Concrete Products

FEB 2017

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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62 • February 2017 CHAIRMAN'S REPORT BY SARA GEER MAINTAINING A PERSONAL CONNECTION Greg Stratis enjoys seeing Shea Concrete expand and become a lead- ing precast producer in New England, but is cautious about the com- pany becoming too big— potentially losing its personal connection with customers and employees. "I want to make sure we're not so big that we don't know who we are or who anybody else is," he says. "I want customers to feel like I am someone that they can call and talk to. And I want to think that's something that customers still want." That personal connection is something he feels needs to be main- tained at NPCA as well. It's one of the main reasons he's remained involved with the association. The relationships and connections with other precast producers also attracted him to join the Board in 2011. "Once I attended meetings, that is what attracted me to NPCA," he observes. "I found myself sharing ideas and eventually more peo- ple asked me how to do things when it came to precast. I felt the more people asked for my opinion, the more I wanted to participate in com- mittees and on the Board." Prior to joining the NPCA Board of Directors, Stratis spent seven years as president of the Northeast Precast Concrete Association. He finds it fascinating to be involved in association leadership because he's able to hear how other producers complete processes or solve issues related to production, succession planning and marketing. NPCA also offers a Precast University, which Stratis at first attend- ed to motivate other employees to join. After a few employees gradu- ated and earned their Master Precaster designation, it placed pressure on him to do the same. He graduated in 2016 and now suggests all employees attend the Production and Quality School Level I course. "It was first a 'I'll go, if you go' kind of thing, but then I started slacking and had to keep up my side of the bargain," he quips. "But I'm glad I finished, and learned a lot along the way. It's a great pro- gram that NPCA has and our members need to remind their employees to make use of it." MARKETING PRECAST A top goal Stratis wants to focus on during his term as chairman is sharing ideas with NPCA members on how to market their precast products to customers and specifiers. Since marketing is a passion of his, he wants to find a way to make it important and affordable for others as well. "I've always said that what NPCA does is techni- cally marketing," he notes. "We need to constantly be in the face of specifiers and engineers. Keep reminding them NPCA is out there and precast is a great option." Finding a balance between budget and how to attack outreach and marketing is the key for both membership and association success, he adds. With everyone going online to research companies, products and processes, a marketing approach should live there as well. "Since no one has an unlimited budget to spend on marketing, we have to use it wisely," Stratis contends. "I think NPCA has done great reaching out to as many specifiers as possible with the webinars offered in 2016. That's a relatively low-cost approach to reach that amount of people. We have to continue to develop those ideas and encourage membership to listen and interact." MORE THAN JUST MAKING PRECAST It wasn't an easy road for Stratis to get to his current position at Shea Concrete, but his hands-on approach and willingness to learn shows his true character as a leader. In addition, his shift from diversifying to perfecting makes him the best person to take Shea Concrete and NPCA to the next level. But more than anything else, Stratis wants to leave membership with one specific message: "It takes more than making precast products today to be successful." After seeing four precast manufacturers in New England within the last year close their doors or be bought out for not embracing marketing, he doesn't want it to happen to an NPCA member. "I think it's important we figure out the best way to let membership know that marketing in this day and age is very important," Stratis concludes. "Otherwise, you may as well lock the door and throw away the key. There is more to it than making precast, it's about making precast better." Sara Geer is National Precast Concrete Association Internal Communi- cation and Web Manager, and Precast Inc. Managing Editor. A Shea vault houses the turf-heating control system at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass., home to the New England Patriots. Despite the tight schedule, Shea Concrete was able to deliver and install the precast structures for Endicott College on time. PHOTO: Stephen Chmieleski

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