and John Linville, also a former coach, built All-Pro
to sales of about $3.1 million in 1983, when it was merged with
Crest-Nicholson PLC, a $100 million-a-year London firm which has
produced artificial playing surfaces for years through a subsidiary
That gave Faulkner and Linville the resources to go after
international markets and increase production.
"All-Pro has made a profit every year since we started," said
Faulkner, now president of All-Pro as a Crest-Nicholson subsidiary.
"We have installed All-Pro Turf football fields at the universities
of Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, plus Oregon State and Rutgers,
and we have a new generation surface being installed at Yale.
"We also have concentrated on the European market, and we have
completed 16 installations in Saudi Arabia."
Meanwhile, Super Turf has gone bankrupt, leaving All-Pro of
Oklahoma City to compete with Monsanto and foreign firms for
installing artifical turf on the playing surfaces of the world.
How did all this happen in just six years with few people
realizing it in Oklahoma?
Well, it's a combination of developments.
- First of all, as former coaches, Faulkner and Linville
understand the needs and frustrations of athletic directors and
coaches - the line they must walk between economics and player
safety. They speak the language of the tightly-knit athletic
fraternity, which often feels misunderstood.
- Faulkner developed a product that combined the best of the
giants six years ago - the surface of Super Turf and the underlying
pad of Monsanto. The product has been improved with a polypropylene
fiber tufted in a polyethylene pad, and it now carries a 10-year
Beyond that, the newest product, being installed at Yale, will
include a layer of porous asphalt under the pad for drainage.
- All-Pro's overhead has been kept low. The firm now
contracts with a Rome, Ga., firm called CAM for products using a
Polyloom Corp. polypropylene fiber for the surface and a
Dynamite/Noble polyethylene pad to All-Pro's specifications.
As a result, All-Pro operates with 10 full time office employees
and seven full time employees to supervise installations. Part-time
crews are added as needed for installations, including Oklahomans
who travel to the sites.
The firm has four sets of installation equipment at about
However, all that didn't just happen. The background of
Faulkner and Linville in football led to a search for a surface that
would meet the needs of athletic directors. …