Years ago, Roland Lindsay had his own excavation business, and got fed up waiting for delivery of septic tanks so he could complete his part of the job.
So, Lindsay, now 80, started his own precast concrete business to make the tanks. That was in 1961, and he had one employee.
Today, Lindsay Concrete Products Co., headquartered in Stark County’s Lawrence Township, boasts seven plants in four states. Its product line has grown to include automated teller machine enclosures, bank vault doors, small bridges, and sanitary and storm sewer doors, among dozens of other items — all made of precast concrete.
Lindsay’s industry leadership over the years has led to the National Precast Concrete Association bestowing him with the group’s top honor. The award is called the Robert E. Yoakum Award, named for an industry leader who helped to found the association in 1965.
Lindsay said Lindsay Concrete is known for propelling the precast industry into various markets, growing the number of items that can be made with precast concrete as opposed to other materials, such as brick.
His company employees, he said, “would try to add at least one new product a year. So we just nibbled into these different things.”
A few decades ago, he recalled, the city of Akron only allowed brick manholes. Lindsay said his company helped convince the city, and no doubt other municipalities, that precast concrete manholes were a viable alternative.
Lindsay noted that his company also has diversified into making columbariums, which hold compartments, or niches, for cremated remains. Buyers have included the National Cemetery in Rittman, where there are thousands of niches.
Lindsay said the national association has helped to elevate industry standards, offering a certification program in which a third party inspects plants “to make sure you have safety precautions in place and safe equipment and records in place and we make a good product.”
Roland Lindsay was among the association’s founding members. “There were 20 some [people] at the first meeting in Dayton,” he said. “Now, we get thousands” at conventions.
The association’s offices are in Carmel, Ind.
Lindsay Concrete’s two plants in Lawrence Township employ about 100. That’s up from the depths of the recession, but down from about 170 before the economic downturn officially began in 2007.
The company also has a plant outside Gainesville, Fla., three plants in Colorado and one outside Raleigh, N.C. Employment at all facilities totals about 200 workers.
Lindsay’s son Ron, is based in the Florida operation, and is company president. The older Lindsay retains the title of CEO.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.