For our inaugural meet a precaster post, we are pleased to feature Jensen Precast. Answers were provided by Jensen Precast CEO and long-time NPCA member, Don Jensen.
Q: Where are you located?
A: Jensen Precast is based in Sparks, Nev. We have 11 locations throughout the Southwest and Hawaii.
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: I founded Jensen Precast in 1968. The company remains family owned and operated. In fact, all four of my children are heavily involved in the day-to-day operations.
Q: Why did you join NPCA and what are the best benefits?
A: I was introduced to NPCA by Frank Brooks. I believe he was the president of the organization at the time. He suggested I join and, given the lack of product knowledge and business skills I had at the time, I saw it as an absolute necessity that would allow me to continue to grow and improve in this field. The benefits have been many! There is no other organization that can provide the venue to learn the precast concrete business the way NPCA does. I was very motivated to learn as much as I possibly could about the industry. I worked hard to learn from vendors and peers in the NPCA. I found with diligent, focused effort, over a period of 43 years, a few things have managed to stick.
Q: Have you introduced any new products lately?
A: Yes. We have been forced to practically re-define our product lines. During the housing boom, we were primarily producing underground utility products and tanks used in the construction of homes, subdivisions and commercial properties. Today, our products are much more focused on public works type of projects, as well as highway and bridge construction, and custom “one off” products.
Q: What are the top attributes of precast concrete?
A: One of the key benefits of precast concrete is the ease and speed of installation. Another is value. Most precast products are complex structures with complex applications. Precast products typically can be reproduced multiple times with the same skillsets, thus minimizing labor, forming and engineering costs per unit. Precast also has a higher degree of quality control than typical with field-poured concrete. Add to that the fact that precast products are much more environmentally friendly. The use of precast products virtually eliminates job site contamination associated with concrete poured in the field. With government entities getting much more stringent with environmental regulations, more and more engineers and agencies are going to be requiring precast.
Q: What has your company done to fight off the recession?
A: As I mentioned earlier, we have redefined our product lines by shifting away from residential and commercial construction products to public works types of products, highway and bridge construction, and custom products. We have kept a very watchful eye on the industry and have been able to diversify rather quickly.
Q: What have you seen in your area as far as recovery?
A: Generally, we’ve seen a very slight uptick so far this year. But I think the recovery will be painfully slow, perhaps in the 5 – 10 year range, particularly in the Southwest that has been hit the hardest by the downturn of the housing industry.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: We’re going to stay flexible in our product thinking while looking for “value added” products and new market opportunities. What is working today may not exist in five years. We are also constantly seeking better ways to use technology to improve our products. And, of course, we will maintain our NPCA relationship. I’m a firm believer that the best sources for new and innovative ideas can be found at the NPCA!
Please 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 assistant director of communication, Kirk Stelsel.