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Concrete suits her

image Ashley Altum makes sure her Ashley Concrete crew has fun on their jobsites.

DALLAS/FT WORTH - From high heels to hard hats, Ashley Altum, the former CEO of Worlds of Wow, who manufactures kids-themed environments, has had to change a bit. When the company sold in 2017, Altum bought the assets of a residential concrete company. Full of ambitious plans, she made a hard shift to become a commercial concrete contractor, targeting some of DFW’s top general contractors.



    “We want to work with people we can trust, people we can partner with to turn out a high-quality product as a team, every single time,” Altum says.
    “I have sat with management teams in some incredible organizations and told them why I felt Ashley Concrete was a good fit,” Altum continues. “We work on a specific project size. We know what we are good at, how we do it, and why we all do it. We are working on fewer projects for fewer people so we can do them better.”
    One year in, Altum has had to prove herself in the industry, both as a newcomer and a woman. Although she struggles to locate fellow female construction business owners, Altum intuitively navigates challenges. She relies on the expertise of industry veterans, including company vice president James McWhorter and general superintendent Paul Stewart. She doesn’t tolerate jobsite negativity, insists on equal treatment for all employees, asks every question she can think of and personally goes out to job sites to address any client concerns. To keep a lean-running operation, she wears many hats, putting her Masters degree in business administration and CPA license to good use.
    Sometimes compared to the Energizer Bunny, Altum admits she “intimidates people” with her energetic positive approach, but says, “I won’t stop. Our crews have fun on the jobsite. We are different; we care about one another, we trust each other to do what is expected of a top-performing company.”
    She says almost every other com-mercial concrete contracting company is owned by someone who worked in the field, has a construction degree or is a laborer who worked their way up to their position.
    “The difference is that I come from a financial background,” Altum explains. “Strategy, planning, watching numbers, knowing where we are on every project through financials, metrics, policies, procedures, safety, the actual health of the organization – that’s what I think makes us different. I can hire smart concrete guys with degrees who know the things I don’t know. I can offer them the financial background to try and make our projects better every single time.”
    While Altum hopes to grow the company, she has her eye on quality, not quantity.
     “Our plan is to grow our revenue and brand very strategically in size and profit, but I don’t care about being the biggest. I want our reputation to be – financially and operationally – as a top performer in our industry. We’re going to give clients what they ask for every single time. It has really made people take a hard look at us. I think that’s what people are looking for in concrete, somebody who actually performs to the standards they say they can.
    “We are caregivers; we’re not trying to be the ruler,” she adds. “Ashley Concrete cares about our customers, our people and our projects. Without successful, long-lasting relationships and a track record of success in the field, we are no one. I want to thank every single customer, employee, vendor, and friend who has been there to support and navigate us through this incredible and challenging journey.”
    Ashley Concrete is a turnkey concrete contractor in Grapevine. –mjm

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Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net