ILWACO - Since Big River Ready Mix Inc. purchased the Dennis Co. concrete business in Ilwaco in May, changes have been occurring rapidly. Big River, based in Astoria, is owned by Mike Sarin, Clyde Stanley and Tony Ewing, and also operates Big River Excavating in Astoria and Big River Rock in Gearhart.
Keith Wright, of Long Beach, is general manager of the Ilwaco facility. He worked for Northwest Ready Mix in Astoria for several years before joining Big River.
Rod Goulet, who was with Dennis Co. for many years, stayed on to manage the precast portion of the business. Office Manager Vicki Davis has been with the company since 1992. She said the business was formerly Hart's Concrete which provided concrete for the construction of the Astoria Bridge in the 1960s. Ollie Oman also owned and operated the business years ago. It was purchased by Dennis Co. in April of 1995.
Wright says the company will be expanding. "We've cleaned up the area and will be putting in a new concrete batch plant, a new office and a new shop." He said he's "really looking forward to expanding the precast portion of the business. There's a good future for it here." Precast products will include catch basins, bumper curbs and concrete picnic tables. "The possibilities are endless," Wright said. Currently, the precast section of the business produces septic tanks and concrete blocks.
"We brought in experienced people" to operate the business, Wright said. Richard Moore, formerly an employee of Northwest Ready Mix, has 18 years experience as a mechanic/driver. "All our drivers have two to 25 years experience, most have at least 14 years," Wright said. "Expansion is in the future. We looked for people who know the business and have put together a very capable and experienced crew. We've upgraded the office and the facilities and will continue to improve on the existing business."
Wright said what's happening at Big River "will be good for the community. We have a clean, well-run facility and a neighbor-friendly environment."