Tindall Corporation’s Joe Sikes is applying knowledge he gained in NPCA’s Master Precaster program and teaching critical skills to the company’s employees.
By Kirk Stelsel
Those who hold the Master Precaster designation place a great deal of value in the distinction. It’s the culmination of years of classes and testing that are both challenging and insightful. The goal of the program is to pass along the knowledge of those who have spent their lives working in and improving the precast industry to create a better future.
That fact is not lost on Joe Sikes, production supervisor for Tindall Corporation. Sikes earned his gold hardhat, symbolizing his Master Precaster designation, at The Precast Show 2016 in Nashville, Tenn.
“I wanted to expand my knowledge of the precast industry to include all aspects of the process,” he said. “I am a firm believer in teaching shop-level employees as much as possible. So the more I know about the process as a whole, the better I can explain and teach those employees.”
Like many of his fellow graduates and those currently in the program, the process introduced Sikes to a knowledgeable cast of instructors as well as peers he can now rely on when he has questions or issues. He said it’s important to get others’ perspectives on how they deal with similar issues to help think outside the norm. It also challenged him and elicited realizations he didn’t expect going into the process.
“The technical class is by far the hardest,” he said. “It helped me realize that in order to be successful, sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone – even if it’s to do something you really don’t like to do. The technical class also helped me gain a better understanding of the engineering side of the industry and what it takes to design different structures.”
While challenging in a different and more thought-provoking way, Sikes also appreciated the leadership course and the way his instructor, Greg Chase, presented the material. In fact, he says he “can’t say enough good things” about Chase and the class. It became his favorite for how it will impact his career well into the future and he says he will always remember the lessons.
Going forward, Sikes will carry a number of lessons with him, the most important being what he learned about himself through taking the courses.
“The hard work you have to put in to accomplish a goal comes in many different forms,” he said. “During the technical course, I was challenged several times and had to work hard to get through it. The leadership class made me take a step back and evaluate the way I interact and communicate with my employees, my peers and my supervisor.
“I adjusted the way I interview potential employees and incorporated a lot of the things Greg covered in his class.”
Sikes says his role at Tindall has expanded since he completed the coursework and he has assumed a much more active role as a teacher. He now focuses on educating Utilities Division employees about what goes into making the products and how to identify and fix potential problems before, during and after the pour. These are essential skills that elevate an employee from simply a person doing a task to a valuable company asset who thinks critically and reacts accordingly.
Asked if he’d recommend the program to others, Sikes didn’t mince words.
“If you plan on having a career in the precast industry it is a must,” he said. “The knowledge you gain is invaluable. Keep in mind that NPCA has a great support staff and instructors. They want everyone to succeed and will go out of the way to give you additional help.”
Kirk Stelsel is NPCA’s director of communication and marketing.