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Meet a Precaster-Wilbert Precast

Oct 6, 2011
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This month we are pleased to feature Wilbert Precast, Inc. as part of our Meet a Precaster blog series. The following answers have been provided by Dan Houk, President and CEO and current NPCA Chairman.

Wilbert Precast logo

Q: Where are you located?
A: Our headquarters is in Spokane, Wash. We also have branch plants in Yakima Wash. and Lewiston, Idaho.

Q: How long have you been in business?
Precast concrete paversA: My great grandfather started building precast products in Spokane in 1906. I am the fourth generation to run this family business.

Q: How long have you been a member of NPCA?
A: We became members in 1977.

Q: Why did you join NPCA and what are the best benefits?
A: We needed to diversify and felt that joining NPCA would help us to make the right decisions when buying forms, trucks and other equipment. Obtaining the best forms and equipment with the latest technology and efficiencies certainly ranks at the top. What makes it best for our customers is good for everybody.

Q: What products do you produce?
A: It is probably quickest to describe the things we don’t make. Since 1977, we have been on a tear to diversify. We have added products continually ever since. The main product categories we now make are wastewater,Precast concrete MSE wall for bridge stormwater, utility, stairs, Wilbert burial vaults, Redi-Rock retaining wall blocks, raised garden planters, window wells, MSE walls (mostly RECo), some light pre-stressing, wall panels, light pole bases, forest service toilets, utility buildings and a multitude of custom products.

Q: Have you introduced any new products lately?
A: Forest service toilets, utility buildings, raised garden planters and the stair systems are the ones we have introduced in the last 12 months.

Q: What are the top attributes of precast concrete?
A: It is moldable in any shape. The use of SCC and rubber form liners makes spectacularly beautiful products. In addition, superior quality control systems, less on-site time, and faster production time to meet strict construction timetables.

Q: What has your company done to fight off the recession?
precast concreteA: We have diversified in three new areas, reduced our office staff somewhat and really have not purchased much in the way of new equipment. We will be there when it is all over, it is just not very much fun right now.

Q: What have you see in your area as far as recovery?
A: Not much yet. I’m afraid there will not be much next year either. We need confidence in Washington D.C. That will not happen until the next election cycle and I just hope it turns out well. There is some government spending, but that is not what sustains an economy in the long run.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: We plan to market ourselves to architects, theprecast concrete wall pieces engineering community and general contractors in our region to increase the products we can precast that are currently being poured in place. Another location within 200 miles may be a long-range goal, but for the short term increasing our current product line sales will have to be the objective.

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 email to NPCA’s assistant director of communication, Kirk Stelsel.

Tradition Meets Technology

This year MBK Maschinenbau GmbH, based in Kisslegg, Germany, celebrates its 50th anniversary.

In 1961 Georg Pfender started a little machine shop in which, a few years later, he designed and built his first cage machine for a local concrete pipe producer. From there, MBK’s success story took off and the original design for straight cages was quickly updated to bell cages.

MBK, precast inc.For the second generation, Albert Pfender, a mechanical engineer, succeeded his father in 1985 and invested his time and energy in consistent growth of the company. He continuously updated the machines to available technology and optimized the service quality. Meanwhile, more than 800 MBK cage machines had been installed worldwide, and an international service team with 15 technicians had been established. In Kisslegg, 80 employees and about 40 representative offices worldwide handle customer inquiries and interests.

In early 2009, MBK founded a daughter company in the United States, where three service technicians, a parts manager and an administrator handle the North American market. Networking and partnerships put MBK Sales & Service Inc. in a strong position to face the challenges of the reviving U.S. and Canadian markets. Read More »

Wall Panels

Limited only by your imagination.

Aesthetics, cost and speed of installation – pick any two. That’s the choice owners and architects usually face when considering building materials for their construction projects. Precast concrete wall panels, however, make all of these available by offering design flexibility, time savings and improved profitability.

Nearly everywhere you look, new office buildings, hospitals, schools, parking garages, shopping centers and apartments are taking shape as cities continue to expand. These and other structures look fantastic clad in precast concrete wall panels, which offer a limitless variety of shapes, styles and colors. Read More »

It Ain’t the Price – It’s The Cost

May 24, 2010
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Would you pay a higher initial price for something if it brought a lower overall cost?

By Robert Menard

Robert Menard is a speaker, author, purchasing and sales construction expert, and friend to the precast business.

Precast concrete manufacturers historically have had a tougher time selling their products compared with manufacturers of competing materials because of precast’s higher initial cost – but all that is beginning to change. In fact, precast concrete has gained market share in the growth sectors of buildings and transportation, because the marketing and selling strategy has moved off price fixation and onto the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

The message is that price should not be the determining factor, and savvy precasters are having success in marketing their products as a lower total cost. Read More »