One Hundred Years of Success Rooted in Family First Empathy

Thu, 08/04/2022 - 12:58 -- matt

Few companies in the automotive supplier industry can say they’ve reached their 100-year anniversary and we’re proud to now be able to say the Haartz Corporation is one of them. This year, as the company is celebrating and reflecting on its history, it’s clear one major factor has set them apart through the years – family.

When John C. Haartz, Sr founded his original textile manufacturing company in 1922, many of its original employees came from Canada, immigrating to the area around Leominster Massachusetts, about 20 miles from the current company headquarters. An interesting fact about the first Haartz employees is that they were all related in some way and it was this relation that began to foster the pro-family atmosphere of the company.

The idea of treating your own employees like family is one that Doug Sieber, Vice President at Haartz, believes truly places the company in a field of its own. In the years following the founding of Haartz, new employees would write home to family members describing the company atmosphere, leading to interest from further relatives to join the business.

“One person would get a job here and they would realize what a wonderful place it was to work and how it was family oriented, family-run and the people here took care of each other,” stated Sieber. “At one point, I know we had a father, mother, daughter and a son-in-law here all at the same time and I think it was indicative of how well the Haartz family takes care of the people that work here.”

The family value was long-promoted by Haartz Sr’s successors and when Sieber joined the company in 1977, then CEO Ken Ritchie took it to the next level, assuring family values were the driver of everything the company did.

“Everyone called him Uncle Ken, he was stern, hard driving member of the family. But, the thing about him is he was also a softie,” stated Sieber. “His expectations were high, but if you ever needed anything, he treated you like you were family and that mindset has continued to today”

With Eric Haartz taking over the company after the retirement of Ritchie in the late 1980s, the value of treating employees like family only became more apparent - especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. By sticking to its family-first, empathetic values, Haartz was able to weather the disruptions many businesses faced.

“Something that really held us together during the pandemic was our family aspect. I think a lot of companies had a very hard time trying to handle it because they didn't have the foundation of togetherness in many ways,” stated Sieber. “So I think while coming out of the pandemic and working to rebuild, the togetherness and the embrace of diversity in our facilities are things that I think show where we're trying to push the company into the future.”

In 2022, after overcoming the challenges of the past two years, Haartz expanded its family-first idea by defining its formal “C.A.R.E.S” core values which consist of “collaboration,” “appreciation,” “respect,” “enthusiasm” and “service.” While formalized one hundred years after its founding, these values embody an idea that’s long set Haartz apart from other businesses.

Need help or more information?

Contact us