“All three of the officers worked for a bunch of other pretty large industrial and marine contractors, and one thing led to another and we all ended up working for this one particular company,” said Cornelius, who is HCI’s vice president and has worked in the industry since 1988.
“We were used to running or managing multimillion-dollar jobs for other companies. They offered to sell us the company in 2005, so we sold our homes and did it,” he added.
“Tom Tapscott handles all our personnel, hiring and firing, and running all the work in the fields,” noted Hasselbalch.
The three had all the experience necessary to succeed in their newly acquired business, and before long the company started to grow.
“We were doing all the work,” said Hasselbalch. “And then we started growing from there.” As it expanded, the company became a union contractor and started hiring union employees.
HCI moved from Vancouver to Brush Prairie, and has just recently settled into a new location in Minnehaha to start its ninth year in business.
The partners have seen changes throughout their decades of experience in the field, particularly regarding training and certifications.
According to Hasselbalch, keeping up with government-delegated training is a huge part of maintaining and growing the business. Water and sewer agencies, for example, require certified coatings technicians on their projects.
“There’s more expertise; we’re having to acquire more certifications,” said Hasselbalch.“We’re a QP1 (industrial & marine painting) and QP2- (removal of hazardous coatings) certified contractor as well as an EPA-certified contractor.”
HCI saw peak success in 2008 before the recession hit and has been working toward reaching those numbers again.
“We’re getting closer and closer to it every year,” Hasselbalch noted. The company just hired a new estimator for the increase in business “so we can get more numbers out there and get more darts that hit the board,” he explained.
For now, the ambitious company may be smaller in size than some of its competitors, but with so much experience and a new building to grow into, Hasselbalch said HCI is on solid ground.
“Our expectation for the future is to grow our company, to be one of the leaders in our industry,” he said.
HCI has two locations: a 3.1-acre property in Woodland that was purchased before the recession hit, which is currently being held for future anticipated growth, and the new location in Minnehaha, which is being used to fit the company’s needs in the meantime.