What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the 75 years anniversary of Soep?
The first thing that comes to mind is how proud I am to be a part of the company’s history. It means everything to me to be leading this company as my father and grandfather were my mentors and the people I look up to the most.
What is unique about Soep that has led to the success and longevity?
What is unique and what I love about the company is that we don’t get too comfortable in our success. We continually are trying to better ourselves and develop new services and are continually trying to solve our customers’ problems by finding a better way to do “whatever.”
Soep has always prided itself on being a family-first company. What did your grandfather and father do to instill that culture? What have you done to maintain it?
I do consider us a family business, but it’s not just the Soeps that make up this family. Everyone that works here is family to me.
Our culture is a team culture in that we have shared goals and a singular purpose. We work together to get there. This is where “One Team One Dream” comes from. My grandfather and father felt the same way.
Everyone has a different management and leadership style… what do you think was unique about the previous generations that made them so successful? How do you compare/contrast yourself to them?
My grandfather was the most talented and creative person that I have ever met. He was a charismatic leader that inspired you want to be successful and be a part of something big. What is unique is that he started this company with 10 cents in his pocket (if that). I’ve always admired people that were able to do that. I think that concept is very rare and more difficult to pull off these days.
My father is a great businessman and leader. When dealing with him, “a deal is a deal is a deal.” His word is everything and there is no going back on his word. Sometimes people forget that simple value, and it gets lost in the shuffle of things.
I like to think I lead similar to them in those regards. I think my style is similar as well, only I may turn the volume up a little.
What do you think has changed most about your business over the years? What has stayed the same?
The biggest difference in my mind is the detail and the quality assurances that are involved in the buildings we work on. Many of the projects we work on are very sophisticated and require significantly more detail and quality in applications. What has stayed the same is that jobsite coordination with other trades is always a challenge.
What was the most important thing you learned from Ben? How about Howie?
My grandfather told me when I was young that to be successful, I needed to be different then everyone else. Every day I think about that and try to differentiate myself and the company that he started.
The best advice I got from my dad is “as a leader, my biggest job is to take negatives and turn them into positives.” That mindset is helpful at work and everywhere else for that matter.