As one of the largest precast concrete producers in Mississippi, Lee’s Precast Concrete is a trusted name that always strives to exceed the expectations of its customers. Many customers repeatedly return for the outstanding service and the exceptional products they receive.
Lee’s Precast Concrete is celebrating forty years of success as a family owned and operated business. This milestone is possible because of the commitment to quality and integrity that has been built into the products and relationships that it has developed since its founding in 1977 by Milton Lee.
The company came to be after a unique chain of events unfolded. In 1977, Mr. Lee was set to purchase a company that would allow him to work closer to home while providing for his rather large family. When that sale fell through, he was left searching for another business through which his goal could be achieved.
Where one door closes, another one opens says the adage and that was exactly what happened to Milton Lee. While the first business transaction fell through, he found an opportunity with a small, precast concrete, septic tank producer and renamed it Lee’s Precast Concrete.
Throughout the decades, the company has demonstrated it can keep up with increased demand for its products. It meets the specifications of the most aggressive schedules and complex projects, including design-build projects and same-day orders for structures and materials.
“One thing we try to do is give more than the expectation, you know, just doing what we say we are going to do and provide an even better service, get something there earlier than planned,” explained General Manager Allen Lee, son of the founder.
“Concrete is concrete, and there are a lot of companies that are our competitors that make a great product and have good customer relationships, but we do what we say we’re going to do,” he continued. “We definitely do a premium product, something that looks good above ground even though it is going below ground. We want it to look as if it’s going to be left above ground.”
Lee’s Precast Concrete is headquartered in Aberdeen, Mississippi and serves a two-hundred-mile radius of this location. However, when special projects dictate, product has been shipped as far as California.
Customers rely on Lee’s Precast Concrete’s safe rooms and storm shelters, with above and below ground configurations as well as catch basins and box culverts for customers with drainage needs, wastewater treatment plants, septic tanks, grease traps, chlorinators, pump tanks, oil and water separators, retaining walls, car wash pits and essentially anything else that can be formed and shipped.
The company has a long, proud history of delivering results. Whether a project is clear-cut or presents challenges, such as needing to transport shelters to the most remote places, the most important thing is that customers’ needs are being met.
“A lot of our market is private development and municipalities. We do a little bit of Department of Transportation work, but it’s probably only five percent of what we do. Ultimately, that’s one of our goals: to increase that, which we have a long way to go,” said Lee.
“We do a small fraction of what’s out there for DOT work. And in the past, we’ve wanted to grow, but with the challenges of growing, we want to make sure we maintain our customer service and always deliver in a shorter time frame or deliver a better-looking product to ensure we continue to serve them in the future.”
Lee’s Precast Concrete is MDOT certified, meaning it can produce structures for the state of Mississippi, increasing its reach. It is also a National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) certified plant.
The NPCA has had a significant impact on Lee’s Precast Concrete’s success and has played a pivotal role in the development of new products, materials and processes. This is especially true of the company’s move to using self-consolidating concrete and the resources NPCA provided during that transition.
In addition to training, education, resources and support, NPCA plant certification has enabled Lee’s Precast Concrete to maintain its plant better, resulting in more efficient and precise output and higher customer satisfaction.
“They help us stay on the cutting edge of things. They come in-house and do their audits and ultimately help us stay on pace. If there is room for improvement, they comment on that, and we make improvements as an organization,” said Lee.
“That organization is something that has really helped us to grow and stay on pace, improving, not just with what we’ve been doing, but making improvements to the processes and materials we use in the product.”
Employees gain the rewards of training and education through the NPCA. The company benefits from a highly-skilled team of professionals with great technical aptitude that helps it make durable concrete of the highest quality. In fact, this is one of the things that Lee feels differentiates the company from similar competitors.
“We absolutely have some of the best guys – best team members – who are educated through the NPCA. There is a definitely a technical side to concrete, and the guys in place have all that training and the credentials to do that. They can make our job really easy or really hard, and they deliver a great product, and they make it really easy.”
The employees at Lee’s Precast Concrete are considered an extension of the family Lee noted. “We try to treat every person as family, and we consider every situation as it comes. We know life happens to everybody, and we try to treat everybody how we want to be treated and still maintain the guidelines of the business,” even though, “working with family can sometimes be a challenge.”
The Lee family remains active in the family business, working tirelessly to advance Milton Lee’s vision. Though Mr. Lee is semi-retired, with the next generation of the family at the company’s helm, he is still very much an active part of the company’s success both through his actions and through the life lessons and integrity he imparted to the family and the business.
Lee’s Precast Concrete is no stranger to overcoming challenges and has the experience and expertise to see it through the changing market to remain an industry leader in Mississippi. A challenge it is facing is the influx of alternative products in the market.
“A lot of alternative products that are being brought to the market the last couple of years is being felt across the industry.” Lee and his team continue to, “figure out how we can make concrete make sense for customers in place of plastic.”
While it set out with just two forms and a truck – and later a one-ton crane – the company has identified new ways to advance operations, including the adoption of new technology and processes.
The Lees will continue to expand the business as they always have. Whether that growth is in the product lines or its capabilities or the identification of another physical location to reduce the strain on space and operations, Lee’s Precast Concrete has come a long way since its humble beginnings.