SPOKANE, Wash. — The volume of work done at Wilbert Precast in North Spokane is astounding. “We produce about 10,000,000 lbs. of concrete a month,” said owner Dan Houk.
The company was founded all the way back in 1906. “My grandmother’s father and brother came out from Indiana in 1905 and started building concrete products. Built forms and started with burial vaults and water laundry trays for homes and basements, horse watering troughs, hitching posts,” explained Houk. They still do almost all the burial vaults for Eastern Washington, North Idaho and Western Montana. But when they couldn’t grow that part of the business further, Houk said, “We got into the septic tank business, stairs for homes. And since then, we’ve been adding a product or two every year since the early 80s.”
Now with over 80 employees in Spokane, Wilbert Precast does all kinds of concrete products, from things like drainage structures for restaurants to light pole bases. “They look a lot nicer than the old Sonotube way of doing things,” said Houk. “So it dresses up parking lots.” Wilbert Precast also makes intricate stairways to manholes for sewer lines, which are used all over the Northwest and beyond. Years ago, the company started doing ready rock products, which they sell mostly to excavating contractors. “We’ve grown to where we’re going a lot of walls,” said Houk. And they have a full ready rock inventory yard to prove it.
Another product, which they call giant jacks, are basically engineered log jams to prevent erosion in rivers. They weight eight tons apiece. Houk said they’re loaded four per truck, “And it’s just solid concrete.” And Houk believes Wilbert Precast’s willingness to take on custom products like the giant jacks is why their business continues to boom. “Whether it’s a general contractor, an engineering firm, an architectural firm, once they figure out what it is we’re capable of doing, we just naturally continue to grow.” And like they’ve been doing for 115 years, they’ll continue to go where their customers want them.
“We’ve got a great team of people that are willing to take on new directions,” said Houk. “And they’ve got that ‘can do’ attitude.”