Chief Concrete Inc.
In 1979, Monte Walker founded Chief Concrete Inc. (CCI) with three business partners. He had worked for several years in electronic engineering before he decided to change careers. After seven years of co-ownership, Monte bought out his partners and is now the sole owner of CCI.
“Originally, I had partnered with a rebar contractor and we built swimming pool decks,” he recalls. “In 1986, we decided to diversify into other fields.” The business has since grown significantly, performing a wide range of concrete work for commercial contractors around Las Vegas.
The company has established a niche in specialty architectural concrete. “Most concrete companies don’t do this and it really sets us apart,” says Monte. “You have to spend a lot more time on the architectural concrete than the regular concrete placement. We do not do high volume work; we concentrate on quality and design and high-quality application.”
CCI has a strong reputation for professionalism and reliable practice. The team of 35 has built up diverse capabilities, applying a unique set of skills. Depending on the project, the team travels throughout the United States. Just last year the company polished a concrete topping in an Old Navy in New Orleans, polished a concrete topping for a new city hall for the city of El Paso, renovated and reinstalled a new concrete topping floor in an Old Navy in Concord, Calif., and installed epoxy coatings in an industrial food processing plant in Springfield, Mo.
Monte and his team employ approximately 35 people working from a single location in Las Vegas. The 12,500-square-foot facility incorporates the only architectural concrete showroom of its size in the state, as well as space for offices. The team works primarily in southern Nevada, but the crew will travel to surrounding states to work for commercial contractors and commercial building end users. Commercial work makes up most of CCI’s business, although the company still performs some residential work.
“We specialize in architectural concrete contracting, which includes enhanced concrete work and glass seeded concrete,” Monte explains. “Overall, we will do any type of slab concrete contracting, Lithocrete, which is series patented seeded concrete processes, floor preparation and concrete finishes for the commercial and residential sectors. My son, Matt Walker, started our floor coatings, polishing and surface preparation division in 2002, which handles interior concrete floors in commercial settings; recently, Bed Bath & Beyond, Old Navy, Petco, Nordstrom’s and a list of others.”
The team has been involved in several unique projects in recent years. In early 2014, the team wrapped up work on the Outside Las Vegas Visitors Center in Corn Creek, Nev. “We installed high-end seeded concrete and placed two large Lithomosaics in the concrete, as well,” Monte recalls. “The Lithomosaic is placed on the surface of the concrete. The mosaics depict corn husks and a turtle each with compass points.”
Other completed projects for CCI include the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, where the team completed 7,000 feet of glass seeded Lithocrete concrete in the hotel’s grand entrance. The crew also worked on Panorama Towers in Las Vegas, a pricey high-rise condominium complex. CCI placed two different colors of seeded concrete with reflective mirror, separated by half-inch stainless steel strips, polished and sealed the concrete.
“One of our most rewarding projects has been Del Webb’s Anthem Country Club,” Monte explains. “We did all on-site flatwork concrete plus the stamped concrete entryway to the curb. This project went on for four years. At the time, we did the entire model home complex for the development and all the architectural concrete.”
CCI just recently completed a high-end project for the city of Las Vegas pool deck that will feature a 28-foot-long Lithomosaic scene of a dinosaur fossil. The main business and floor preparation divisions have secured several retail flooring jobs, including Sprouts Market, TJ Maxx and Old Navy, all involving interior architectural concrete polishing.
CCI has just finished working for the National Guard at the Henderson Armory. The project involves an 18,000-square-foot renovation of polished concrete that had asbestos that needed to be replaced.
A strong team
The recession a few years back hit the Las Vegas market especially hard. Monte and his leadership team were forced to reassess the business’ structure. “We assessed our capital, including equipment, and cut back on our overhead,” he explains. “We had to lay off some of our employees, which was very difficult but I think we have adjusted accordingly. We cut out a lot of extraneous expenses. Not having any debt helped get us through.”
Monte goes on to note that relationships are of the utmost importance to him and the team at CCI. “More than anything,” he continues, “Our positive relationships with customers and employees have helped us stay in business. We have an excellent reputation for a high quality of work. We insist upon training our personnel very well. This company’s mission is not ‘Get it done quick,’ it is more about the quality and design of each project.”
Monte says his team keeps him going, even when the market has been unkind. He takes great pride in his employees who have helped CCI achieve a reputation as the best concrete company in Las Vegas. In the years ahead, Monte has some ideas for expansion as the market turns around. Tenant improvement has been a growing sector for the business and Monte predicts his crews will pursue more floor enhancement and concrete placement work. No matter where the local market takes the business, Chief Concrete Inc. remains dedicated to building relationships on integrity and professionalism.
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