SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) — Your next Made in Nevada report is about a 16-year-old Reno High School student who started off making parking curbs, and today has roughly 900 employees across the western United States and Hawaii at 14 different locations.
A Jensen Precast crew places cement in precast molds. Once hardened the cement is removed and stored on site until it's needed for a project.
If you drive, flush a toilet, or watch cable TV, it's very likely the services are possible in part because of Jensen Precast, headquartered in Sparks.
Local housing construction is throttling business up. "It's unbelievably busy. It's been a good couple years. In northern Nevada, we are the only precast company," said Jensen Precast Sales Rep. Derek Goins.
The company is working on several projects ranging from manholes, culvert installations, and concrete barriers for roads.
Crews are even working on a 50,000-square-foot wall in Carson City in preparation for the Carson Hills Apartment project at 400 West Clearview Drive.
The Jensen Precast wall is designed to hold back the hillside to protect 370 apartments. Goins says the wall will stand in place for more than 100 years.
Probably the biggest business comes from the demand for underground utility vaults used to hold cables for the nearby homes. Those cables carry services including electricity and cable signals.
The concrete is not poured at the construction sites. It's poured at Jensen Precast's plant at 825 Steneri Way in Sparks.
Each morning a crew places the cement in precast molds. Once hardened the cement is removed and stored on site until it's needed for a project.
This is the model that has helped the company grow. There are now two plants in Nevada. The other is in Las Vegas, eight are in California, two are in Arizona, one is in Oregon, and one is in Hawaii.
Demand occasionally outpaces supply in Nevada and California.
The success enjoyed today began in 1968, when Donald Jensen launched his business at the age of 22.
"I was basically looking for a way to support the family," Donald says.
This simple desire sparked an empire, which is now likely the largest family-owned and operated precast business in the United States.
When asked why he survived and thrived during all that time, Donald said, "Probably just sticktuativeness and the desire to reinvest in the business."
Today three generations of the Jensen family work at Jensen Precast. Donald's son Eric Jensen is the President of the company and his nephew Noah Martinez works as an equipment operator at the Sparks facility.
All three of Eric's siblings work for the family business, as well. "It all started here. This is still where our headquarters are. We will continue to call home," said Eric.
Jensen precast celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018.