Concrete Products

FEB 2018

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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www.concreteproducts.com February 2018 • 57 CHAIRMAN'S REPORT ASHLEY SMITH, NPCA DEFINITELY NOT TOUCHY FEELY Instead, Smith wants to find the right people, provide them with training and resources and empower them to make decisions. "Respect for everybody is huge here," he says, "[but] I don't want us to come across as touchy feely because we're not. We hold folks accountable. It's not a soft, squishy, easy kind of place to work. We have some pretty aggressive targets and expectations. But I think that's the kind of place where people want to work." One team member who is succeeding in that environment is Vaughn Gardner, a three-year employee who made a personal pledge to target one small improvement every day. It doesn't go unnoticed by the boss. "Vaughn is probably close to 180 days in a row of making an improvement," notes Smith. "As an owner or manager or leader of a company, the people I want to invest in are like Vaughn, who have that hunger. They want to get better. If somebody says, 'Ashley, how do you move up at Smith-Midland?' I'll say, 'Go talk to Vaughn. Look at him and follow his example. If you want to learn how to get more opportunities or promotions, that's how you do it.'" Precast concrete plants are not generally at the top of the list of "Best Places to Work" surveys. But that doesn't deter Smith, who observes, "Our goal is to be the best company in town—a company where everybody wants to come to work and nobody wants to leave. We're not where we want to be by any means but that's the goal and that's what we're working toward." When stopping by the Midland plant QC lab, Ashley Smith (left) is near certain to learn of an improvement Vaughn Gardner institutes that day.

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