(WRCB) -- A tragic accident at Astec, Inc. left a worker dead early Friday morning.  Company officials said Rick Beck, 61, was a dedicated employee for more than three decades.

Channel 3 spoke with Beck's family over the phone Friday evening.

They said they're still in shock.

His son, Justin Beck, also works with Astec. Justin said he learned about his father's death as he was heading into work that same day.

Chattanooga police said Beck was lowering a silo, when it hit him in the head around 5:30 Friday morning.

He died at the scene.

Astec President Ben Brock said the company is deeply saddened by the news.

He said in a statement, "Rick was a loyal, hard-working employee of the company with over 33 years of service who was well thought of by his peers and supervisor. Our Astec family lost a good man today. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

The Beck family told Channel 3 Rick was a devoted family man who loved the outdoors.

They also said he was hard working and willing to help anyone.

Rick was so dedicated to his job that he had a three hour total commute to his job from his home in Turtletown.

The news also shocked workers at nearby businesses.

"I was shocked because that's pretty fairly a safe place, I've heard. I know someone who worked there before. It was just a shock to me," said Jamichael Smith.

The exact cause of the accident is under investigation.

"We are in the process of investigating a cause of this accident internally, and we are also working cooperatively with TOSHA as they investigate the accident as well," Brock said in a statement.

While officials search for answers, Rick's loved ones will try to cope.

His family also told us he enjoyed spending time with family and friends. They say he was loved dearly and will be truly missed.

It could be a while before we find out the exact cause of the accident.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration can take up to six months to finish its report.


Astec, Inc. designs, manufactures and markets a complete line of continuous and batch-process hot-mix asphalt facilities, and soil remediation equipment, according to the company's web site.

Founded in 1972, Astec has grown into a large hot-mix asphalt company. Astec, Inc. holds approximately 53 U.S. and 20 foreign patents. Astec, Inc. occupies over 440,000 square feet of modern manufacturing and office space in Chattanooga.

The company dispatches its service personnel all over the globe to help set up facilities and train operators. Six technicians staff the call-in service department and offer technical assistance and troubleshooting for hot mix plants. Additionally, Astec, Inc. maintains a large replacement parts inventory for Astec and other brands and fills part orders quickly and efficiently.