In an industry where concrete innovation has been weighted down by steel and implementation measured by decades, it's refreshing to discover that enterprising leadership still has a chance to succeed. The leadership of the Altus-Group has proven in a short time that engineering still rocks.
For about eight years, a core group of precasters has been introducing the benefits of carbon reinforcement to the architectural design community. What began as a solution to the challenges of concrete failure due to steel corrosion in critical anchorages has led to a new approach to structural concrete design.
What's even more impressive about this effort is that the group has cut implementation time in half. Many concrete industry experts suggest that a good idea takes at least 12 years to gain any market share. But in less than three years after incorporating, AltusGroup sold more than 6 million square feet of product on more than 60 projects in 16 states.
Its influence has engaged other industry suppliers to join their design ranks, resulting in a new product development scheme. Its success has expanded markets from beyond normal delivery zones and has allowed the group to seek expansion by selectively licensing products and marketing support to other innovative precasters.
While this success has been based on sound engineering design, the group has had greatest influence in how it approaches the business side of concrete.
For these reasons, the AltusGroup has been honored as a 2008 Influencer. The AltusGroup is led by chairman Chris Pastorius, Harold Messenger, John Carson, Gary Graziano, and Harry Gleich.A win for all
“Ordinarily, precasters compete with generically designed products in overcrowded markets where they and their many competitors are viewed as equal,” says the group's Graziano. “Our philosophy that a win for one is a win for all has enabled us to not only grow our businesses, but also the industry.”
From the beginning, the Altus-Group adopted a different approach to business. Its team effort has mitigated development costs, code resistance, legal liability, and market introduction.
This effort of coopetition, a term attributed to the computer industry's Ray Noorda, founder of Novell, best explains the new operational scheme. Coopetition means collaborating with suppliers and competitors to create new products and competitive advantages quickly, says Graziano.
Here's how it works. The precasters of the AltusGroup are part of the nation's largest precasting entity, with more engineering, production, and marketing minds focused on success than any other “company” in the business. The group has more “feet on the street,” turning more prospects into customers than all of their major competitors combined.
Within 18 months of inception, the enterprise launched a patented technology platform, seven new products, and a national branded marketing campaign with 800 help lines, technical collateral, a Web site, and structured sales presentations.