Ashley Smith, a lifelong precaster and president of Smith-Midland Corp. in Midland, Va., will take the helm of the National Precast Concrete Association for the next 12 months after the passing of the gavel at the NPCA 52nd Annual Convention on Oct. 14 in Atlanta. This year’s meeting was the third largest in NPCA’s history, topped only by the 2007 meeting on Maui, Hawaii, and the 50th Annual Convention in Minneapolis.
Smith succeeds Greg Stratis, president of Shea Concrete, headquartered in Amesbury, Mass. Smith started officially working at the family-owned company in 1978 and worked in every area of the plant. He attended his first NPCA Convention in 1980 and has been involved in leadership roles since 1987.
As president of Smith-Midland Corp., Smith instituted lean manufacturing principles, which focus on eliminating the seven types of deadly waste: transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, over-production, over-processing and defects. Smith targeted his remarks at the NPCA Convention on what he called the eighth deadly waste: “The waste of the undeveloped potential of employees.”
“I heard a story about a guy who’s packing up his toolbox on his last day of work after spending 30 years at the plant,” Smith said. “He’s been a loyal employee for three decades, never complained, always did what was asked of him. And, as he’s saying goodbye to his co-workers and pulling out of the parking lot for the last time, he’s thinking: ‘You know, I gave them my hands for 30 years. If they asked me, I would have given them my head and my heart too.’ I don’t want that to ever happen at our plant.”
Smith said he is a student of the Toyota Production System. “At Toyota, continuous improvement and attention to detail are driven by employees on the plant floor, and it shows in the end product,” Smith said. “I want our plant to be like that and I want the precast concrete industry to be like that, because it is vital to our future success.”
In other Convention activity, NPCA awarded the association’s highest honor, the Robert E. Yoakum Award, to Andy Wieser, president of Wieser Concrete Products Inc. in Maiden Rock, Wis. Wieser, the 2015-2016 chairman of the board, is a longtime member noted for his support for raising quality standards through the NPCA Plant Certification Program, and for mentoring other NPCA members throughout the country.
Leo Feuerstein, secretary/treasurer of Western Precast Concrete in El Paso, Texas, was presented with the Douglas G. Hoskin Award for membership development. Feuerstein’s sponsorship of new members and outreach to those members during their first year earned him his second Hoskin Award in four years.
The NPCA 53rd Annual Convention will convene Oct. 4-6, 2018, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, R.I.
NPCA Officers 2017-2018
Chairman of the Board
Lindsay Precast Inc.
Canal Fulton, Ohio
Champion Precast Inc.
NPCA Board of Directors
Norwalk Concrete Industries
Wieser Concrete Products Inc.
Robert E. Yoakum Award
Wieser Concrete Products Inc.
Maiden Rock, Wis.
Douglas G. Hoskin Award
Western Precast Concrete Inc.
El Paso, Texas