The younger generation of Merced's business men include none more energetic than B. J. Ukropina, one of the energetic and enter­prising proprietors of the United Concrete Pipe & Construction Com­pany, Inc., of Merced. Mr. Ukropina is forging his way to the front solely on his own merits, depending upon tenacity of purpose, ambi­tion and natural ability to connect him with the best citizenship of the county. He was born in Serbia, on October 8, 1895, a son of John and Anna Ukropina ; the father is still living in Serbia but the mother has passed away.


B. J. Ukropina was educated in the grade schools of his native land and at an early age went to work at farm labor. When a little over sixteen he left home, in 1912, for the better opportunities of the United States and came direct to California. He spent one year in Los Angeles, then worked two years for a cousin in Venice, who was a general contractor there. He then went to Fullerton and started in the concrete work and remained there until June, 1918, when he went to Ventura, and with Steve Kral, organized the United Con­crete Pipe Company, Inc. He had learned the art of manufacturing concrete pipe, and with his partner continued the business in Ventura with considerable success, until he came to Merced, in the course of the expansion of their business, and in September, 1920, with Tom P. Polich and Steve Kral, organized the Merced Concrete Pipe Com­pany. These partners continued steadily to develop their industry and in 1924 they combined with the United Concrete Pipe Com­pany, of Ventura, under the incorporated name of the United Concrete Pipe & Construction Company, which operates four plants, one in Merced, the others in Woodland, Santa Maria and Ventura, their main office being in the latter city. There is no contract wherein concrete is used that is too large for them to handle and they have carried out some of the largest jobs done in the State in their line. They employ from sixty to 300 men, as the size of the job necessitates, and are continually expanding as their business grows. Each man gives his whole attention to the work in hand and they are accounted among the most representative men of the State in their line of business.


The marriage of Mr. Ukropina, on February 25, 1922, united him with Miss Persida Angelich, and they have one son, John Robert. Mr. Ukropina is a member of the Knights of Pythias and belongs to the Chamber of Commerce of Merced.


 History of Merced County California With a Biographical Review OF The Leading Men and Woman of the County Who Have Been Identified with Its Growth and Development from Early Days to the Present

Author: John Outcalt (1925)

B. J. Ukropina, page 753

Contributed by: Carol Lackey