An interview with Jason Janning, general manager and executive vice president, central market organization for Hilti North America.
Q: Tell us a little bit about Hilti.
Hilti North AmericaHeadquarters: Plano, Texas
Phone: (800) 879-8000
CEO: Avi Kahn, President & CEO
Revenue: $1.2 billion (FY 2017)
When organization started: 1941
Web address: www.hilti.com
A: At Hilti, we make and design leading-edge technology, software and services that power the professional construction industry. As a global company, we are based in over 120 countries with more than 27,000 employees, of which more than 3,300 work in North America. Every day our technologies support awe-inspiring feats of engineering around the world -- from the famous bullet train in Japan to metro tunnels deep under the largest cities on Earth.
Q: Explain the history of the company.
A: Brothers Martin and Eugen Hilti founded the company in 1941 in a garage in their hometown of Schaan, Liechtenstein. By 1948, a fastening technology patent and the subsequent launch of hand-driven tools and actuated nail guns radically changed the construction industry -- making the process of fastening more efficient and, more importantly, safer. Since then, the number of industry firsts has grown and the legendary red tool case has become synonymous with innovation and quality which has led to us surpassing the $5 billion sales mark globally.
Q: What are some of Hilti's services?
A: With over two-thirds of our team members working directly with our customers every day, we are known for meeting our customers where they are and finding solutions to make building safer, easier and faster. We offer dozens of other services like Tool Fleet Management and Asset Management, which make our customers more productive. Add to that a long line of continuing education, engineering and other services and you really start to understand why customers rely on us for more than just great products and software.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your personal history.
A: My first involvement with Habitat was in 1989 when I completed my Eagle Scout project. Since then I've had the opportunity to participate in builds in Nashville, Tenn.; Erie, Pa.; Charlottesville, Va.; Braga Portugal; Chicago, Ill.; Tulsa, Okla. and Dallas, Texas. Habitat projects always teach humility. Let's just say I've learned that I am a much more capable painter than drywall hanger or framer. On a more serious note, it's a privilege to work for a company who also supports Habitat on a global scale. Habitat for Humanity International and the Hilti Foundation renewed a three-year partnership earlier this year which will benefit up to 270,000 additional people.
Q: How is Hilti involved with Habitat for Humanity? Why?
A: Hilti team members are united by a common mission -- Passionately Creating Enthusiastic Customers and Building a Better Future. Working with Habitat combines our passion for building a better future with our commitment to giving back. Our team members closely identify with putting our tools to work in their communities and helping their neighbors achieve what so many of us take for granted -- homeownership. Dozens of homes and neighborhood improvement projects later, our teams remain committed to the mission. We embed the importance of giving back early -- all new sales team members spend three weeks at our learning and development facility in Tulsa, Okla. learning our products. During that training they put what they've learned about our products and construction concepts to work by volunteering as a group on a local Habitat build.
Q: What are people in your industry talking about? What's trending?
A: Professionals continue to talk about technology and how the processes of design, construction and maintenance continue to benefit from this evolution. We are actively engaged in this conversation and our software and development teams are on the forefront. We have an entire floor in our corporate headquarters dedicated to technology topics alone.
Q: Tell us one interesting fact about Hilti that most people may not know.
A: Globally, our team members make more than 200,000 customer contacts a day.
Q: Two people to follow on Twitter and why.
Krista Donaldson (@kmd_drev), CEO of D-Rev. Krista was an engineering classmate of mine who founded a remarkable social impact engineering and design company.
Bain & Company (@BainInsights), a great source of insights from a firm I'm proud to have served for eight years.