In almost every initial client relationship meeting we have had since 2000, a potential client will ask, “What is your specialty?” And I think they really expect us to say something along the predictable lines of “We specialize in your industry, for specifically the type of role you are trying to fill.” But we never say that. We are cursed by a culture of brutal honesty at IPS and feeding a client a canned response to convince them we are their dream date just isn’t our style. We do not specialize in one particular industry and we don’t just work on one functional specialty. But we do have a specialty – working with clients who are the best in their space, or are on a mission to be the best. If you don’t want to be great, we aren’t right for you.
If you want proof, check our client list. We have worked with some of the world’s top brands. They include Visa, Coca-Cola, Nike and a lot of sexy clients. But being the best is more than just having a recognizable brand and a history of success. It’s a mindset. Sometimes these are not Fortune 500 companies, but they dominate their niche. These companies are the driver behind our success. We love their entrepreneurial drive, their unique cultures, and their passion for improvement. These companies include such places as Circle Graphics. You have probably never heard of them, but they make about 80% of the large print format billboards.
We have another client that we like to think of as the Intel of the brewing world, John I Haas. Never heard of them? They are a nearly century old company and the US arm of the Barth-Haas Group, a 217 year old enterprise. Incredibly, John I Haas is led by Alex Barth, a direct descendent of the founder of Barth-Haas. Their products are used on one out of every three beers produced in America. They are privately held and continue to be family owned.
John I Haas operates throughout the hop value chain, with breeding facilities, hop farms, warehouses, and production facilities for Hop pellets and a variety of extraction based products used in the brewing industry. In addition to its breadth of operations and production facilities, JIH is the leading marketer and trader of hops and hop related products in the U.S. and Americas, with annual revenues of approximately $120MM. That revenue size may not sound huge to some people, but it represents about one-third of the overall hops market. Not too many places can boast that kind of success in any industry.
Know what makes them great? Leadership and culture. Alex Barth is not to be mistaken for someone who is a complacent heir to the Hops throne. He started his career as a teenager working in the fields where they grow over 1,000 different varietals. He worked in almost every aspect of the business before taking over as CEO. And if you met him, you would see he is genuine, thoughtful, and a hell of a businessman. He does not look at John I Haas as a birthright, but a great responsibility to build upon a tradition of success. And he is not just looking to maintain status quo, he is always exploring new markets through the R&D work conducted at in their Advanced Products facility. He creates a culture where the employees are his extended family. He feels that growing the company in a sustainable fashion is part of his obligation to that family and you can feel it in the fields, in the processing operation, and in the warehouse. Simply put, John I Haas has the kind of culture many big companies wish they had. There isn’t a person on that leadership team you would not want to have over for dinner.
We have had the pleasure of working with John I Haas and filling several key roles for them over the last year to support their growth. In our initial meeting with them, they asked the most thorough question we had ever encountered on an initial call. When we present candidates, they continue with a thorough and fact-based assessment of their talents. They spend time with us to ensure that the onboarding went well after the hire. They are great because they put in genuine effort in hiring and developing talent. They call us to discuss more than just search – and we love it. They understand that everything in the business world is built on good partnerships and we are honored to be one of those partners. They get it- Leadership matters.