A Q&A with Roy Hill, Jr. of Elite Service Experts
The Hill family founded IMS nearly two decades ago. As a second-generation owner of the company, Roy Hill, Jr. lives and breathes the company’s mission of being the “best” in delivering service and improving the lives and businesses of those they connect with and serving others as they would like to be served. We sat down with Roy to discuss the exciting changes at IMS and how he embraces the unique challenges and triumphs that come along with a family-owned business.
After many years, IMS will become Elite Service Experts. What prompted the change in name?
IMS was started by my father Roy Hill, Sr., in April of 2000. Primarily focused in Commercial Facility Maintenance and Repair services, it quickly grew to incorporate a full line of Facility Services to include Landscaping, HVAC, Janitorial, Roofing, Facility Management, Lighting, Electrical and General Maintenance and Repair Services.
My father unexpectedly passed away in February 2017. This unfortunate event was very tragic for the family as well as the business and those who worked for it. While dad had planned for the succession of the business to my brother and me, we were not prepared for the unfortunate and unexpected situation we found ourselves.
Among the many positive changes we made in the business over the last year, one of them was the decision to create a new company and a fresh start. A new brand and name that would signify the absolute best that IMS has always strived to achieve. We decided on the name Elite Service Experts to boldly express our capabilities above others. We incorporated a Phoenix in the logo to represent a rebirth of our father’s great legacy.
The rebranding of IMS had generated a powerful synergy with our team, and an excitement and momentum from every level of the company. It’s both energizing and exciting to be part of something new that has the experience, knowledge, resources, and connections of a well-established and seasoned business.
Elite is a family-owned business. What are some of the unique challenges that you as CEO have faced?
The family works well together with four family members working in the business, including my brother and partner. Overall, the family supports decisions I make as CEO, but they don’t hesitate to chime in if they have questions or opinions. Their feedback allows me the opportunity to step back and reassess a situation, especially through their eyes. I believe this results in sound business decisions.
We aren’t perfect, but we are a family dedicated to our company mission established by Roy Hill, Sr.
Outside of the unique hurdles I have faced with regards to the family-owned business, I have had many other challenges, especially over the last year. The biggest of which would have been the decision to downsize and refocus our services to core competence. That included the decision to eliminate the Janitorial and HVAC Business Units. It would have been easy to stop service and terminate employees. However, all decisions we make in the company must align with our Core Values and accomplish our mission. Our Core Values are Respect, Compassion, Righteous Behavior, and Faith. I had to eliminate two Business Units while maintaining compassion and serving others the way we would want to be served. So I took the challenge head-on and decided to identify prospective Janitorial and HVAC contractors who would be willing to take on the current contracts, while agreeing to hire every employee at their current wage, benefits structure, schedule, etc. This would ensure we have served our customers the way we would want to be served but with compassion for our employees top of mind. In two short months, I completed the challenge leaving Elite Service Experts with three core competencies:
1. General Building Maintenance and Repair specializing in all aspects of building maintenance such as plumbing, electrical, lighting, carpentry, on-site and scheduled building technicians and handyman type services.
2. Landscaping specializing in routine maintenance, field mowing, property clean-ups, irrigation repair and installation, renovations, backflow repair, and certifications, etc.
3. Specialty Services specializing in services such as pressure washing, concrete sealing and staining, construction clean-up, window cleaning and calcium removal, laborer support and more.
How do you characterize your leadership style?
Servant Leadership. I’m not opposed to doing anything my team does; in many cases, I get my hands dirty right alongside them. However, I feel my job as CEO is to motivate the team then get out of their way. You provide guidelines and parameters along with clear goals then empower your team to make the decisions they need to win. Lastly, we are humans and mistakes are inevitable. I feel that mistakes should be a teachable moment that everyone should learn from to avoid making the same one again. We don’t reprimand for mistakes. However, if the same error is made multiple times, it becomes a competence issue. We do reprimand for incompetence.
What piece of advice would you give to a future entrepreneur or your 25-year-old self?
Face your challenges head-on, be flexible and available to employees, learn to say no and remain focused, and believe that anything can happen. Lastly, if you demand your employees to work hard, lead by example.
What’s next for Elite?
We are currently preparing our infrastructure for continued growth. We have invested in a Mobile Field Software for our technicians and crews. We are planning to invest significantly in equipment and vehicle upgrades to maximize efficiencies and reduce operating expense. Lastly, we are looking into offering service solutions for residential applications.
You have many banking options, why did IMS/Elite choose River City Bank?
We have been partners with RCB for well over 15 years. Our relationship is mutually beneficial, and that is a true partnership. We like what RCB stands for in the community and the support it has for Family Businesses in the region. Lastly, there isn’t a branch you can go into that doesn’t treat you like you are their only customer. We look forward to continuing our partnership for many years to come.