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In our latest interview, West Texas Manager Andy Menchaca gives a deeper look at what it means to build a culture that leverages the strengths of its people.
1. Starting with some background about yourself, can you share how you got started in this field and what inspires you most in your work?
I began my career in 2003 as a lab technician. I am grateful for my lab experience because it gave me an intimate understanding of what’s required to meet client needs and how day-to-day operations must align to meet those needs. Today, my position as a supervisor and mentor inspires me most in my career. I’ve worked closely with great mentors who have helped me advance in my career, so I know how important it is to have trusted leaders and mentors. I prioritize being a good leader, inspiring my team to succeed, and ensuring they have every opportunity to learn.
2. What is your role at HVJ, your favorite type of project/work, and why?
I am the West Texas Branch Manager and Business Development Manager. I most enjoy directly working with our clients to solve problems. Our team develops creative solutions and is willing to take ownership of the results. Clients have grown to trust that if we say we are going to do it, we will do it. Our ability to solve problems and “save the day” when complex situations arise strengthens our client relationships.
One of my ongoing goals has been to grow our West Texas Offices in El Paso and Midland. Since I started, I have added 12 new staff members to the El Paso office, which has allowed us to meet needs and expectations more efficiently. We have a strong, collaborative team to tackle problems. I consider it a success that our reputation has led us to invitations to most teaming opportunities in our area and throughout the state.
3. What are the common types of problems that your customers are trying to solve? What do you think draws them specifically to HVJ?
Customers want a partner that provides reliable solutions and overcomes common customer service-related problems. Being “extra available” has been the key to building client trust. For example, it’s part of HVJ’s culture to update the client proactively for the project’s entire duration. I keep up to date with what is happening on-site and communicate this to the client every step of the way. This shows that we are invested and builds trust, which keeps clients returning for future needs.
4. HVJ describes itself as being built on service. What does client service mean to you? What are your tips for engaging with clients?
I view client service as the foundation of our job; it does not end until the project is fully complete. This encompasses keeping engaged in the project, attending progress meetings, inspecting reports, and holding consistent check-ins with the client’s project manager. The foundation is that our staff have ample opportunities for ongoing learning, training, and mentorship. My team knows they can openly communicate any questions or problems, and we will brainstorm solutions.
My advice for engaging with clients is to be yourself; authenticity establishes trust. We must be knowledgeable about our services and the industry but also have a few “ice breaker” topics to help clients feel comfortable and to establish a strong rapport. Most importantly, I tell my team to “leave the ego at home” and approach the client respectfully and authentically. These strategies have helped me establish strong relationships throughout the years.
5. You’ve been with HVJ for almost two years now. What do you like most about being part of the HVJ team? What are your future goals?
I appreciate HVJ’s willingness to invest in talent. They reward excellence and trust that we will perform our jobs well. As the work environment changes, senior staff must be willing to listen to and learn from younger staff. HVJ’s culture is to hear and value everyone’s suggestions and thoughts; we all have something to offer each other (and often, the junior staff teaches us senior staff as much as we teach them!) HVJ’s leadership team realizes that the best client experience depends on retaining the best staff and ensuring our team members are happy and supported. I also like HVJ’s franchise model and am interested in moving my career in that direction, possibly opening more labs in different locations.