This month we are pleased to feature Columbia Precast Products as part of our Meet a Precaster blog series. Answers were provided by Ron Sparks, general manager.
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 internal communication and web manager, Sara Geer.
1. Where are you located?
We are located in Washougal, Wash. We primarily service the Portland, Ore., metro market which encompasses the geographic area from Castle Rock, Wash., to Salem, Ore., along the Interstate 5 corridor.
2. How did your company get its start?
I started the company in 2013 as a major manufacturer for the Portland metro market. Initially, we produced manhole and catch basins. Three years later, we now produce more products such as vaults, box culverts and custom precast concrete.
3. What value does NPCA bring to your company and the industry?
NPCA provides value to our company in many ways including safety, education, technical and quality control support. It also has provided a network of fellow precasters and vendors that we can rely on.
4. How have the relationships you’ve developed through NPCA membership impacted your business?
Since I have been an active committee member for many years, multiple companies across the country have impacted my business. I am a past manhole committee member and chairman and a current sustainability committee member. The networking aspect of NPCA events are invaluable.
5. What are the top advantages of precast concrete products?
The top advantages of precast concrete products compared to pour-in-place products are quality, strength, flexibility in design and the ability to make custom products.
6. What is the most interesting or unique project you’ve worked on?
The Portland State University steam tunnels was a unique project for our company. We utilized custom structures and box culverts to create a tunnel system through a portion of the existing campus that was plumbed for steam lines.
7. What drives you and your employees to produce quality precast concrete products?
What drives our employees to produce quality precast concrete products is the pride in our work – the sense we are contributing to the quality of our infrastructure and that we are building something that will last.
8. Tell us about a time when you changed a spec to precast on a project and why that change was made.
We changed a pour-in-place detention system to a precast concrete panel vault system because the project timeline needed to be moved up by a month. Installation took the general contractor four days to complete with precast concrete rather than four weeks. The vault measured 30 feet wide by 70 feet long and included an internal baffle wall.
9. What makes precast concrete an even better product today than it has ever been in the past?
Quality control concerning raw materials and batching makes precast concrete significantly better than in the past. In addition, quality control programs have a positive impact. Our employees have opportunities to obtain industry knowledge through training and have a better understanding of how they can affect our products. Precast concrete products offer a diversity that continues to grow and expand into areas of construction that previously were not imagined.
10. How do you see the precast concrete industry – and your company in particular – evolving in the future?
The industry will continue to evolve technically as designs, materials and batching become more sophisticated. Our company will continue to evolve and strive as an industry leader in all aspects of our business. We consider ourselves to be good stewards as we look for all opportunities to employ sustainable practices in our manufacturing processes.
The opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the member, and not of NPCA or any of its employees.