January Employee Spotlight

As we welcome the new year, we’d like to continue our employee spotlight series by introducing you to Scott Willis, our ERP Administrator. Scott joined our employee owned family in May and has immersed himself into our ESOP culture by supporting all things P21. While sitting down with Scott, we had the opportunity to learn more about his strengths and passions. 

What is your role? Briefly describe what you do.

“I am an ERP Administrator. I handle anything related to Prophet 21 (P21). This includes the management of data, setting up new users, resolving end user issues or bugs within P21, establishing and/or improving process, etc.”

Who/what inspires you?

“My kids are my biggest inspiration. I have 2 girls and a boy. My oldest daughter is 14, my son is 6 and my youngest daughter is 4.”

If you had to pick one strength you bring to the team, what would it be?

“Identifying and solving problems. I’ve been blessed with the gift of problem solving, often when no one thought or realized any existed.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I love to go camping and kayaking. One of our family’s favorite spots is the San Marcos River. I have quite a bit of family in town there, and we really enjoy getting all the kids together and taking to the water, while spending our nights under the open sky.”

If you could learn how to do one thing, what would it be?

“I would like to learn to speak additional languages.”

Where were you born?

“I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. I moved to Houston in 2010.”

What’s the best thing about your job?

“I enjoy the variety that comes along with my job. There are many different aspects of my job that allow me to constantly work on something new and different.”

What’s been one of your proudest moments at EOHI?

“I’ve been a part of EOHI for just a couple of months now, and I’ll admit the ESOP experience has been a culture shock for me. While I haven’t had a “Eureka!” or “Out of this World” moment yet, there is a sense of pride, drive, and responsibility you get from people here I don’t recall witnessing with previous jobs.”

How do you define success?

“Success to me is finding your gift and using to establish a livelihood, i.e. Making a living doing something you would be willing to do for free.”

Where is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?

“I’ve gotten to visit many cool places, but Costa Rica has been the best one so far.”

Message from the President: This Holiday Season – Thankful for our Customers & Employees

I would like to take a moment this holiday season to sincerely thank our customers for entrusting our family of employee-owned companies with their projects and the opportunity to earn their business in 2019. One of our most important values as a company is “laser customer focus”, and we plan to never take for granted the partnerships we have with our valued customers.

It takes a team of the right people doing the right things to deliver on our promises.  I am so proud of our team of employee owners and thankful for their hard work this past year.  We strive to maintain a family-centered culture at our group of companies, and continually look for ways to develop teamwork, grow talent and find the next generation of incredibly capable employees. 

This year we invested resources to bring many employees together at our annual sales meeting to learn about the enhancements in technology with electrohydraulic and fully electric technology, network with their peers and learn about sister company capabilities.  We provided eight (8) interns with the opportunity to rotate through various departments of the company, work on critical projects and present to top management about their internship experience. We also hosted the future generation of talent with 81 children attending our “Bring Your Child to Work” day at our offices where they had a chance to tour the facility, participate in STEM activities and experience a day in the work life of their parents.

Finally, we realize that part of our responsibility as a company is to care for our surrounding communities.  We built a team of 15 employees representing each office location, and led by our employee-elected board member, Tim Nichols.  This team was able to lead a company-wide effort to gather 11,527 meals for those in need in their local community and collected over 500 toys for local charity organizations during the holiday season.

I wish all of our customers, employees and those in our community a safe and joyous holiday season.  We look forward to serving youin the new year.


Richard Neels, Employee Owned Holdings, Inc. President & CEO

EOHI Employee Spotlight – November 2019

Our employee spotlight series is back! This month, we’ve chosen to highlight Christina Hernandez, our Client Service Representative for Hydraquip at our San Antonio office. We sat down with Christina to get to know her better and learn why she loves being a part of our EOHI family.

What is your role? Briefly describe what you do.

“I am a client service representative in inside sales at our San Antonio office. My day consists of receiving orders from customers, shipping out orders to customers, communicating with customers via phone and email to answer any questions relating to orders and deliveries, and promoting products to all customer inquiries.” 

Who/what inspires you?

“My mom is my biggest inspiration. She is the strongest person I know. She’s 64 and struggling with various health issues, yet she is still working. On top of working, she provides for our family and cares for her 15-acre farm. She has raised my sister’s daughter who has struggled with mental health issues. My mom constantly keeps on going and always puts her family before others.”

If you had to pick one strength you bring to the team, what would it be?

Christina’s Branch Manager, Wade Lowe said, “Christina is the most reliable person I have worked with. She remains consistent and is involved with everything that we do in outside sales.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“When I’m not working, I enjoy hanging out with my family. My husband and I love grabbing a craft beer, decorating the house or working in the yard. We also love getting to spend time with our two daughters.”

If you could learn how to do one thing, what would it be?

“If I could go back in time and do it differently, it would be pursuing a career in nursing. My mom has been a nurse and I love seeing her getting to help so many people. It would be cool to get to study that field so that I could help inspire others in the way that my mom has.”

Where were you born?

“I was born in Kansas City, Missouri. I have been in San Antonio since 2011, but prior to that I lived in New Mexico, Florida and Colorado. Out of all these places, New Mexico and Colorado were my favorites.”

What’s the best thing about your job?

“I love how small and intimate our office is. There are only 3 of us working here so we can build close relationships with one another that lead to more success. Our office has a mom and pop feel that makes it enjoyable to come in every day.”

How do you define success?

“In my opinion, success is not defined by material things like money. It is defined by happiness- how happy you are doing what you love with the people you’re with.”

Where is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?

“I think the coolest place I’ve traveled to is Moab, Utah. While vacationing there, we went on a river rafting excursion, a Hummer tour on the cliffs and ATV tours throughout the mountains. Utah is a very pretty place with a lot of fun outdoor activities to partake in.”

Let’s Celebrate! ESOP Awareness Month Is in Full Swing

The month of October is identified as a time to celebrate the incredible spirit of employee ownership, recognize those who have gone above and beyond in the contributions to this company, and educate our fantastic employees about the future of our employee owned company.

At EOHI we strive to live by our company values – Acts with Integrity, Laser Customer Focus, Work Smart, Always Seeking Improvement, and Produce Results. This month, we honored several different employee owners who exhibit these values throughout our business.  We use these values to focus on how we work together as employee owners for our company’s growth and sustainability.

For example, Amy Vick, Accounting Associate at EOHI, was recognized at EOHI for her  laser customer focus. We asked Amy why she loves working at an ESOP company where she responded, “I appreciate working for such a great company where my input is valued and respected. I have vested interest in the success of our company and work hard to ensure I am doing my part to help the company prosper.”

It all begins with our Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). It is a unique retirement program where the employees receive stock in the company over time. As the company grows, so does the retirement accounts of our great employees.

Our employees take pride in the ESOP program for many reasons. Here are just a few benefits for being an ESOP company:

  • ESOP companies pay wages that are 5-12% higher than non-ESOP companies in the same industry.
  • Retirement account balances are 2.5 times higher.
  • ESOP companies grow 2.5 times faster than those companies without employee ownership.
  • Employee-owned companies are superior in performance, employee benefits and employee motivation.

As an ESOP company, the employees “own” the business. Each person has a stake in the outcome of “our” company. We move together as a team, so we all have a vested interest in the growth and success of our customers and our company.

An Intern’s Perspective

Our Campus Ambassador Program allows interns to be hired on for the summer and gain hands-on experience within each of our employee owned companies. Learn what it’s like to intern at Supreme Integrated Technology through Tyler Foreman’s perspective, who concluded this program last month.

“During my summer as an engineering intern at Supreme Integrated Technology I learned so many useful skills that has propelled me forward in both my education as well as preparation for my career. I worked on a wide variety of projects in the fast-paced atmosphere of the office including designing parts, drawings and assembly of a items for hydraulic power applications. After speaking with many of my peers back at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette who are also doing summer internships at different companies it really gave me a sense of the realization of just how valuable of an experience that Supreme Integrated Technology has given me.

I really didn’t know what to expect when I showed up for my first day of my internship because I have never experienced a summer internship before. I figured that I would be doing minor projects around the office, mostly just tedious tasks that the other engineers just didn’t feel like doing. I was also skeptical because I have had no experience in school learning about hydraulic and fluid power experience because it is not taught in our curriculum. But when I showed up, I felt as though I was being treated as a new hire, not a summer intern. I had so many questions when I first showed up and I was greeted with more answers and support that I could have possibly expected. I was included on all the meetings to learn how projects are reviewed step by step as the design process goes from start to finish. This allows the Mechanical Engineers to receive needed feedback from each other, being that these are custom hydraulic systems, every project that they receive could be completely different from the last. This allows for an incredible learning experience in an engineer’s career and having this level of support from the team you work with provides better engineers and a successful company. After the first meeting that I sat in on, I had so many questions regarding many of the symbols as well as terms that they were using because they were very unfamiliar to me. Everyone present has a prompt answer to each question that I had and made sure that I knew it before they were done explaining. After the meeting one of the engineers sat me down and proceeded to give me a Hydraulics 101 course on all the basics in order to familiarize myself with the work that they did. I was amazed by how knowledgeable he was and so thankful for his willingness to take an hour and a half out of his day to teach me everything from common symbols that are used in the schematic to common equations that are used in hydraulic calculations.

Being a student for most of my life I have not been able to get a lot “real world” experience when it came to the field of engineering. It was nice to see all the technical studies that I learned in school come to life in the work place. Sometimes as a student it feels like we are in a constant cycle of tedious concepts that we are forced to learn and memorize, which I find makes it difficult to determine what is important and what is applicable in the workplace. As I was working my internship this summer, I really enjoyed seeing these classes come to life in my work. One of the most rewarding parts of this job was seeing a project go from the design phase, to the calculation phase, then to go out into the shop to witness these ideas and design become physical projects. I felt such a sense of excitement when I attended the Campus Ambassador Program in Houston. While we were there meeting with all the different companies in EOHI and was able to ask questions regarding what each company does. When we were on the tour of Supreme Integrated Technology in Houston, they brought us into the shop to see all the current projects we had going on. I was looking around and I saw a familiar item that was in an opened box. It was a pinion that the engineers in New Orleans had me design and make a model of. This was the first time that I had seen a physical item that I designed sitting on the floor in front of me. I will always remember that moment because that was the first time that I felt like a true engineer.

Overall, I have cherished my summer internship experience here at Supreme Integrated Technology. I learned so many useful skills and experience that has molded me into a more confident student as well as a hungry engineer eager to graduate in December so that I can start my career. From life lessons given to me by my mentors, technical knowledge, industry experience and what it is like to work day-to-day as a Mechanical Engineer. As a student so close to graduation, I began to question whether the major I chose was the right pick for me. After working this summer, I know now that there is no other place that I want to be. I have such a renewed passion for my career choice, and I am so thankful for Supreme Integrated Technology simply putting me to work so that I could realize that.”

We appreciate all the hard work and fresh ideas Tyler brought to our team of employee owners. We wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors!  

EOHI Employee Spotlight: August 2019

This month for our employee spotlight series, we’ve chosen to highlight GCC’s Managing Director for the Northwest, Joe Kane. Joe has only been with GCC for a short time period but has already exhibited so much passion and embraced our company culture. We sat down with Joe to get to know him better and find out why he values being a part of our EOHI family.

What is your role? Briefly describe what you do.

“I am the Managing Director for the Northwest Region. I am responsible for every GCC employee in Seattle, Oregon and eastern Washington. This includes everything from sales to operations to engineering to field service. I oversee anything and everything that happens with more than 30 employees and our customers.”

Who/what inspires you?

“My parents and grandparents are an inspiration to me. My dads’ parents came here from Scotland and my moms’ parents came from Ireland. My parents were the first people in my family to be born in the states. Their parents left with the shirt on their backs and a small suitcase to create a life for their children. Although my parents came from nothing with no higher education, they were able to raise 10 children who all graduated with a college degree.”

If you had to pick one strength you bring to the team, what would it be?

“One of my biggest strengths is the ability to collaborate and pull groups of people together to solve a problem. I can understand what needs to be done and how to pull people who are doing different tasks to take care of customers. I am a firm believer of solving problems together verses doing it on my own. Without customer solutions, we wouldn’t have a business.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I have three children who are all involved in different youth sports activities. My 10-year-old does ballet, my 12-year-old plays basketball, baseball and swims and my 14-year-old plays football and lacrosse. Between all these different activities, my free time is dedicated to all their practices, games and performances.”

If you could learn how to do one thing, what would it be?

“I wish I knew how to speak German. When I worked for Bosch Rexroth there were many instances where conversations were being spoken in German, so it would’ve been cool to be able to participate and understand this dialog.”

Where were you born?

I was born in Long Island, New York. I moved to Kent to begin my new career at GCC but had lived in the west coast prior to this move.”

What’s the best thing about your job?

“I love the wide range of applications for products. There are so many different problems to solve each day. One day you can be working in the saw mill with industrial hydraulics and the next day you could be working on farm tractor or fishing boat. With so many different applications, I never seem to get bored.”

What’s been one of your proudest moments at GCC?

“I have only been with GCC for a short period of time but have already seen how all of the employees come together to achieve a goal. When the Kent location relocated, we were able to pick up and move everything within 12 days. We managed to get out of the old building without having to pay rent on both buildings for the next month. We had a lot of people come from Portland and Houston to assist with the move. There were many long days of work to ensure the new location was up and running on time.”

How do you define success?

“Most successful people I know are happy, healthy and self-reliant. Success is not about money. It is truly about knowing where you contribute and feel good about the contribution. It is about living up to your full potential.”

Where is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?

“It is hard for me to narrow it down to just one place because I have traveled to 5 out of 7 continents and seen about 40 countries. Out of all these places, Kauai has stuck out to me as being one of the most beautiful islands.”

EOHI Employee Spotlight: July 2019

EOHI is filled with dedicated employees. This employee spotlight series highlights our talented individuals who work with us. For July, we’ve chosen to highlight Toney Tolbert, our Production Coordinator for Hydraquip at our Houston office. We asked Toney some questions to get to know him better and to see why he enjoys being a part of our EOHI family.

What is your role at Hydraquip? Briefly describe what you do.

“I am the Production Coordinator (in Houston Texas). I manage the entire Hose and Couplings department with a team by overseeing all daily operations. Our department produces hydraulic kits for various customers in the area. On average, we produce 2,500 hoses a month.”

Who/What inspires you?

“Tim Nichols, Hydraquip President, because he has respectable qualities that make him a great President and I try to display his qualities of integrity and loyalty throughout my daily life. Gordan Shellhaas, former Vice President of Hydraquip, also inspires me because he moved up through the ranks to become a top performer with excellent leadership qualities. I aspire to grow into a leadership role.”

Where were you born?

“I was born and raised right here in Houston, TX.”

If you had to pick one strength you bring to the team, what would it be?

“My ability to multitask in different roles such as shipping, inside and outside sales. I provide a lot of versatility to the team.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I’m a home body. I enjoy watching Netflix, specifically shows like Narcos and Ozark. When I’m not relaxing with Netflix, I like to work on cars.”

What’s the best thing about your job?

“I love the flexibility about my job. It is cool being trusted with certain tasks and not having a supervisor worrying about whether the job will get done.”

What’s been one of your proudest moments at Hydraquip?
“One of my proudest moments was when James Cooper, Account Manager, chose for me to go on my first outside sales call with him. We worked a full 24 hours that day. Having his trust and faith in me to get everything done correctly with a huge client was something I’ll never forget.”

If you could learn how to do one thing, what would it be?

“I wish I knew foreign languages, especially French. I always admire people I see or meet who are speaking different languages and think it would be cool to be able to join in on their conversations in their language of choice.”

Thank you, Toney, for all your hard work and dedication to our company. We appreciation all that you do!

Employee Owned Holdings, Inc. Announces Senior Director of Marketing and Talent Development

Houston, TX – June 14, 2019 – Employee Owned Holdings, Inc. (EOHI) today announced the advancement of Jennifer Werth with her new title as the company’s Senior Director of Marketing and Talent Development. Jennifer had previously been serving as the company’s Marketing Director, overseeing the marketing department companywide and developing strategic initiatives to enhance relationships with the customers and manufacturers of EOHI’s subsidiaries: Hydraquip, Inc., Supreme Integrated Technology, Inc., Elite Controls, Inc. and GCC (Gulf Controls Company, Inc.). With this advancement, Jennifer will have further responsibilities in assisting with the company’s recruiting, training, and other HR efforts.

Jennifer joined EOHI in 2013 as its Director of Marketing until in 2017, when she took a year off to be closer to her family in Alaska, working and living in Seattle, Washington. She returned to EOHI in 2018 having gained further development in her marketing expertise from the experience. Jennifer’s work has since been predictably superb, with Jennifer being named Employee of the Month for the entire company for April 2019.

“We sincerely appreciate all the work and effort Jennifer provides this company,” says Richard Neels, President and CEO of EOHI. “She is a whirlwind of activity, industriously confirming that our companies present and operate as the world-class organizations that they are.”

“I look forward to this new role as I assist my fellow employees in this expanded capacity,” says Jennifer. “This company deserves the very best and I want to do what I can to make sure this is accomplished.”

EOHI is a 100% employee owned company based in Houston, Texas and serves as the parent of Hydraquip, Inc., Supreme Integrated Technology, Inc., Gulf Controls Company, Inc. and Elite Controls, Inc., companies specializing in the power equipment and motion controls industry.

GCC Welcomes Joseph Kane as its Managing Director for Pacific Northwest Region

Portland, OR – June 3, 2019: GCC (Gulf Controls Company, Inc.) announces the hiring of Joseph Kane as Managing Director for the Pacific Northwest region (GCC NW) to lead and oversee the GCC offices in Kent (Seattle), Washington, Spokane, Washington and Portland, Oregon.

Joseph joins the company with nearly 30 years of experience in the fluid power industry. Since graduating from West Point in 1990 and serving overseas, Joseph served in progressive sales and operations roles with well-known industrial manufacturers like Alcoa, Bosch Rexroth, Atos, Swagelok and Hydraulex Global. Joseph brings his leadership and communication skills from both large and small organizations to GCC NW where he will implement long term business strategies to achieve the company’s objectives.   

“I am thrilled to join the GCC NW team,” says Joseph. “The majority of my career has been spent in the fluid power industry and I look forward to bringing my knowledge and experience to GCC NW.”  

“We are very excited to welcome Joseph to the GCC team,” says John Flieman, III, CEO of GCC. “His experience in the fluid power industry, accompanied by his leadership skills, will allow him to be a huge asset to GCC NW.”

GCC has the ability in hydraulics, pneumatics, fluid conveyance and automation knowledge to provide world class products and complete fluid power systems to its customers. GCC is part of EOHI, a 100% employee owned company based in Houston, Texas. EOHI is also the parent of Hydraquip, Inc., Supreme Integrated Technology, Inc., and Elite Controls, Inc.



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