ABOUT PPE

A FAST START, STEADY GROWTH

The path to success for Precision Precast Erectors began to take shape in 2007, when a private developer approached Lou LaVé regarding the construction of a new landmark office building. That project prompted Lou and his son, Denny, to found PPE in early 2008.

The schedule for that office building was aggressive — 62 working days — and their fee depended on the ability to deliver quality, safety and incredible speed. In an industry where an installation rate of 15 precast pieces per day was exceptional, the PPE team averaged 27 pieces per day. The client was ecstatic with the work, not to mention the time and money saved.

Since 2008, PPE has continued to grow steadily, being named 5 times to the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies.

Much of that growth can be attributed to the company’s expansion of services, as steel projects now make up a significant portion of PPE’s portfolio. With a core staff of journeyman ironworkers, our new service offering provides quality steel building installations for our clients.

“We bring the same level of expertise and quality to our steel projects as we do for precast,” Denny says. “That has helped us expand more than we thought possible.”

What’s next for PPE? Responsible, strategic growth, he adds. “We’re hiring and training, of course, but our core focus is providing value for our clients on all projects.”

OUR CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE

Precision Precast Erectors has grown into an industry leader in the years since that first project, thanks to several different factors:

  • The experience, skill, and reputation of Lou, Denny and other key members of the PPE team.
  • A family atmosphere that fosters collaboration and innovation, where contributions and ideas are valued on merit — whether they come from top managers or crew members.
  • A continually evolving precast installation process that enables PPE to work more quickly than other erectors, staying on schedule and budget while maintaining quality.
  • Experienced ironworkers and foremen who ensure the same timeliness and quality for the company’s steel projects.
  • An unwavering dedication to excellence, as evidenced by our company’s status as a Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute Certified Erector and roster of satisfied clients.

YOUR PROJECT, OUR EXPERTISE

Call us at (208) 981-0060 or email info@ppe-llc.com to learn more about the benefits of working with Precision Precast Erectors, and how we can bring the same high standards of performance, speed and safety to your precast or steel project.

KEY TEAM MEMBERS

DENNY LAVE, FEARLESS LEADER / CO-FOUNDER

onken_20180801_PPE_PDX_226

Denny has more than 20 years of experience as an ironworker (and now nearly 15 as a business owner), but his resume is more varied than one would expect. After all, how many people in this industry — or any industry, for that matter — have spent two years exploring Europe, including time at a monastery in France? Upon returning from his travels, Denny achieved journeyman status as an ironworker in 2003. He has worked and managed projects throughout the western U.S., including several years in the Rocky Mountain region and California before coming to the Pacific Northwest. Today, he has stepped into a CEO-type role at PPE, focusing on strategy, vision and growth. Even as the industry and PPE continue to innovate, however, the company’s keys to success remain the same: staying on schedule and on budget, doing things the right way and helping clients mitigate the risks in every project. “We feel that the people who hire us are under our protection,” Denny says. “That’s why we always act with honesty and integrity.” Denny is active in the Catholic Church and spends his free time enjoying the outdoors, reading and sailing his Hobie Catamaran with his family. He and his wife, Gina, have six sons — along with a dog and cat. They live near Windy Bay in northern Idaho.

LOU LAVE, SALES & ESTIMATING MGR / CO-FOUNDER

With more than 40 years as a union ironworker and 30 years of precast and rigging experience, Lou’s track record and knowledge are unparalleled in the industry. His skill at managing projects both large and small, along with his ability to surround himself with top-caliber talent, have been instrumental in PPE’s success. “Hire the smartest people you can find,” he says. “Then, let them blossom and be geniuses!” As the company continues to grow, Lou has taken on additional sales duties while also serving as a mentor to PPE superintendents and other employees. “Our team has been expanding, so mentoring is really big for us right now — both in the office and in the field.” It’s fitting that Lou would co-found such a family-focused company: Born and raised in Montana, he is the 15th of 16 children and now has 11 kids of his own, along with 22 grandchildren. The family connection to PPE runs deep, too — three of his daughters, two sons, a son-in-law and even one daughter’s father-in-law are part of the company. “I’m really proud that we still have that family aspect,” he says. Lou attributes PPE’s “mind-boggling” growth to performance and staying on schedule. “We get repeat business because of the quality and speed of our work,” he says. “Schedule is everything in today’s market.”

onken_20180801_PPE_PDX_239

CALEB WOHLETZ, OPERATIONS LEADER

caleb-wohletz-ppe

Formerly a sealant specialist for PPE, Caleb became a foreman in 2016 and now runs work on precast projects in the field. A Kansas City native, he managed a crew doing architectural sheet metal for about 10 years before he was recruited to the Inland Northwest. Caleb has always worked for family companies, and his experience with PPE is no exception —. After almost five years with the company, Caleb has seen a lot of PPE’s growth first-hand. “It’s pushing us all to our limits, but in a good way,” he says. “It makes sure we’re on our ‘A’ game all the time.” And like his fellow employees, he remains impressed with how PPE has maintained such a positive environment where people feel valued and appreciated. Caleb, who used to be a competitive motorcycle racer, lives with his wife and their four children in Post Falls, Idaho. They’ve been married for 15 years.

CORY DAWSON, GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT

As an ironworker superintendent, Cory ensures PPE steel-erection jobs are run safely, efficiently and effectively. In addition to his responsibility for crews, equipment and interactions with general contractors, he also assists with bidding, estimating and even billing. Cory has more than 20 years as an ironworker, mostly in structural steel, and joined PPE about three years ago. His previous experience includes work in oil-field construction, lumber mills and house framing. As an industry veteran, he says the PPE difference is having experienced ironworkers who own the company — and who surround themselves with people who share the same passion for the trade. “Lou and Denny will say it’s us that makes them successful,” Cory says, “but they have built PPE into what it is.” Cory has two sons, one in college and one serving in the Army, as well as a daughter in high school. An Idaho native, he now lives in Lind, Wash., with his two miniature pinschers. In his spare time, he likes to collect sports memorabilia.

Cory Dawson, Ironworker Superindenten

VERN TRANTUM, PROJECT LEADER

Vern Trantum, PPE Field Superintendent
Vern got to know Lou and Denny while he was working for another precast firm — and after more than 20 years there, he left to join PPE. As a field superintendent and project manager, Vern handles several precast jobs at a time, from pre-job planning to running the crews as the work proceeds. As a PCI-certified auditor, he also ensures PPE projects meet the standards of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute and maintains the company’s certification. “I’m always on a job, but always planning others, too,” he says. “It can be stressful — I don’t have any hair, and I haven’t for a while!” That stress is offset by how PPE takes care of its employees, though, he adds. “I left a corporation that was all about the bottom line. Here’s, it’s not about profit at all costs.” Vern grew up in Spokane, where he earned the “Puggy Hunton Award” in school — joining a list of former winners that includes former NBA star John Stockton. He lives near Priest River with his wife of 23 years, Angie. They have five children, and enjoy family activities such as camping, picnics and day trips around the area.

SHAD MCDANIEL, PLANNING SUPERINTENDENT / PROJECT LEADER

Shad was the first employee hired by PPE’s founders — after taking a hiatus early in his tenure, he came back to help lead crews in the field. A journeyman ironworker and welder with more than 15 years of experience, he’s been around heavy equipment and construction since he started working for his family’s logging and excavation business as a teenager. He works primarily on PPE’s precast projects, although with his background, he can jump in and support steel work, too. “Here, everybody steps up. We figure out how to make it work,” he says. Born in Coeur d’Alene, he lives in the Athol-Bayview area in Idaho with his wife, Tara, and their daughter. He enjoys hunting in his spare time — and he enjoys working for a company committed to helping employees improve both personally and professionally. “We’re not blood, but for as much time as we spend with each other, we are a family,” he says. “Lou and Denny want everyone who works for them, clear down to the newest guy, to better themselves. They want the best for everybody.”

NICKI PERKINS, ESTIMATOR

Nicki

Nicki has 15+ years of experience in successful administrative support rolls, most of which pertain to the construction industry. She moved to Idaho in 2010 with her husband and three daughters after falling in love with the area while on vacation. In her spare time she enjoys raising rabbits and chickens, gardening and archery. Nicki has joined PPE as a junior estimator.

DAVID WIED, SALES AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Before joining the PPE family, David spent the previous 20 plus years in various management and sales roles in supply distribution, insurance and retail. Whether it was being a Distribution Branch Manager, Electronics Salesman, Insurance Agent or Retail Store Manager, the constant connection has always been serving the clients and company with honesty and integrity. “What really impressed me about PPE was the family focus weaved throughout the business,” he says. “Denny and Lou treat you like family and expect you to do the same for each other and our clients. ”This business mentality is what really attracted David to PPE. The mission statement is a living document, not just some nice words hanging on the wall. David lives with his wife of 29 years, Nerisa, in Post Falls, Idaho. They have six children (three boys and three girls) and a beautiful granddaughter! David enjoys outdoor activities with his family, especially fishing, hiking and road trips.

1567146320896

CRAIG ROGERS, PROJECT LEADER

-7161381867893593007

JASON MERZ, PROJECT LEADER

Jason is a new addition to PPE bringing 19 years of Ironworker experience to our team. A Spokane local, Jason co-owns a bar in town and enjoys hunting, fishing, and the outdoors.

Jason Merz

ANDREW WINTERS, PROJECT LEADER

JEAN-LUC LAVE, PROJECT LEADER

Jean-Luc LaVe is the third of five LaVe's to don the ironworker mantle, and did so in 2008. Since then he has gained experience in several different aspects of the trade, from rebar, structural steel, metal buildings and finally precast. Jean-Luc is a father to a two year old boy, a husband, and values family, work ethic and character. Growing up Jean-Luc raced motocross, played hockey and basketball and enjoyed all competitive sports. He is focused on gaining more knowledge and leadership skills to continue developing as a member of our team

Jean-Luc

MARISA RILEY, OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR 

Marisa
Marisa just joined the PPE team. She has 10 years of experience in the construction industry and has joined us as an Office Administrator. Marisa is originally from Colorado but moved to Idaho in middle school. In June of 2019 she bought her first house in Hayden. In her spare time, you can find her working on her house or camping and enjoying all that North Idaho has to offer. She also loves to travel and has made it as far as Thailand and plans to mark more countries off the list. “Working for this company is like a breath of fresh air. They truly do treat their employees like family and want you to be the best you can be both personally and professionally” Marisa says.

ROBIN MARKS, SAFETY DIRECTOR

Scroll to Top