Welcome to our new website! I can’t believe it’s been seven years since I became the owner of Huckestein Mechanical Services.
When I assumed the helm, I believed the company to be a stable, profitable business in need of fresh ideas and direction. With a little management and focus I could refine and grow the operation. Within three months however, I unearthed the truth – I had taken on financial losses, mounting debt, lacking processes and a badly damaged brand.
To recuperate, I had to:
- identify and focus on our assets – highly skilled technicians, versatile designers, industry knowledge, and loyal customers;
- reorganize and evaluate to determine profitability and performance;
- surrounded myself with the best talent available to address the deficiencies;
- and better educate myself on the industry.
Being an HVAC industry newcomer, I was not constrained by history or how things should be done. I didn’t let my status as the only woman-owned and operated contractor in a male-dominated, union industry deter me. Nothing was off limits. It was, and continues to be, a time of unprecedented change yielding record improvement and profitability.
Some three years ago, my son, Jonathan, joined the company as our CFO. He gave up a career in investment banking to join me in furthering the success of our company. His financial acumen and diligence has put us on a growth trajectory I could never have imagined.
Around the same time, Walter Coale Staso, our family golden doodle joined the operation. Walter has solidified the Huckestein family. Employees and visitors alike look forward to the warm greeting they receive when Walter sees them.
As I approach a milestone birthday, I could not be happier that I made the choice to take on the Huckestein challenge. It’s not always been easy, in fact there were times I didn’t think I could continue. As a woman, I was torn between taking care of my home family and making sure my employees had good jobs to support theirs. I started this job when my daughter, Amanda, was a senior in high school. She’s now graduated college and just completed her first year as a special education teacher. Keith continued to achieve success as a real estate developer, without the support he was used to from me. We lost Grandpap Staso, and our remaining parents are aging. My house is a mess. We don’t have home-cooked meals very often. And the laundry keeps piling up.
On the plus side, Huckestein has doubled in revenue and employment since our lowest point in 2011. Nearly 50 families depend on us. We’ve diligently stuck to our business model, and the work we have is high margin with limited risk. Through networking and the Women Presidents’ Organization, I’ve met many kindred spirits, other women business owners who face the same work-life challenges I have. Challenges that men never even think, let alone worry, about.
Best of all, I’ve modeled for my children that women can tackle any challenge. It is that of which I’m most proud. That I, and many women like me, are molding the next generation to believe that hard work pays off.
The photo below is of us last Christmas . Until next time…..