Wilbert Precast ushers fifth generation leadership

Sources: Wilbert Precast, Inc., Spokane, Wash.; CP staff

Wilbert Precast Chief Executive Officer Dan Houk has stepped aside from day-to-day duties, passing the baton to son T.J. Houk while retaining the chairman of the board post. The underground and utility precast producer has grown from one plant and 17 employees in 1981 to three plants and 140 employees since Dan Houk joined his father, William J. Houk, to help with the family business. The latter had run Wilbert Precast for 20 years, transforming it from a three-man shop, partly on the strength of a Wilbert burial vault production license. From 1906 through the post-war years, W.J. Houk’s grandfather and father had set the table for future generations, operating under such brands as Spokane Valley Vault Co. Wilbert Precast now enjoys a strong Pacific Northwest market presence through Spokane and Yakima, Wash. and Lewiston, Idaho operations. 

A Gonzaga University accounting and finance graduate and Society of Actuaries member, T.J. Houk assumes the helm with more than a decade in the corporate world. “He is well suited to taking the company from this point to a new level. He has a strong respect for and a good relationship with the employees that helped with our growth and success,” says Dan Houk, whose industry roles beyond Wilbert Precast have included 2010-11 and 1994 terms as National Precast Concrete Association chairman and Inland Pacific Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors president. The family business leadership transition affords him time for mentoring the Wilbert Precast team and joining his wife to extend their 15 years of mission work in Sawla, Ghana. Their semiannual trips to the West Africa nation, coupled with fundraising efforts, have spawned a private Christian school plus a small hotel and community event center whose proceeds support local students’ higher education pursuits. The Houk family promotes community support through the International Assistance Program’s Sawla Project, www.iassist.org.