Employee Spotlight HGC Construction would not be the company it is today without its incredible staff. Each month we highlight one member from our team with a Q&A session. Gregg recently returned from a mission trip to Haiti. We sat down with him to ask about his trip, along with some questions about himself. Here’s what we learned… Gregg Hothem | Project Executive WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY? Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes. This is particularly important when negotiating, whether it be with an Owner, a subcontractor, your spouse, or your kids. Understanding what’s important to them will often help you achieve what’s important to you or at least achieve a compromise that’s achieves what is critical to you. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF WORKING AT HGC CONSTRUCTION? I enjoy the variety of projects and challenges I encounter at HGC along with the breadth of talent of the people I work with. I learn something every day from my colleagues at HGC and that is a blessing. ACROSS YOUR CAREER, WHAT HAS CHANGED THE MOST IN THE INDUSTRY? The speed and volume of information we deal with has increased tremendously. I’m reading constantly to keep informed of the latest trends and technologies in business, and specifically, construction as I know change is happening in our society faster and faster. We can either adapt to and utilize these changes or we can get left behind. I don’t want to wake up some day and realize I’ve been left behind. Remember, speed is a competitive advantage. WHAT WOULD YOU DO (FOR A CAREER) IF YOU WEREN’T DOING THIS? I’ve always wanted to own a vineyard in Italy. Maybe someday? TELL US SOMETHING THAT MIGHT SURPRISE US ABOUT YOU. I was one of those long-haired freaky hippies in college in the 70’s. I drove a hippie van and worked at a radio station. I graduated with a degree in Accounting and Finance so I had to cut my hair and clean up my act to get a job as a CPA. I have fond memories of my hippy days, but became far more practical as I suddenly had responsibility to pay the bills for myself and others. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A NEW HIRE? Don’t allow yourself to get pigeon-holed in your position. I started out as an accountant, but was always trying to learn about the operations side of my employer’s business. After 15 years as an Accountant, Controller and CFO, I switched to the operations side and have never looked back. New hires should try to broaden their skills as widely as possible. HGC is great place to do so. Just be curious and keep asking questions about anything you’re not sure of. TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE PEOPLE YOU MET WHILE YOU WERE IN HAITI. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world after centuries of foreign control and corrupt Haitian leaders. Most of the population has no regular job, no electricity and no running water. And yet the Haitian people are happy (more so than most Americans), and they are impeccably groomed and well-dressed in inexpensive, but always clean clothes. How they live as they do, under the conditions they endure, is amazing to me. I’m incredibly thankful for all that I have in the U.S., but I love my trips to Haiti to see friends I’ve made there. We may live day to day in totally different worlds, but in the end, we are all God’s people and we need to serve each other. WHAT SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT THE CULTURE? The Haitian government, both national and local, is totally dysfunctional. Basic services are not even provided. The electrical system works only about 20% of the time. Traffic lights are installed, but never powered up. Large sections of a sewer system are installed, but never completed so open sewage trenches line every road. Trash collection occurs very randomly, often only once every couple of months, but if a major event is coming up suddenly hundreds of garbage trucks appear and everything is cleaned up for a week and then back to nothing again. The Haitian people, despite their living conditions and lack of functional government, see what life is like in the U.S. and other parts of the world, but they still have strong pride for their country and their fellow people. Most who come to the U.S. to visit or go to school return to Haiti with plans to improve their country. I’m not sure I would do the same if I had the chance to escape. WHAT WAS MOST DIFFICULT ABOUT YOUR TRIP? The lack of predictable power for air conditioning and internet connections was difficult. The language barrier (most speak Creole, some speak French and very few speak broken English) was difficult, but surprisingly I was able to work side by side with Haitians and we found a way to communicate. But, the most difficult part was leaving people I had met and become friends with to come back to my comfortable life in the U.S., knowing that they would never experience anything close to it.