Conway, McConnell Take Helm at American Precast Industries, The First Operating Company at Glassworks Business Park
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – American Precast Industries, one of Clarion County’s newest businesses, is already promoting its precast construction material as it looks forward to opening in March at the Glassworks Business Park in the former Owens Illinois Glass Plant location in Clarion.
Nate Conway (pictured above on left) is the general manager and Tom McConnell (pictured on right) is the sales director of American Precast Industries (API).
“We’re going to be the first company operating in The Glassworks Business Park,” said McConnell. “I know they’ve been trying to develop that for a while and get some businesses in there to help draw up some economic development and jobs for our area.
“We were able to lease a building now at a separate location to be able to produce a product there and the separate indoor location that we’re able to use until the new building opens.”
Conway said the company will occupy at least 2½ acres.
“Our building is going to be about 12,600 square feet with a production area of approximately 10,600 square feet,” Conway said. “We’ll have about another 2,000 square feet for the office in the front.”
Redi-Rock, one of American Precast’s products, is a 21st-century precast modular block retention product. This product has an integrated system to solve the challenges of constructing sustainable retaining walls. The high-density, multi-weather sustaining blocks are used to support an array of projects such as heavy highway construction, railway & bridge supports, and seawall retention. Each precast modular block will be machine-placed allowing for a safer and more consistent installation process.
The company’s second product, Pole Base products, offers a consistent and affordable application process for light pole installation while adding a nice range of options to improve the exterior aesthetics. Typical cast-in-place light pole bases tend to be plain and unfinished and consume a lot of man-hours for installation.
“One thing that’s really unique about American Precast Industries is that we’re going to be doing all of our precast concrete in a controlled environment,” said Conway. “A lot of precast concrete companies buy molds, and they will take some of their leftover ready-mix, and they will just pour them into the molds whenever they have leftover concrete or maybe their demand for their projects is down. Unfortunately, that creates a lesser quality product and the strength of the concrete isn’t always as great and you get a lot of fluctuation with temperatures when the curing process starts.
“We’re doing all of this in a controlled facility at Glassworks. We anticipate the temperature to be around 60 degrees all year round so we can control every aspect of the curing process and the manufacturing process. When we go to people that need a strong pole base or block when precasting, they can have much more faith that the integrity of our products can be a lot stronger than what our competitors use.”
When API opens its new building, it will hire two concrete technicians to start operations. The plant will operate on eight-hour shifts Monday through Friday and based on demand over time. The company plans to diversify its product line, and as it grows, they will start adding different shifts and obviously more than four employees.
Conway and McConnell, both Clarion University graduates, relish the challenges.
“I’m not from here originally, but I love it here,” said Conway. “It was a pretty exciting prospect to be able to be part of a start-up company and helping Clarion thrive. It ended up being a no brainer for me.”
McConnell, who has a large region primarily in Pennsylvania to spread the word of API, agreed.
“I was happy with my job as Clarion County Treasurer, and when they contacted me, the more I thought about it, the possibility of me starting out on the ground floor of a new company attracted me,“ said McConnell.
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