Growing up, David watched his father build homes, manage a lumberyard, and constantly work on various projects. David took an interest in these things at a very young age. He spent a lot of time watching his father work and he enjoyed helping in any way that he could. The interest in building and designing things a very common trait throughout David’s family. Having engineers as uncles and architects as cousins, there was a lot of exposure to different aspects of building and design.
David spent his summers working with his father in the lumberyard and helping build his family home on the outskirts of town. Working with cement became fascinating to David at a very young age. When big bags of cement broke, he was quick to fill nail bags with it to take home where he then started making concrete bricks.
David hit many big milestones throughout his teenage life. At the age of 14, David was hired for a full time job by one of the contractors who worked with his father. Here, he developed his carpentry skills and was head brick tender. By the age of 17, David was strongly encouraged to start his own concrete contracting company to help meet the demands for sidewalks, driveways, patios, and porches. His business kept him very busy for a few summers.
David graduated as valedictorian of his class and quickly discovered he had a passion for engineering and geology. In 1970, he graduated with his degree as a geologist. Following graduation, David was offered two jobs. The first was as a geologist for offshore drilling rigs and the other was a geologist deep underground in the uranium mines of New Mexico. David lived in N.M. only for a few months when he got the phone call that his father had become very ill. He then made the decision to move back to Hays to help his mom and assist with his dad’s business.
David combined his love for construction and concrete with home building and soon he was building spec homes using precast (fractured fin) decorative concrete panels. Before long David was involved in several Architectural commercial projects with banks, churches, jails, etc. The County Jail project in 1973 was large and a demanding schedule over the winter months, so David invested in a precast Plant made with large tilt up panels and a pre-stressed concrete roof. The architectural projects were interesting and educational but required retooling for every job with new form work, etc.
In 1975, a large modular home builder inquired about precast basement walls delivered to remote sites that were too challenging for ready mix delivery. Even when they could deliver to those remote sites the quality control was not good. The modular home needed precise foundations/basements that fit the premade homes.
This was the inspiration that David needed to develop the “Waffle-Crete” panel, since the panels were light weight, precise, strong as a solid 8” thick wall, but easily delivered to remote sites. These panels only had the equivalent thickness of about 3 ½ inches of material.
The challenge was to develop form work/molds that were economical and accurate. After much experimenting with other materials, such as Fiberglass, David came up with the idea of large thermoformed plastic for the mold bodies. Long story short, tooling was built and the Waffle-Crete molds were formed and used for basements and other projects including a 3 story all precast apartment building (walls and floor) finished in 1976. The 24 units of apartments were constructed in about 3 months total time and it was apparent that this “Waffle-Crete” was much more than just a basement wall panel.
Other Waffle-Crete apartment projects were soon built and orders came in for motels, hotels, and commercial buildings.
About this time, a feature article came out in “Modern Concrete” magazine featuring the apartment project and how fast and nice it was. The phone began ringing off the hook with calls from builders all over the USA and Canada. Over the next few years WC went from a regional system to a national system, with over 50 other builders jumping on the bandwagon in their areas.
Van Doren Industries, Inc., as it was called at that time, began exhibiting WC at trade shows and advertising in concrete construction magazines and the interest grew to international companies.
A new product was developed for large modular concrete communications shelters that were needed for the cellular towers springing up all over the country. Van Doren Ind. developed a complete system for producing large quantities of these buildings (12’ x 30’ x 10’ and weighing about 40 tons each. They were completely assembled and then outfitted with electrical, etc, finished and ready to “plug in” at the sites. Several hundred of these were built and shipped over the next several years, until the company they were made for decided they wanted to move the production into their own factories and hired Van Doren to help set them up. This had become a mainstay product and was missed when moved to the client’s factory.
In 1986, a call came in from Greece, where they had just experienced a severe 7.2 Earthquake with thousands of homes turned to rubble. Within days, structural engineers from Greece were in Hays to design WC apartments for a very ambitious project to build Earthquake resistant housing in a hurry. WC had already proven itself in California’s zone 4 seismic areas and WC was ICBO approved.
New applications for WC were developed for very large earth retaining walls, Large Artificial Reefs for Marine Habitat, for Army Corp of Engineers in Delaware Bay and Boston Harbor (part of Big Dig).
In about 1989, a 1000 bed precast concrete prison in El Dorado, KS was to be built. It was a large and demanding project with a one year completion deadline. At the height of this project, nearly 200 workers were employed and about half of those at a temporary precast plant set up near the prison site. Between the two plants, well over a hundred complicated prison panels per day were produced and then erected at the prison site.
By 1990, WC sales were being made for large projects in Indonesia and Philippines and there was strong interest from other nearby Asian countries. Indonesia, under President Suharto, was in the midst of large government funded affordable housing projects and WC became an important part of this. Large scale Seismic testing was performed in a new Japanese/Indonesian structural Libratory and WC passed the tests with flying colors. Orders were placed for WC molds and 1000’s of low cost apartments were built. The Philippines was also growing rapidly and needed a faster better way to build commercial buildings and economical housing. By the early 90’s, many WC projects were springing up all over Philippines, such as Days Inn Hotels in a dozen locations, 1000 units of housing at Subic Bay (former US Navy Base) and hundreds of commercial and industrial buildings. The speed and efficiency of WC was being demonstrated all over Philippines. Also WC’s proven Seismic resistance and abilities to stand up in 200mph typhoons was critical to its use.
Global Technology Building Systems has been perfected through the years and on many projects. A main focus has been to provide safe and affordable housing at a rapid pace to help build and rebuild communities all over the world. Dave and Rob have worked closely over the years to continue improving the systems. Their expertise in the industry is unmatched. Together, they have received much encouragement to continue with the Global Technology Building Systems and have worked to put these proven systems back on the market. The systems have over 40 years of successful use all over the world and in some of the most severe seismic and typhoon/hurricane areas of the globe. It has proven to be fast, economical, and durable.
Patents and trademarks were applied for along the way and approved over the years in many countries.
Tests and Approvals have been extensive and include: vertical load tests, Seismic tests in California and Indonesia, Fire and Tornado cannon tests, Bullet resistance tests for Israel, Thermal tests of various assemblies, etc., etc. Approvals include the ICBO, Agreement in South Africa, and the Israel Building Code. The Hybrid Column and Beam System also was extensively tested and has proven to be solid and reliable.
The new light weight “Grid-Crete” panels are being used on affordable housing projects in several parts of the world.