This month we are pleased to feature Dalmaray Precast in our second Meet a Precaster blog post. The following answers have been provided by Robert J. Ausen and Aaron J. Ausen of Dalmaray.
Q: Where are you located?
A: We are based in Janesville, Wisconsin
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: We have been in business for 54 years now with three generations of family working under one roof.
Q: How long have you been a member of NPCA?
A: We have been a member of NPCA since 1973.
Q: Why did you join NPCA and what are the best benefits?
A: Initially, we joined for the representation and to be a part of something much larger than an individual company. We think being a member of NPCA now is more beneficial than any other organization we belong to. To start, the training and education we receive from NPCA classes and demonstrations are by far the most educational of all courses we’ve ever taken. The networking opportunities you get with other precasters not only at the Precast Show and Annual Convention, but over the phone and email is so helpful when you need help. The resources we have easy access to are so helpful when trying to explain to specifiers why precast is the best option for any particular job. The Plant Certification and Safety Programs that are in place are immeasurable in making plants the most efficient and safest plants to have. Lastly, we think the representation we get by the staff at the NPCA is very comforting when large problems arise. It’s nice to know we have such a large organization with wonderful staff that will do anything for us.
Q: What products do you produce?
A: When we started in 1957, we produced mainly steps. Since that time we have really had a large paradigm shift in septic tanks being our largest product. We currently produce tanks from 600 gallons to 10.000 gallons and all the accessories to go along with it. Our next largest product is our T and L panel walls for bunker and commodity storage. Since the decline of the residential market, this product has really kept us afloat. Recently we invested in the Recon Retaining Wall System and have had marvelous luck with selling retaining walls in commercial, industrial, and residential markets. Other products we make are utility pads and vaults, window wells, manholes, custom structures, and we still do steps. We really pride ourselves being able to pour things that most people shy away from.
Q: Have you introduced any new products lately?
A: Our newest products are the Recon Retaining Walls, Window Wells, and most recently the Porta-Post system. We will be launching this precast, free-standing fence post this spring. As of now we haven’t even received the form and have orders to fill so the market looks real promising.
Q: What are the top attributes of precast concrete?
A: The things we tell people about precast are speed, control, and strength. Precast concrete products allow for faster turnaround times which may not be so attainable casting in place. Case in point, we were able to recently pour and deliver 12 custom electrical vaults with all different dimensions in a matter of two-and-a-half weeks, something that may not be able to be done if cast in place. This alludes to my next point, control. With precast we can control everything. We can control our mix, our reinforcing, our pouring and curing, and we can control the delivery. This allows for better control with little or no questions arising. You don’t have to deal with weather too much, or faulty reinforcing, or mistimed deliveries. Everything is controlled in one location. Lastly, strength. We tell people all the time, there is no substitute for good old-fashioned, high-strength concrete. A lot of times we reach strengths that are unattainable with cast-in-place concrete and we can reach those strengths faster than cast in place.
Q: What has your company done to fight off the recession?
A: We think the main thing we did was stick to our guns. We didn’t try to venture off into too many new areas and find new business. We took a good look at what we needed to do better and we improved. We also took a good look at what we do well and we perfected it. Main thing is we listened. We listened to all of our customers on what we could do better. Your customers know you better than you know yourself sometimes and if they are unhappy, chances are you going to be as well. I think for the most part the recession has taught us a lot about ourselves. We learned how much work we can physically do, and we learned how do it at the best of our ability.
The other thing we did was we kept our mind open. We learned how to use our products in different ways to create more jobs. This is where the custom work really came into play. We really did an excellent job in precasting products that weren’t necessarily supposed to be precast.
Q: What have you see in your area as far as recovery?
A: Recovery in the southern Wisconsin is slow. In our area, we are still feeling the aftershocks of General Motors leaving town two years ago. Unemployment is still high and the residential market is still down. That being said, for this year we see good things. We see us having a very profitable year with a lot of work to be done. We think it will take at least a few more years for the residential market to be back on top, but for now you have to take what you can get and we think there will be plenty of work to take.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: Our plans for the future are to keep growing and keep doing the best job possible. We really pride ourselves on things like when our customers tell us, “That is the nicest piece of concrete I have ever seen!” or “I have no need to get precast products from anywhere else!” Those comments keep you in a positive state of mind. We hope in the near future we will pursue our NPCA Plant Certification as we feel that is the next step in our growth. Lastly, we hope we just keep up our reputation as an honest, hard-working, family-run business who would stop at nothing to do the best possible work for our customers.
Please check out our past Meet a Precaster blog posts and if you’re an NPCA producer member and would like to be featured in a future Meet a Precaster post, please send an e-mail to NPCA communication manager, Kirk Stelsel.