First there was Konen Rock Products, founded by Milton and Lorraine; then son Tom created Konen Rock Crushing; and then sons Bob and Dave, and their wives Susan and Patty, created Koncrete Industries – with Mom Lorraine deciding concrete should be spelled with a K to reflect the Konen name.
The first major purchase by Koncrete Industries was a concrete batch plant that had to be hauled from Tompkinsville, Kentucky – the first computer-operated batch plant in the Walla Walla Valley.
Now they had the equipment but no place to operate it.Thanks to Milt's good relationship with Transtate Asphalt, they were able to secure property on Dell Avenue that was already zoned properly.
With only one truck, the first load was batched and delivered the first week of July 1989 and Koncrete Industries was officially in business with family members filling the needed roles.
It was a hit.More trucks and drivers were needed.Dave traveled to Jonesboro, Arkansas to buy the second truck and drive it home to Walla Walla.Now it was a two-truck operation; then two more trucks were purchased and two drivers were hired.
Business continued to grow and one of their two main competitors, Ready-Mix Concrete of Milton-Freewater, decided to retire and cease operations abruptly.His employees were suddenly without jobs.Luckily for them, Koncrete Industries was hiring – a win-win.But of course, that meant more trucks had to be purchased for the new drivers.
Residents of the Walla Walla Valley saw all these new Koncrete Industries trucks everywhere and realized the two Konen "youngsters," were in it to win it.
If you only looked at our office files, you might think Koncrete Industries didn't do that much for the Fair and Fairgrounds.The first thing we found was a $100 sponsorship of a Demolition Derby heat race in 1998.They continued that the next year but also sponsored horse racing – and then went back to just the Demo Derby after that. Apparently, they like things with motors that go fast.
In 2002 they were recognized for their support in helping "create the best multi-purpose facility in the valley – the County Exposition Building."
They stepped up again when we needed to purchase a trailer to transport our stagecoach to parades all over the Northwest and beyond.
Last year they were a huge supporter of our new readerboard – to the tune of over $5,000 -- on
paper – but again, these numbers don't begin to do justice for what Koncrete Industries has done and continues to do for the Walla Walla Fair and Fairgrounds.
Their support over the past 25+ years is immeasurable but trying to recognize them for all they do is pretty tough.Like others we're recognizing tonight, Koncrete Industries always stays behind the scenes.They're not doing it to get a pat on the back or their name on a plaque; they do what they do because they see a need in their community and they step up.Quietly, efficiently, always with the attitude of just wanting to help.