Asher interviewed by VoyageHouston

Asher Kazmann, our co-founder and president, was recently interviewed by VoyageHouston Magazine. See the full article here or read the excerpt below. Thanks again, VoyageHouston!

 

Asher, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
We began operations in January 2013 with a handful of people and an empty warehouse.

Most of our initial team had been working together for years with a previous company in the same industry. Our story is probably similar to many start up businesses in that we were not satisfied with the way large corporations do business and we felt as if we could create a better business with old school customer service, utilizing cutting concrete technology, and taking care of our employees the right way. We have been very fortunate to have a great customer base supporting us for the last 5 years driving our growth at rapid pace. We are currently building a new facility which will more than double our capacity by the end of 2017.

 

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I don’t think anybody who has started a business would consider it a smooth road. Early on, it was challenging for us to gain credibility in the market that we were even capable of dealing with the complexity and size of projects we were bidding. As we started gaining traction and bringing in more deals, cash flow became the most critical factor.

Our cash was being drained quickly because of our fast growth and also due to the high capital requirements being a manufacturing business in the construction industry. In the construction market, it is widely accepted for the owner of the project to not pay until 60 to 90 days past the time of completion of work. This delay in payment is passed down the chain from general contractor to sub-contractor and ultimately to the supplier.

The burden of “floating” the cash needed for manufacturing the product almost always rests on the shoulders of the manufacturer. About the time we got into a position of positive cash flow, we also started gaining a great reputation in the market for our ability to take on highly technical precast concrete projects and deliver on time. The latest challenge is increasing our capacity to maintain the level of service we have provided to our customers over the last few years. Building a state of the art facility will accomplish that and create a top notch environment for our employees to operate from.

 

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We provide solutions to contractors looking for more efficient and safer methods of construction. More specifically, we design and manufacture precast concrete structures for underground utilities along with miscellaneous metal fabrication services in conjunction with our precast products. In a broad sense, the “service” we provide to our customers sets us apart from the field. Whether it’s turning around a quote request, providing 3-D drawing models, or just how quickly we start fabricating a special product, nobody in the market comes close to us. In large part, we purposely have more resources on staff to handle these various functions and that allows us to provide the best turnaround times in the industry.

Our primary focus is taking care of the customer…they are the ones who truly keep us employed, our families fed, and allow us to come in to work every day. There are two areas of the business that have been the most gratifying for me personally…first, hearing our customers thank us for our efforts on their projects and second, knowing we are helping support dozens of families with a great place to work and show off their talents.

 

What were you like growing up?
I was fortunate to grow up in a great family, with 2 brothers, and great relatives all around. I was obsessed with sports playing baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, ping pong…anything I could to challenge myself athletically and compete against my older and younger brothers. I ended up picking baseball as my main sport and played through high school with mild success. My family taught me to be independent and self sufficient from a very early age and I even started my first real job at the age of 12 as a baseball umpire and soccer referee. I’ve never minded putting in the work and I’m not afraid to enjoy the benefits of hard work either.

I’ve always been an optimistic person and I also think we should enjoy ourselves and help those that have been less fortunate.

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