Garrett Hoffman, an NPCA Foundation scholarship recipient, is embracing every moment of the journey while working full-time at Flemington Precast & Supply and attending school part time.
By Kirk Stelsel, CAE
Kids today just don’t want to work hard anymore. They’re afraid to get their hands dirty and show employers no loyalty. These types of statements are often said about the millennial generation. While it may be true that younger workers are different from generations that preceded them, these broad generalizations are false, and Garrett Hoffman is living proof.
Hoffman, 28, is the son of Jeff and Sue Hoffman, owners of NPCA member company Flemington Precast & Supply in Flemington, N.J. His grandfather purchased the company in 1976, and his parents took the reins in 1999. People joke that he’s been involved with the company his entire life, which is not too far from the truth.
Growing up, Hoffman worked odd jobs around the plant but never envisioned himself working for the business full-time. His sights were set on a career in music. Somewhere along the line he refocused his priorities and realized his passion was right in front of him all along at the family business.
He officially started working there in 2009 and has climbed in the company from the yard to production. He advanced to production manager and in the past few years to plant manager. He credits a lot of his success to his involvement with NPCA. He is a 2018 graduate of Precast University and continues to take classes online and at The Precast Show. Along the way, he has also developed meaningful relationships.
“NPCA has been nothing short of wonderful,” he said. “The whole organization, from staff to the courses – I have gotten so much out of the content and everyone is so friendly. The courses have really been paramount in helping me throughout my career here because when I was put into this early on, we had supervisors who didn’t teach us a whole lot of the, ‘Why we do things.’
“It was, ‘This is what we do. You do it this way.’ NPCA was really helpful in terms of the why we do things this way and it’s been a treasure trove of information. I don’t know if I’d be at the level I’m at professionally without NPCA.”
As he looks to the future, Hoffman is sure of two things. First, he wants to pursue an academic degree that eluded him earlier in life when he didn’t have the discipline or purpose needed to succeed. He is taking business management courses part time at Raritan Valley Community College while balancing his studies and his full-time job.
“In the past year, I made the decision to take a more managerial approach to the company – I’m playing the long game here,” he said. “Because of that, I decided that I wanted to formally go back to college.”
As a newlywed still in the early stages of his career, Hoffman reached out to the NPCA Foundation for assistance and was humbled when he was chosen for a scholarship. He said the money takes a lot of weight off his shoulders, but that the support from the Foundation goes much deeper.
“On a personal level, I can’t even put it into words,” he said. “I’m just so thankful that the Foundation chose me. I really don’t know how far along I’d be without NPCA, and I want to give back eventually however I can with my time, knowledge or however else.”
And, the second thing he is sure of is that the precast concrete industry has given him a career that has a bright future ahead.
“Finding new product markets and being able to meet customers’ needs on time and help others is what I love about this industry, and the future excites me,” he said. “We’re a smaller plant and there’s a lot of growth to be had not just at our plant but in the industry as a whole.
We’re focusing more now than ever on sustainability, and the industry is finding new ways to incorporate precast products into our everyday lives.”
While the naysayers would say Hoffman is an anomaly for his generation, he sees it differently.
“They say the younger generation has lost their will to work but there are a lot of good people out there,” he said. “At 28, I know to most I’m still an ultrasound, but there are a lot of good young employees in this industry that care about this and to me – it gives me hope. If there are good people out there giving it 150% every day, that keeps me going.”
Kirk Stelsel, CAE, is NPCA’s director of communication.