This month we are pleased to feature Flemington Precast & Supply as part of our Meet a Precaster blog series. Answers were provided by Jeffrey Hoffman, owner of Flemington Precast & Supply.
Don’t forget to check out all of our 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 email to NPCA’s communication coordinator, Mason Nichols.
Q: How did your company get its start?
A: In 1976, George and Mary Hoffman – my parents – purchased Flemington Precast & Supply (formerly Flemington Burial Vault & Septic Tank Co.) from its previous owner. I worked for the company during high school and college and then full-time. I tell my staff that there isn’t anything here that I haven’t done, don’t do, or wouldn’t do, that I would ask them to do. My wife Sue and I bought the company from my parents in 1999. Since then, both of our sons, Garrett and Christopher, have worked with us either full or part-time.
Q: What value does NPCA bring to your company and to the industry?
A: We’ve been a member of NPCA since about 1984. NPCA brings value to our company in a variety of ways. One would be networking with other precasters and suppliers. There are folks that we have developed strong relationships with over these many years.
Secondly, the educational opportunities offered by NPCA have been very valuable to our company. The economy and business climate in which we operate has changed so many times over the past few decades. As a small company, the courses and seminars that my wife and I and some of our staffers have taken have helped us to weather the storms. We’ve expanded our company and its capabilities as a result of NPCA education.
The Precast Show has also been instrumental for our business. The trade show is always a great idea generator for me. Sometimes I’ll see something that I’ll squirrel away for years and then utilize at the right time.
Q: How have the relationships you’ve developed through NPCA membership impacted your business?
A: As a small company, it has been very helpful and satisfying to have the NPCA staff as a resource. Some of these folks I’ve known for decades, but they all feel like family who are here to help us better our businesses. The technical staff has been of huge assistance to us.
Q: What are the top advantages of utilizing precast concrete products?
A: We find that the top advantages of utilizing precast include durability and versatility. We can offer products that hold up for decades in difficult situations such as onsite wastewater treatment. We can offer solutions that are custom-formed to meet a customer’s specific needs. We can also offer cost-saving alternatives.
Q: What’s the most interesting or unique precast project you’ve worked on?
A: One of the most interesting projects we’ve done was producing specialty concrete blocks used as the shielding for radiation treatment rooms, X-ray rooms and other “atomic” types of treatment rooms. The company we were supplying came to us out of the blue. It was a product of which we weren’t even previously aware. They owned the forms and designs and did the engineering. We produced the blocks in a variety of sizes, shapes and configurations depending on the installation. This was an item where they were concerned with the density of the concrete rather than the compressive strength. We had to redesign our mix to accommodate their needs.
Q: What drives you and your employees to produce quality precast concrete products?
A: I think what drives us is the variety of products we can make and the differences in each that keep us on our toes. Additionally, being a small company, we’ve been able to survive through tough times by diversifying our products. Other companies around us have fallen into misfortune and yet we’ve been able to stay the course.
Q: Tell us about a time when you changed a spec to precast on a project and why the change was made.
A: Light-pole bases. We had a very difficult time convincing inspectors that precast was a superior product compared to the conventional cast-in-place bases. I made it a point to have a camera with me all the time to take pictures of some of the lower-quality material bases that were being made on site. We then took pictures of the process of making a precast unit. Finally, we showed them the high-quality finish and fit of the precast units and from then on, getting approved and then specified on jobs was much easier.
Q: What makes precast concrete an even better product today than it has ever been in the past?
A: Precast concrete products have come such a long way in the 38 years that I’ve been involved. We have improved methods and forming systems. We have better admixtures and additives such as fibers. Even the dreaded computer has helped us advance precast to the material of choice. It is constantly evolving and growing.
Q: How do you see the precast concrete industry – and your company in particular – evolving in the future?
A: I see the industry in a constant growth pattern. We as precasters need to sometimes take certain leaps of faith to get there. By that I mean that we need to be willing to try new things, new methods and new products. One of the things that has helped us to grow has been producing specialty or niche products that other companies aren’t manufacturing. This will continue to move us forward and position us for growth in the future.
The opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the member, and not of NPCA or any of its employees.