By Joe Frollo
Precast concrete is built to last. It is enduring and sustainable.
The world, though, is ever-evolving. As technology advances, so too must the ways that the National Precast Concrete Association and its members examine the market and seek opportunities.
To adapt to this changing landscape, NPCA’s Board of Directors recently revised the association’s strategic plan and the vision for how the industry moves forward.
At its core, NPCA’s mission remains the same: To provide industry leadership by promoting quality concrete across all markets, addressing industry challenges and developing opportunities for member success.
NPCA will remain the trusted resource and voice for the precast concrete industry and continue to provide stewardship, service, integrity, advancement and education.
How all that happens, though, is defined through an updated strategic plan.
NPCA Board of Directors in 2021 unveiled a vision for the future that includes an emphasis on both external and internal marketing along with an increased emphasis on workforce development.
The NPCA staff is working to deliver on that plan.
Precast concrete is a critical element within the construction industry, especially pertaining to infrastructure. It is important that the public knows this.
NPCA will highlight precast products, member facilities and the employees who work there, crafting messages that focus on the technical expertise required to produce highly engineered products.
Resilience, sustainability, durability and diversity will become synonymous with the precast concrete products that can get to market quicker and superior alternative materials.
“We will communicate in one voice across the industry about what makes precast concrete the No. 1 choice for specifiers and why it is the natural decision when building to last,” NPCA Chairman Mark Wieser said.
These messages will reach stakeholders and the public at large through both NPCA-led initiatives and grassroot member campaigns, maximizing social media and other avenues for communication.
“Through data, case studies, white papers and shared experience, we will share how precast concrete is used, why it is chosen for each project and where it stands as a testament to lasting construction,” Wieser said.
NPCA will accomplish its external marketing plan by bolstering internal marketing and data collection.
By studying both trends and analyzing hard numbers, NPCA will cull the most useful information and use it to educate both staff and members about what is relevant.
“In part, this will be accomplished by expanding our marketing staff, including the hiring of a new vice president of marketing and communications,” NPCA President Fred Grubbe said. “Marketing and communications will then work hand in hand to determine the best models to first gather the information then deliver it in the most useful way, establishing NPCA as the go-to provider for data and business practices within the precast concrete industry.”
Finally, NPCA will help members find and secure skilled workers who have the skills to contribute to the industry and find longterm careers in precast.
In the next few months, NPCA will begin offering its Onboarding Program video series that facilities can use to both educate new workers and help veteran employees who may be changing positions on the tasks they will be expected to perform. The series includes instruction ranging from basic precast concrete facts to quality and safety to role-based education.
“NPCA’s Onboarding Program is an excellent way for members to bring workers up to speed quickly so they can do their jobs better,” said Ron Sparks, NPCA chairman in 2020-21 who led the effort to develop the new strategic plan. “Now, we are going to take those same ideas and share them with people and institutions that can embed those skills before workers even get to our facilities.”
NPCA currently partners with five universities across the United States in offering precast concrete-specific curriculum to engineering students. Similar programs also can be developed for community college students and even high school students engaged with a vocational school.
“As two-year colleges become an increasingly popular option for students who don’t want to take on the debt burden of a four-year degree, this opens myriad opportunities for NPCA to meet the future workforce where it is,” Sparks said.
Joe Frollo is the NPCA director of communications and public affairs.