• Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business.

H2I Group is a specialty subcontractor that has been headquartered in Minneapolis for almost 100 years. We’re an employee-owned company committed to being a trusted partner to help our clients build, design, and maintain exceptional spaces. These spaces may be a school gymnasium, research laboratory, makerspace, auditorium, and more. We excel at being a resource on the project team and being a part of the entire project process from the beginning, presenting the best athletic, laboratory, technical education, architectural, woodwork, seating, storage, and service solutions depending on the needs of the project. In addition, we stay involved with our project management and install teams to ensure we finish strong on each project.

  • Kindly give us a brief description about yourself.

I had a couple of jobs after graduating from North Dakota State University but started my career at H2I Group in October of 1999. 24 years later I think my involvement and exposure to all areas of our business has really been a benefit. After starting in sales, I relocated to Chicago and transferred to management. I have been fortunate to be involved in M&As, organic expansions, as well as travel and get exposure to all our regions and the different markets we serve. Knowing our employees and all aspects of our business has prepared me well.

In my newest role, I oversee all operations nationwide across our 18 office locations and will continue to lead our talented group of General Managers and executives. We have a wonderful, dedicated, and experienced team that shares my values of employee ownership, teamwork, communication, collaboration, and trust.

A little about my life beyond work… I am an extremely proud father to my three children – Paige, Faith, and Derek – and have been happily married to my wife, Joanna, for over 25 years. I am a dedicated Dallas Cowboys fan, and in my free time, you can usually find me with my family or attending one of my kids’ football, volleyball, or hockey games.

  • What inspired you to make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?

It starts with our people (employee-owners). Our employees are our number one asset and our diversity in geography, products, and markets is number two. Supporting and focusing on these areas has enabled us to remain a healthy company coming up on 100 years in business.

As for a little company history, Haldeman-Homme, Inc. (now H2I Group) originated in 1924 when W.W. “Duke” Haldeman founded the Industrial Supply Company, distributors of equipment to the industrial market. In 1940, Duke Haldeman entered into a partnership with W.R. Langford, and the company became known as Haldeman-Langford. J.E. “Jack” Homme joined the company in 1946 and directed and expanded the business into an architectural/contract sales group in the rapidly growing school and hospital markets. The company evolved from there over time adding more markets and many more services and solutions. We went through a series of company acquisitions and updated our company name to H2I Group in 2021.

  • What three pieces of advice would you give to budding leaders?

1. Be challenged by what you do.

2. Always put effort towards what you do no matter what it is with a positive attitude.

3. Remember to have some fun.

  • What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful leader?

1. Build the right team and trust them to do what they do best.

2. Listen and take input from the team.

3. Don’t be afraid to make tough decisions that you know are right for the company.

  • How many hours do you work a day on average?

12

  • To what do you most attribute your success?

I most attribute my success to my upbringing, work ethic, and the team I am surrounded by.

  • How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

We hope that our years of success and many projects that have been completed in the different areas of our business speak for themselves. A happy customer is the best marketing. We are a part of many different associations and attend 50-100 tradeshows and events each year across the country in different industries. Our solutions specialists and project teams are out there meeting with architects, general contractors, and owners. Our biggest marketing success within the past year is our brand new and beautiful website that showcases the actual projects that we have completed and the depth of services and solutions we provide. Our team continues to add relevant and useful content and projects for our customers. We try to be where our customers are and if we can’t, then we hope to show up for them online when they have questions and are looking for solutions.

  • Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?

We’ve always been a fiscally responsible company and Jack Homme was instrumental in setting us up financially and turning us into an ESOP company. Jack Homme joined the company in 1946 and was instrumental in expanding the business into different markets, growing the business, and creating the ESOP culture that we know today. The company became 100% employee-owned in 1987.

  • What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

You have to have a plan but be able to pivot when the world or markets you serve change unexpectedly.

  • Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

In 5-10 years, I see myself in the same role at H2I Group. As a company, we will continue to focus on the bottom line and have healthy and manageable revenue growth.

  • Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

I like what Ford is doing with staying true to legacy, yet advancing with today’s world, products, and customer demands.

  • How important have good employees been to your success?

Good employees are critically important. As stated above, it starts with great people and assembling the right teams. Communication, collaboration, consistency, and accountability are key.

  • How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

It completely depends on the idea, size, and scope of it. I constantly question, once the team has had an open, challenging conversation that often dictates how or if an idea is implemented.

  • What motivates you?

My wife and kids are my number one motivation. Secondly, I take the responsibility to make this company even better for the next generation of employee-owners very seriously and that motivates me.

  • What are your ideals?

I believe that if we continue to focus on communication, collaboration, consistency, and accountability, it will ensure we do what is right for the company. As we continue to do these things, there really is no limit for us.

  • How do you generate new ideas?

I listen with my eyes and ears. I ask a lot of questions and listen to our leaders and our customers.

  • How do you define success?

Success is having consistently happy customers and happy employees. The ultimate success for me is being able to reward our employee-owners so they can support their families and build a solid retirement.

  • How do you build a successful customer base?

Communication and Trust – We have to do what we say, do it with honesty and integrity, and communicate with them throughout the whole project process.

  • What is your favorite aspect of being a leader?

My favorite thing to do as a leader is to set a clear goal and achieve it.

  • What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

My most satisfying moment is being able to have a positive impact on our team and the company.

  • What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

With H2I Group being a 100% employee-owned company, our team has a much deeper connection with each of our projects, meaning a greater commitment to our clients and their success. We invest ourselves, our resources, and our knowledge into every project. I believe our employee-owners are H2I Group’s best asset. I have seen firsthand that when employees feel empowered to make decisions and take educated risks, they can do incredible things.

  • What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?

We have evolved a lot in the past 3-5 years. I think transparency and communication have increased and we have a greater understanding of our company goals. Our culture is more collaborative than ever. Employee ownership has been at the heart of H2I Group’s success for decades. The ESOP model fosters a culture of shared responsibility and teamwork, driving better results for the company and our clients.

  • In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.

Growth

For more information visit us at : https://h2igroup.com