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Meet Heather Davis, Anthony, Lea Ann, and Ryan Hildebrandt of H&W Manufacturing in Spring

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Davis, Anthony, Lea Ann, and Ryan Hildebrandt.

H&W Manufacturing began operations in August of 1978. Anthony Hildebrandt and Nathan “Dick” Williams (partners and founders) opened shop with only a few employees in a small building behind one of their homes in Houston, TX. The company was founded on the principle of providing products of exceptional quality and going above and beyond to serve the needs of every customer. This principle is still the bedrock of H&W and is what we credit the 40 year success of the company to.

In the early 80s, Anthony and Dick built their first dedicated workshop. They would spend their days working for customers and their nights working on the new building, doing most of the electrical work and more themselves. They have always been engaged, hands on leaders of the company. Anthony’s wife, Lea Ann, worked alongside them, helping out in any way she could, all while taking care of her and Anthony’s 5 children.

Also in the early 80s, H&W began investing in CNC machines (Automated/computerized machines). This was the start of automation entering the workflow. Anthony says this has been one of the biggest changes over the years. 40 years ago, when they began, everything was manual. Now, everything is automated through technology. Anthony says he always knew investing in technology would be essential to keeping the business competitive.

One big challenge for the company was when the cofounder, Dick Williams retired in 1997. However, under the Hildebrandt family’s leadership, the company has continued to thrive and has grown exponentially.

Now, nearly 40 years after the company was founded, the company is still thriving. It is still owned by Anthony Hildebrandt, his wife Lea Ann, and their children. Of their 5 children, Ryan and Heather have both come to work for the company and play a very active role in the company’s leadership, growth and development.

The company is truly a family run operation. Ryan and Heather remember growing up in the machine shop, spending hours watching their parents work and pour themselves into the company. This hardworking, hands-on approach has shaped the second-generation of the family. It drives them to continue the company’s growth. Ryan came to work at the company in 1997 and Heather followed shortly after in 1999.

The family doesn’t take for granted the success of the company. Lea Ann and Anthony speak with great pride about their children’s dedication in running the company. The family treats each other with mutual respect and at work everyone is equals with ideas and thoughts worth listening too. This mutual respect extends outside the family to all of the employees.

The entire family is eager and hopeful to have the opportunity to pass this organization down to the next generation as there are now 12 grandchildren in the third generation. To ensure this is possible, the company will continue to reinvent itself while staying true to its mission to deliver above and beyond for their customers.

Has it been a smooth road?
Both times that the company made large capital investments in new buildings and infrastructure, the oil & gas market hit a slump shortly thereafter.

First in the 80s. Houston was an oil town through and through with very little diversification. Before that downturn, there were more than 2000 machine shops in Houston; afterwards, around 800. Anthony credits their ingenuity and hard work with why they were able to make it through those challenging times. He says that he and Dick didn’t pay themselves and took on any work they could find to make ends meet for the company. They were always hands on owners, actively engaged with everything from customer service to the actual machining.

In 2009, we again made a large investment in growing H&W’s facilities and capabilities. The oil market took another large hit. Again, the company had to be resourceful and diversify. We continued to make our customers lives easier and our business rebounded alongside the industry. We are focused on not overextending ourselves and taking measured risks.

Globalization has been another big challenge in this industry. To compete with cheaper labor and manufacturing costs overseas, H&W has focused on delivering exceptional quality and going above and beyond for our customers. In fact, some of our products are shipped directly out of the United States to customers with operations in Singapore, China, and Mexico because we are so competitive. In addition, we have invested significantly in technology over the years. We are committed to finding the right balance of technology and employee training in that technology. Competition with overseas manufacturers continues to be our biggest challenge today. We are focused on bettering our company and responding to the changing technology landscape.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with H&W Manufacturing – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
H&W Manufacturing is a machine shop that specializes in small-medium sized components. Since 1978 we have consistently delivered quality products, on a timely basis, at a competitive price. We primarily serve the oil & gas market, but also work with other industries. Our machining capabilities include CNC Turning and Milling, Swiss Screw Machining, Automatic Screw Machining, EDM Plunge and Wire, and more. We provide our customers with a turnkey solution.

We are very proud of our low employee turn-over. 25% of our team has been with us for more than 15 years. A few have been with us more than 30 years. Our employees are experts and we respect everything they bring to our company. We believe a huge amount of our success is attributed to our hardworking team. We believe that if we’ve been smart enough to hire incredible talent, then we must make sure we are smart enough to listen to all of the ideas they bring to the table.

We are also very proud of our reputation in our industry. We have built our business on customer service. We don’t have outside sales people. We’ve grown through word-of-mouth and referrals. Our services fill a specific niche in the machine shop world and we are well known for the quality of service we provide in that niche.

Our business has endured economic hardship and many significant changes in the industry and in technology. We know that whatever we are doing today isn’t good enough for tomorrow. It’s important to adapt and grow with the time, while also maintaining a strong sense of who we are.

We are proud that we have the opportunity to continue this family owned business and hopefully pass it on to the 3rd generation.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Houston is home for our family and our family business. We have weathered many ups and downs in the Houston economy. We are proud of how our industry has weathered tough economic times. We are proud of our city’s resilience and ability to thrive under pressure.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Brian Vogel Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Ben Vogler

    June 28, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    I went to high school with Lea Ann West Hildebrandt. She and the entire family are the classiest, most down to earth people one would ever want to know. Kuddos to their success.

  2. AL HAHN

    June 28, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    The Christian honesty of this business and owners also made them one of the 800. I know that personally, because I am a brother-in-law

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