Hargrove and Associates
Incumbent Worker Training Program
Risk Brings Rewards
Hargrove and Associates, Inc. is a full service engineering company that is over ten years old and has over 125 professional and technical staff. The company is headquartered in Mobile, Alabama, and serves a nine-state area, with major operations also in Savannah and Atlanta. The company serves clients in several industries: pulp and paper, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, power, manufacturing, petrochemical, oil and gas, and commercial construction. Hargrove provides consulting services in all disciplines utilizing state of the art computer-aided design systems and computerized project controls and estimating. Hargrove designs new plants and as well as improvements for existing facilities, so it is critical that they are very knowledgeable about their client’s products, operations and manufacturing processes.
The company was formed in 1995 to serve the local plant needs, at a time when many large engineering corporations were busy with large capital projects. By 2003, these large companies had closed their Mobile offices because of severely reduced capital spending by industry. But Jim Backes, Vice President and Chief Engineer for Hargrove and Associates, said that was also a time of great opportunity.
The company concentrated on investing in the best people available at that time and it was a risk that paid off. Says Backes, “When other companies were leaving Mobile and leaving behind great people, Hargrove was confident that we could add them to our team and it wouldn’t be an expense—it would be an investment. That investment translated into better service for our clients, which translated into value. That has made us successful.”
But hiring new team members is only the beginning of the investment. At Hargrove, one element of their culture is “recognizing that every single employee is a volunteer and that if you want those volunteers to be very responsive to your customers, you must give them trust and authority. And invest in training them so that you really can trust them. At Hargrove, that translates to exceptional service,” according to Backes, “And our customers are the ones who really benefit.”
Hargrove and Associates recently took advantage of the Mobile Works Incumbent Worker Training program to train engineers and technical staff in a 3D computer-aided design (CAD) system. All of their staff had some level of expertise in various systems, but the company wanted to upgrade the skills of all staff so that everyone would be proficient in the same system, with the ability to share design information in a collaborative work environment.
Backes says, “You don’t need a lot of hassles when you’re running a business and the Mobile Works Incumbent Worker Training program was remarkable to us in that it was very easy to do. It let us train a lot of people in a short period of time, instead of the usual slow ‘train the trainer’ two or three people at a time scenario. We trained quickly and easily. Of course, getting a $10,000.00 check made it a real no-brainer. We know now that we really missed the boat (and a lot of money) by hiring all those displaced workers directly, instead of through the On-the-Job Training program. It is money we left on the table, because we simply didn’t take the time to find out more. Don’t make the same mistake—look into Mobile Works today.”
At Mobile Works, we know that Hargrove and Associates is going to continue its forward thinking and its out-of-the-box success. We’re proud to be aligned with Jim Backes and the entire Hargrove and Associates team and to have played a small part in that success.