Each year about this time we make a big picture assessment of the concrete industry to identify some of the issues that are important and the people that are leading the charge. One thing we always find is that it’s the people with real passion that make a difference. Here are five passionate people you should know.
The Strong Survive
President, L.L. Geans Construction Co.
“I’m very optimistic about the concrete business right now,” says Rocky Geans. “It’s a wonderful time to be in this business because as companies have gone out of business the share that we get is greater. The strong will survive and by that I mean that you can’t just be a contractor you have to also be a business person, you need to have good systems, be able to manage people, know how to do job costing and use that to do your estimates, and do asset utilization.”
But Geans isn’t just making a list of necessary skills, he’s out teaching them at the Rocky Geans Concrete Construction Business School. At the school Rocky provides contractors with processes and tools that he has developed to run his own very successful construction company. “People really seemed to love the class,” he says. “What really charges me up is to talk to people later and have them say that the class changed the way they did estimates or how they ran their companies. Something we discussed at the class made a difference in their business.”
L.L. Geans was Rocky’s father who ran a small concrete company for many years. Before finishing high school, Rocky joined the Marines in the early 1970s and served a 2-year tour. He returned to work in the business and moved away from residential tear-out and replace to industrial work.
One unusual aspect of his life has been playing in a band called the Rivieras, a group with a hit song in the early 1960s. “After I got back from the marines, I joined the band and we’ve played 60s revival shows all over the country to really big crowds.” That experience has made him very comfortable in front of an audience and contributed to the success of the school.
Geans doesn’t just teach things out of a book. His organizational processes are legendary, with every tool and material in his shop in a clearly labeled spot. “I’m a very impatient person. I like a visual workplace in my shop and office. There’s a place for everything and everything is in its place. It saves money, too, since no one is ever looking for a product or a tool. If it’s not where it’s supposed to be then you’re done looking because it can’t be anyplace else.”
A very active and long-time member of the American Society of Concrete Contractors, he was the driving force behind the development of the ASCC Mix Groups. “I always had the desire to share. I will even share with competitors—I’d rather have a good competitor that knows how to bid.”