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We were recently interviewed by Precast Inc Magazine.

It was a pleasure to be included in a recent issue of Precast Inc Magazine. During the process, it was nice to reflect on who we are as an organization and what led us here. We think they hit it on the head with this statement:

How innovation and old-school business practices have rocketed Locke Solutions from a start-up company to a successful precast concrete producer in Houston.

Since its inception, Locke has been focused on innovation and service. By considering design and technology as strategic advantages, we have streamlined our processes and furthered our ability to customize. We knew all along that innovation, paired with our dedication to our customers and the level of service we provide them, provided us with stable ground in which to grow the business.

We appreciate Precast Inc Magazine and hope you enjoy the read.

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We were recently interviewed by Concrete Products Magazine

Back in 2015, we got to know one another and talked about our customer-centric approach. This time around, Concrete Products talked about the growth of Houston and Locke as well as our all-new facility. We appreciate that they took the time to get to know us even more.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE BELOW or download the pdf.


A good indicator of the population growth and construction demand Texas has sustained much of this decade lies on a 17.5-acre Houston site, new home to an operator that leveraged customization to build a brand in a business where economy turns on product repeatability. A specialist in underground precast concrete for energy, utility and municipal markets, Locke Solutions chose the property to succeed a nearby, four-acre charter operation with 27,000-sq.-ft. plant enclosure. Relocation to a site with 40,000 sq. ft. of production under roof, 17,000 sq. ft. of office and break room space, and more than quadruple the acreage is no surprise. When Concrete Products visited upstart Locke Solutions in 2015, the writing was on the wall: Demand for stock and custom precast underground components and structures was beyond what the producer could handle from the site, where outdoor space equated to gate-free storage, coupled with the occasional fabrication and testing of larger products in public view. Through landscaping and building setback, the new plant very adequately buffers production and truck staging from neighbors in a subdivision opposite the entry. “We decided to move forward with the idea of a new facility at the beginning of 2016. The old plant was becoming crowded and we could foresee it constricting our ability to grow in the near future,” says Asher Kazmann, a Texas A&M University engineering graduate who founded Locke Solutions in 2013. “From 2017 to the present, revenue has increased more than 175 percent, while our backlog has risen sixfold over the same period. It won’t be long before we need to increase capacity by expanding our footprint at the new facility.


Locke Solutions maintains a catalog of smaller, stock structures or components across Communication, Drainage, Electrical, Industrial and Trench programs. “We have continued to grow by focusing on designs and alternative methods to cast-in-place construction to help reduce our clients’ costs,” Kazmann observes. “Most of our contracts are awarded to us because we have proven to be able to shorten the project schedule and mitigate part of the risk contractors deal with during cast-in-place concrete construction.” The producer has significantly upped capacity for innovative structures in all size classes, especially those 20 tons and up. The old site had lifting capability of 40 tons and a 21.5-ft. crane hook height. The new plant’s main production bay has a 50-ton bridge crane with 31.5-ft. hook height; a 10-ton model affording 42.5-ft. hook height serves a companion bay. “Compared to the original facility, we have more options in how we design precast structures in terms of both weight and maximum height,” Kazmann affirms. “On contracts requiring structures that exceed our lifting capacity, we set up a 40- x 100-ft. casting area.” The new facility has 5,000 square feet dedicated to metal fabrication, including miscellaneous steel embeds, mold fabrication, and maintenance work. Although Locke Solutions enlists a few key vendors to provide metal services—thereby allowing team members to focus primarily on concrete operations—the fabrication space assures flexibility to control lead times when needed.

synchro design build

An affiliated business, Syncho, designed and built Locke Solutions’ new headquarters and plant. Compared to the producer’s charter site a few miles east, the new operation is equipped to deliver increasingly larger and more engineered structures.


Locke Solutions launched six years ago as the Texas economy was outperforming the rest of the country. While building and utility infrastructure market tailwinds boosted sales prospects early on, the producer knew ultimate success hinged on making strong first impressions by timely delivery of precast concrete solutions. Creative engineering and production flexibility attributed to in-house mold fabrication capability jolted initial market development. “Several projects we have worked on through the years have started with a single structure or small scope of precast work,” Asher Kazmann explains. “Over the life of the project, orders have grown in scope and product variety as contractors or owners see the value in precast over cast-in-place concrete alternatives. Often times, we have converted up to five concrete elements as a schedule takes shape.” A 2015 electrical manhole and traffic barrier contract for a large industrial site set a template that has carried the company to its new home. Shortly into the precast delivery cycle, Kazmann recalls, “The customer asked if we could redesign large cast-in-place stormwater junction boxes and box culverts into precast. Next we were given an opportunity to redesign cast-in-place pipe sleeper foundations and meter valve enclosures.

Finally, we worked with the contractor to redesign a cast-in-place concrete sloping trench drain into a precast alternative system. All of this additional scope was derived from the contractor and owner recognizing they could shorten the project duration and reduce the manpower needed on the site. We have seen several projects with new clients play out in this same fashion over the years.” Upholding the precast concrete value propositions of delivery certainty, quality control, and reduced project schedule risks has netted Locke Solutions orders from major energy and petrochemical customers, a handful of them accounting for shipments of 2,000 tons or more.

Competencies in precast production and re-engineering cast-in-place concrete designs have also earned the producer consistent business with its largest accounts thus far: Houston Airport System and Port Houston, whose combined precast orders have eclipsed 20,000 tons. “The Texas and Houston markets have continued to maintain a steady pace the past few years,” Kazmann concludes. “From corporations planting their headquarters in the Houston area to the general growth in population, we have been fortunate to see continued growth and product demand. We still have a strong focus on the industrial and heavy commercial markets in the greater Houston area. The build out of infrastructure related to Port Houston has created an abundance of marine and warehousing work. We also continue to see activity stemming from petrochemical facilities due to lower energy costs related to natural gas production.”

While the design team handled the office and yard space, along with building specs, it deferred to Mixer Systems on the best approach to positioning the batch plant under roof, in close proximity to two production bays, and at a point easing transfer of aggregates loaded in outside bins. In the transition, Mixer Systems expanded equipment originally delivered in 2014 such that three 40-ton bins replaced two 30-ton bins, and the mixer stand was raised 15 feet so it could reach buckets from 50- or 10-ton overhead cranes. Cement storage was maintained in the move of the original 350- and 270-bbl silos. Locke Solutions has standardized self-consolidating mixes for production economy, along with finished structure quality and appearance.


Management strives for culture and vibe that make Locke Solutions an attractive place to work; well-appointed cafeteria and break rooms in the new location, along with a diverse workforce, attest as much. “Keeping a good culture in place is always a challenge, especially when you experience the growth in personnel that we have over the last couple of years,” Kazmann observes. “Our team members are easily our biggest differentiator in the industry and they are the ones who have helped us get to this point. We have seen the same challenges in hiring as the rest of the industry, and are fortunate to have brought in the majority of our people through internal employee referrals.” A motivated workforce that can assimilate new team members has Locke Solutions poised to continue building out its new home and advancing precast concrete methods in one of the country’s most fertile grounds for construction.

Locke Solutions built the office and plant with the aim of showing a) customers how precast concrete has climbed on the construction value chain; and b) employees that they have a safe, efficient place to work plus a comfortable spot for a breather.

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Our brand new headquarters has already received some accolades! Designed by Synchro, our design-build partners through concept and construction, the new Locke HQ has become a finalist for the 2018 Landmark Awards by the Houston Business Journal. Our facility was considered one of the top new industrial real estate projects in Houston.

Check out the finalists and stay tuned for the results!

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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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Check out our recent appearance within Construction In Focus magazine below or view it online.

A Personal Precast Business – Locke Solutions
-Written by Jen Hocken

Locke Solutions works predominantly in commercial and industrial projects, from mixed-use developments to mega petrochemical facilities.  The company provides solutions to engineers and contractors who are looking for more efficient and safer methods of construction. It designs and manufactures precast concrete structures primarily for underground utilities along with other metal fabrication services. The underground utilities for which Locke manufactures precast structures include power, communication, water-line, storm water, waste water, foundations, , and electrical.


Locke Solutions provides an alternate construction method for the contractor by designing and manufacturing concrete structures in its facility prior to installation in the field.  The contractor’s original task of setting up molds, fabricating reinforcing steel, coordinating field inspections, scheduling ready-mix concrete on-site, placing concrete, and ultimately, waiting for the concrete to reach design strengths is replaced with setting a cured precast concrete structure in place and immediately backfilling it.  Naturally, the precast method reduces safety risks and minimizes weather related delays on the project…not to mention the dramatically reduce manpower and the headaches associated with managing that manpower.

The company began in January 2013 with only a handful of people and an empty warehouse. Most of the team had been working together for years with another company in the construction industry and these employees all had a similar goal to create a business centered around its customers and employees.

“Honestly, this has been a group effort,” says Asher. “A lot of the employees that came to Locke took a big risk and left stable jobs to be a part of this startup business several years ago.  They take a lot of pride in the quality of their work and how they represent their company.  Our success is not a product of just a few people, it’s because of the overwhelming majority of employees treating this business like their own.”   

Locke Solutions consists of a sales team, an engineering and drafting department, a transportation department, accounting and human resources department, and a production team. All of its forty-nine employees, including the floor laborers, receive bonuses based on the company’s overall performance.  Respect and integrity are held to a high standard within the facility and help maintain a positive atmosphere and culture.  Everybody is working towards the same goal of making Locke’s customers’ lives easier.  We recognize that the customers are the ones who keep us employed and keep our families fed.” explains Asher. 

Locke Solutions currently uses a warehouse it leased when it was initially founded. It has added a couple bridge cranes, a concrete batch plant, and other various equipment expansions since then. The company is now in  its fifth year, and its customer-first approach has led to rapid pace of growth that requires expansion. It is currently building a new fifty-five-thousand-square-foot facility on a seventeen-and-half-acre piece of land on the south side of Houston that will give the company more than double production capacity and room to grow and expand in the future.  The new facility will feature an updated concrete batch plant provided by Mixer Systems, Inc. along with four new overhead bridge cranes provided by OMi Cranes ranging from 10 ton to 50 ton lifting capacities.  Locke retained Synchro Building Corporation for the design and construction of the property and tailored the facility to maximize efficiency for a precast and metal fabrication operation all while keeping the employee work experience as a priority. It expects to transition into the newly built property  around November 2017.   

Locke Solutions has designed and manufactured its own precast products for every possible aspect of the new facility including the stormwater catch basins, manholes, and inlets, the sanitary sewer manholes, the storm water quality filtration system through SunTree Technologies, sloping precast trench drains, precast tilt-wall panels, precast stair stringers utilizing RediStair’s patented design and manufacturing processes, hundreds of miscellaneous steel embed plates and angles, and even a 14’ wide precast utility tunnel under the facility that is big enough for a truck to drive through.  Throughout the construction process, Locke has also had a chance to call on many of its own vendor partners to supply products from EJ Co providing cast iron, Inwesco providing steel fabricated covers, and VHS Cement providing pozzoslag raw materials.  One final distinctive landmark of the new property, as visitors travel up the front driveway of the facility they will be greeted by a 35-foot-tall precast concrete wall panel displaying Locke’s recognizable logo mark, backlit from inside the office. 

There are many challenges that all construction companies deal with these days, but Locke Solutions tries not to focus on things that it cannot control. Whether the problem is the performance of the economy or what its competitors are doing, it remains concentrated on finding new, great people to add to the team as it expands. “Growth also creates new challenges in the way we handle our employees and what we are doing to make a positive impact on their lives,” Asher says.

The company tries to make a positive impact by ensuring that its employees have employment they can rely on with good insurance and retirement benefits. Typically, work at manufacturing companies is not the most stable and the hourly work can fluctuate from month to month, but Locke’s continued growth provides reliable work for its people. The company is also known to add friends and family of its employees to the team. Whenever it needs to hire more staff, the first thing it does is reach out to existing employees for recommendations and personal contacts, according to Asher. “So far, that is how we have grown. We have never had to go to an outside recruitment firm to expand our team. We’ve always relied on our current people to bring in new people. It’s helped us develop a tight and trustworth team of employees.”

One of the company’s core values is to develop its employees. It promotes people from within the company, and it encourages employees to pursue different positions within the company if they are interested. This makes the work more fulfilling for the employees, which enhances the quality of work that is delivered. The employees are all aware that there is room to grow in their careers along with the company.

Maintaining its level of customer service is another one of company’s priorities. “When we hire somebody on, one of the first things we talk about is customer service, and that’s the reason we’ve grown to where we are right now,” Asher explains. “It is not always the most profitable way to operate, but the customer-first approach creates long-term relationships and loyalty from its customers that are far more substantial.” Other core values of Locke Solutions are Integrity in how it operates and its quality.

Locke Solutions batches its own concrete in-house to uphold a higher level of quality with more consistency. It controls what raw materials are used and develops concrete mix designs to meet specifications and create a better looking concrete product. When most job sites are shut down due to inclement weather, Locke has the ability to continue pouring as much concrete as they want, when they want, inside their manufacturing facility.

Locke Solutions has been a part of several significant projects in its young history that reflect its abilities and show how much it has grown in almost five years. A great example was a portion of  ExxonMobil’s NAG project in Mont Belvieu, Texas. Locke was initially asked to produce several storm drain manholes and box culvert, and the team’s performance led to the company being asked to quote additional electrical manholes structures.  The quality of submittals, products, and on-time shipments of those structures led it to providing pipe sleeper foundations and valve boxes.

After more success, the company was given a chance to redesign the planned pour-in-place sloping trench drain system in favor of an alternate precast design, which led to huge cost savings and reductions in schedule and manpower needs. Locke Solutions finished the project by providing several thousand feet of concrete traffic barriers to protect and line the entrance of the facility.

Since then, the company has also worked with the Houston Airport System on several projects. The team at Locke Solutions has the expertise to handle the technical requirements that go along with designing structures for aircraft and heavy equipment loading at airports and marine ports. These structures usually require unique manufacturing techniques that the company has developed to reduce costs.  Locke has provided design efforts along with precast products for electrical, communication, and stormwater structures at Hobby Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Ellington Airport, and DFW Airport.

Recently, the company has been involved with the projects at Port Houston as the port upgrades its infrastructure to accept larger container ships. In addition to providing power and communication manholes, Locke Solutions has developed new ways to construct storm water trench drain systems that have historically been restricted to only pour-in-place construction methods. It is working together with different engineering firms and contractors and continuing to refine a precast concrete construction method along with ABT Trench Drains to reduce project duration and eliminate potentially hazardous safety conditions.

The company’s quality and safety programs have been certified through the National Precast Concrete Association since 2014 and maintained a zero rate of recordable accidents through its first four and half years of business.

In general, contractors typically prefer the use of precast materials to reduce the risks and overall installation costs, but people often do not realize how complex or how large the structures are that Locke Solutions can design and build.

“It is not uncommon for us to design and manufacture structures in the 100,000 pounds range, and to date, our largest structure built was 215,000 pounds, seventy feet long and was shipped to a [liquid natural gas] facility in Freeport, Texas,” says Asher. The value provided by precast structures is easy to see; the hard part is getting the word out and showing contractors and engineers the company’s capabilities.

“We are a small business that started less than five years ago. Without the ongoing support of our customers, vendors and especially the employees that took the risk to be a part of this, we would not be in the position we are today,” says Asher.

The service Locke Solutions provides to its customers is what sets it apart from the rest. Whether it is turning around a quote request, providing 3D drawing models or how quickly it starts fabricating a special product, no one else in the market compares to it.

“Most of the time, we have more resources on staff than we need to make sure that we are able to provide the fastest turnaround on a quote, an engineered drawing, or just getting a product fabricated and to the site. We have more manpower available on a day-to-day basis, which does cost more money, but it allows us to jump on a project right away.”

The company insists that its success has not come from any secret processes or patents, just its four main core values: integrity in how it operates, emphasizing the quality of work, maintaining customer service as a number one priority and developing its employees. “When these values are the main focus of our daily work, everything else falls in place. There’s no secret to what we’re doing. We put the customer first, and that’s it.”

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We’re excited to announce that our all-new facility has broken ground.  We are working with the architecture and building firm Synchro based in Houston to design/build our new, industry-leading facility.

After several years of continued growth and demand for engineered precast concrete structures and metalwork, we have been forced to invest in more capacity.  That capacity looks like over 55,000 sq ft of new, state of the art design and manufacturing facilities. A custom-designed concrete batching system by Mixer Systems, Inc. will produce freshly batched concrete delivered with new OMi variable frequency drive overhead bridge cranes. Staged along four production runways will be dozens of custom-designed concrete mold systems developed by our fabricators and engineering team giving us the flexibility and efficiencies to produce concrete structures at the lowest costs.

In short, we’re building a world-class facility with the best equipment to match the talents of the people working at Locke Solutions.

It goes without saying, but we will also be displaying our own capabilities during the construction process of this building providing precast and metal fabricated elements throughout the facility.  To name a few items, we are manufacturing all of the components for the storm sewer system including maintaining a high-quality level of stormwater discharge from the property.

Other elements include a sand/oil interceptor with a sample well catch basin to further improve the water quality draining from our facility.

We have been fortunate to receive the support from contractors and engineering firms trusting us with their projects, and we will keep working towards maintaining that level of service and turnaround time they have grown accustomed to seeing from us.