This month we are pleased to feature J&R Slaw Inc. as part of our Meet a Precaster blog series. The following answers have been provided by Bob Slaw.
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 assistant director of communication, Kirk Stelsel.
Q: Where are you located?
A: Lehighton, PA. In the heart of the lovely Pocono Mountains.
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: 33 years and going strong.
Q: How long have you been a member of NPCA?
A: Approximately 5 years.
Q: Why did you join NPCA and what are the best benefits?
A: As our client base grew, encompassing many of the DOTs in the Mid-Atlantic region, self certification for quality measures required having NPCA certified staff. One of the many reasons why we decided to join NPCA was the online Quality School. Nearly all of our QC technicians and batch plant employees are graduates of this schooling. More importantly, we continue to focus our efforts on quality control to provide our customers with better products.
Q: What products do you produce?
A: We produce all types of products, ranging from your run-of-the-mill precast sound wall to intricate, prestressed architectural products. We like to think of ourselves as a “niche-precaster” in the fact that we can produce complex pieces, maintain a fast-track construction schedule and keep our customer’s needs at the forefront.
Q: Have you introduced any new products lately?
A: We are currently in the process of becoming DOT approved for our new product “RETT-Wall.” This is a modular retaining wall system that can be used on projects where timeliness and flow of erection are of the essence. This product will be available in different architectural features or typical plain concrete. We are also finishing the approval process of becoming DOT approved for “Next Beam.” Although this product has not been widely adopted among the DOTs in our region, Slaw intends to become a premier producer of this product.
On the horizon is becoming a producer of precast/prestress pavement. This product is widely used in the Western states and we see it infiltrating more and more into our region.
Q: What are the top attributes to precast concrete?
A: There are many attributes to precast concrete. We believe it varies with the product, however the top attributes are custom products and timeliness of production. In addition, the endless possibilities that can be done with precast is a tremendous feature.
Q: What has your company do to fight off the recession?
A: Slaw has done many things to survive the recession. Foremost, we have gotten more quality driven. With projects being won or lost solely on the bottom line, we have not let this affect what we truly believe is most important to our client, a quality product. Even in tough economic times, Slaw has invested in schooling to have more of our quality control personnel become NPCA quality certified. Our sales staff has also gotten back to a basic fundamental of sales, “know you customer.” We are investing more time to create solid customer relations and adapt with the ever-changing market. Also, we are broadening our product line, as noted above, in an effort to expand our market base.
Q: What have you seen in your area as far as recovery?
A: We have been seeing a lot of transportation and bridge work breaking loose. Also, the private market is slightly on the rebound. We have been going after a few parking decks in our area as well as some custom buildings.
Q: What are you plans for the future?
A: Simple: Get better at what we do. Although our product speaks for itself, we believe that we can always get better. Whether it be investing in our employees, taking more time to look at the minutia of our product or sharpening our pencils on bids, Slaw maintains that this is our backbone and will lead our way into profitable years to come.
The opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the member, and not of NPCA or any of its employees.
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