Family-owned Jensen Precast cements legacy after 50 years in business

Jensen Precast supplied and installed 20 concrete arch culverts for a golf cart tunnel for residents of Sun City Festival in Buckeye, Ariz.

Jensen Precast supplied and installed 20 concrete arch culverts for a golf cart tunnel for residents of Sun City Festival in Buckeye, Ariz.

SPARKS, Nev. — Jensen Precast has already built a half-century legacy of success. But that doesn’t mean its president, Eric Jensen, is comfortable with the status quo.

“We always want to look to get better,” Jensen said repeatedly during a recent interview with NNBW at the company’s headquarters off of Steneri Way.

Jensen Precast celebrated its 50th anniversary in business on Feb. 14.

The company’s continued progression, Jensen said, extends to practically every aspect of the business, from technology advancements to development of innovative new products to managing Jensen Precast’s roughly 800 employees.

“We’ve been sinking enormous resources, putting in software production and planning processes that make things more efficient for customers,” said Jensen, whose father, Don Jensen, founded the company a half-century ago.

Among its initiatives is to improve manufacturing and supply chain capabilities, which includes implementing lean manufacturing programs, as well as “Six Sigma” programs, to improve the quality of its products and getting them to clients faster.

What the company does

Jensen Precast manufactures several small-scale precast concrete products. It also engineers and installs large-scale concrete projects in a variety of applications.

The majority of its focus includes structures that center on mitigation, infiltration, detention and storage of water. The company also has a number of other products that can be used for the utility, telecommunications and roadway industries, among others.

Among its major projects is a golf cart tunnel made of 20 concrete arch culverts for residents of the Sun City Festival community in Buckeye, Ariz.; construction of two, 16-foot concrete structures for a “Jensen Deflective Separator” water pretreatment system in Long Beach, Calif.; and installation of a duplex sewer pump station at Cashman Equipment here in Sparks.

Eric Jensen also sits on the board of directors for the National Precast Concrete Association, which allows him to keep abreast of a multitude of products and applications in the precast concrete industry.

“There are more opportunities out there than we can pursue right now,” Jensen said. “I think as far as new products, we want them to be innovative products.”

For example, Jensen said the company is researching the concept of using recycled glass, considering there are not a lot of ways to reuse the product. The glass would be broken down and integrated into materials that could then be used to make concrete.

All in the family

Don Jensen, the company’s founder and CEO (and Eric’s father), first got into the industry in the 1960s by casting concrete parking curbs while attending Reno High School.

The young entrepreneur bought a septic tank business, but was more fascinated in the precast process, so he started Jensen Precast in 1968 with a single facility in Reno.

He eventually opened a Las Vegas branch in 1978, and now the company operates 12 facilities across Nevada, Arizona, California and Hawaii.

Eric Jensen, speaking on behalf of his father’s success, said the family-like atmosphere has been a key to the company’s longevity.

“Our people are what makes us what we are today,” Eric said. “I like to think we try very hard to make this a very good place to work, and that continues to this day.”

Eric’s siblings — Kurt, Jill and Megan — also have major roles within the company. The family has been diligently preparing for the generational transition period by meeting with Leadership One out of Sacramento, a consulting firm whose expertise is in such matters, and attending Transitions West, a conference focused on maintaining the health and future success of family businesses.

“That’s been a great experience for us, because that is a way for us to see examples of successful multi-generational business,” Jensen said. “We are putting our money where our month is. We are very committed to remaining a family business.”


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