February 10, 2021

A Rocky Mountain Region Success Rises to the Top

Precast concrete company finds niche with Easi-Set Buildings

Not all companies get to brag about being an award-winning, woman-owned and -operated business driven by ethics and hard work. Mountain West Precast and Construction Group in Brigham City, Utah, is one that can. Founder and President Stephanie Loud is a no-nonsense boss who is a third-generation contractor. She is a wife and mother, who raised her children with her husband and then started a precast concrete company in 2000. She admits the first few years and the Great Recession that followed were challenging, but her vision for evolving and expanding kept her and her team moving forward. In 2014, Mountain West Precast was named Utah’s Woman Owned Business of the Year by the Small Business Association.

Quality Precast Easi-Set Buildings

Stephanie is one of eight children and her parents were both licensed contractors and her father was also a CPA. Her grandfather too was a commercial general contractor. She regularly worked with her family, learning not only construction techniques but also business-management strategies. Her dad had one rule for all his children—college. Stephanie earned a degree in technical sales from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Her husband, Mike was in the military, with the duo moving often, raising their five children. In 2000, the opportunity presented itself to start a company with her brother. After a rocky beginning, Stephanie reorganized the company in her name and drew upon her background with her dad, her college courses and her intuitive drive to start what has grown into Mountain West.

Now working toward her MBA at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, Stephanie says the program is validating many of her early decisions and experiences. “I figured a lot out on my own, mostly through trial and error. Overtime I became better and better at business. I have always been organized and very determined. I have come a long way in 20 years and so has the company.”

Mountain West became an Easi-Set Buildings licensed producer in 2017. Easi-Set has a network of over 70 licensees in 10 countries worldwide that work directly with customers. These licensed producers are trained in their own facilities to sell and manufacture one or more of Easi-Set’s five proprietary precast products. “The sales, engineering, production, and installation support offered by Easi-Set Worldwide makes the transition into one of our product offerings faster and more productive for our licensees," stated Chris Reese, Easi-Set Senior Engineer.

Meet Stephanie and discover her journey of leading one of the most successful precast concrete companies in the West.

    • Where do you see your company in the future? We will forever be expanding. Easi-Set Buildings has been a great niche for us and I hope that it will be our primary product in five years.

    • When did you become an Easi-Set Buildings licensed producer and why did you pursue that? We joined Easi-Set Buildings three years ago. We first started talking in 2009, but the economy was so bad that I couldn’t take on the business. They stayed in touch with me and eventually the time was right.

    • How has working with Easi-Set Buildings changed your company? I am 100 percent sold on the product. I don’t have a lot of competition in the area for precast concrete, so to be in this niche has really changed the company for the better. We have eight of about 50 employees dedicated to the Easi-Set Buildings brand for planning, drafting and overseeing the manufacturing and installation process.

    • What markets do you serve? Mountain West works all over the Western United States. Our primary market is government work, completing many projects on military bases, and departments of transportation.

    • Planning and pre-bidding are vital to a successful project. Talk about how you walk a building owner/architect through the process of selecting an Easi-Set Building. Our sales team and estimators focus on the benefits of precast concrete. In our area, cinder block buildings remain a popular choice, but that trade is so busy that customers can wait forever for a building. In comparison, we can build a precast concrete building in our facility and delivery it it to the job site. We save customers time, labor and money. We also point out the aesthetics of precast concrete buildings and educate people that we can finish and outfit a building however they want. The support and on-site training Easi-Set offers through their licensing program has enabled us to more effectively manage all our projects from estimating and design through to production and installation.

    • Describe your manufacturing processes and how your technology and equipment have changed. Not a lot had to change for our Easi-Set Buildings set up, which was a big selling point. It was an easy addition to our product line. We already had casting tables and purchased form liners three years ago, and that is it. Our first one or two Easi-Set Buildings took some time to wrap our heads around the components. We have a general contracting side to our business in addition to the precast concrete side, so we understood how to plumb and how to install electrical. Transitioning to work on restrooms and HVAC installs was not a big stretch for us.

    • Give examples of recent projects. Franklin, Idaho, ordered one of Easi-Set’s standard pre-engineering building designs, a Sierra Wet Restroom. The town received a grant for park improvements and the restroom was one of the main upgrades. We won this project twice because the first bid was contested by another precast company. We successfully won the second bid and provided the city with a great addition to its park. The City Manager Tami Midzinski was very pleased with the outcome and has been recommending Mountain West and Easi-Set Buildings to her surrounding municipalities. She plans to purchase another building as her city expands. Central Utah Water Conservancy District (CUWCD) used a standard Easi-Set 10x12 gabled roof utility building set at the Starvation Dam near Duchesne, Utah. This building is being used to house pumping equipment. It is notable that the CUWCD is a repeat customer of Mountain West. They have purchased multiple utility buildings and plan to purchase another in the coming year. Because they are using the standard version of the building, the quoting, submittal, engineering and production of these buildings have gone very smoothly. They are proving to be a cost-effective and durable choice for this customer. While we can custom design or modify Easi-Set Buildings to specific needs, the program offering of standard drawings and design calculations has been a big value to our team in securing and completing project submittals. This is the real advantage in taking on a new product line, as the groundwork is already there.

Quality Precast Easi-Set Buildings

Easi-Set Sierra Wet restroom being installed

Quality Precast Easi-Set Buildings

Easi-Set pump house at Starvation Reservoir.

  • What quality control measures do you have in place? Mountain West is Utah DOT certified and NPCA (National Precast Concrete Association) certified. Our quality control and production managers all have PCI level 1 and 2 certifications. We are always focused on quality. This is not only a good selling point for us, but in the end, it is the right way to do business.

  • What are your company’s greatest strengths? The people that work here. We have great people and we are getting even better.

  • What makes you an effective manager? I try very hard not to micromanage. People work here because they are good at what they do and I have to let them shine. By doing that, the cream rises up to the top. You get really good people that way.

  • What guides your personal success? I have a firm and logical personality and don’t make emotional decisions. I don’t think many people expect this from a woman, so I had to learn how to tone my message. It is important for managers to be consistent, but to understand that not everyone can be treated the same because of their experiences. We don’t know where people come from and what they have been through. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly and I want that for them.

  • What challenges have your faced and how have you overcome them? 2008 was a rough time and our situation remained very up and down for about five years. So many good people didn’t make it through the recession. What really changed my way of thinking and my path is recognizing that I am not just running a business; I support families. During the recession, we all were struggling, including my employees. In 2010, we held a 10-year anniversary company BBQ. Watching all the families that came to celebrate showed me the depth of my responsibility and gave me a more personal motivation to succeed.

  • How have the lessons that you learned prepared you for the current economic crisis? I learned in 2008 and several years following to carefully watch my cash. I try to always have a cash buffer and a contingency plan if additional financing is needed. We take a very conservative approach. I am also very focused on collection. Our company invoices immediately and we aggressively watch our receivables.

  • What is your involvement with local organizations? As I finish my MBA, I have stepped back from some roles to focus on school while running Mountain West. I have served as a board member for the NPCA. I have been involved with the Rotary Club and my husband and I have run a local park. I hope to get back to these and other volunteer work when I’m done with school and have some free time again.

Pioneered more than 40 years ago, each Easi-Set Building, from the smallest standard to an ultra-large Easi-Span, is manufactured to exacting detail with high-strength, steel-reinforced, post-tensioned precast concrete. Easi-Set’s Buildings are designed to provide durability, value, convenience, and long lasting security under a variety of applications. The popularity of prefabricated precast concrete buildings can be attributed to ease of installation, customizable features, and sustainability. To learn more about our standard pre-engineered designs or customized options visit www.EasisetBuildings.com or call 1-866-252-8210.

To learn more about Easi-Set all-precast concrete buildings from Shea Concrete Products, contact them through: Mountain West Precast