Eight Simple Words

For many years, the team at Ahaus has lived by a few sentences affectionately called the “Be Statements.” These eight simple words guide the team in decisions, personal interactions, and work with customers each day. If you’ve ever attended a tour, line up, or kick off meeting at Ahaus, you’ve likely seen these scrawled in dry erase marker on a whiteboard, where they have been in various forms for over 5 years.

Much of the culture at Ahaus is built on respect. This respect is evident throughout interactions across departments and between people at all levels of the organization, from high school co-ops and apprentices to managers and owners. “I have seen exponential growth in the way we respect each other here at Ahaus. As a manager, I am expected to give advice to the leaders of this organization. I feel respected because they actually listen and take my advice sincerely and thoughtfully,” said Human Resources Manager Marty Hancock.

It’s because of this respect that people can feel able to contribute their thoughts about projects and improvements, which allows for the very best idea to be implemented, regardless of who might have proposed it.

There’s another kind of respect at Ahaus as well – one that centers around appreciation for the skills and knowledge each team member brings. Because Ahaus regularly has employees that stay on for more than 40 years, respecting the craftsmanship evident in the organization isn’t difficult.

Reliability and trustworthiness are cornerstones of solid relationships. The goal at Ahaus is to create long-term partnerships with customers, and reliability is central to those partnerships.

“At Ahaus, this involves fulfilling commitments, meeting expectations, and being consistent in our actions with both our customers and our team members,” said Eric Partin. Partin is an Ahaus employee who completed his apprenticeship and has since worked in several departments, most recently as a Project Engineer before starting a new role last month as a Sales Engineer.

Partin said, “As a Project Engineer, this value helps meeting project timelines, when problem solving, and allows for clear and reliable communications both internally and externally. In sales, reliability builds trust with customers that we are doing what we told them in the sales process, it shows we are reliable for post install support, and it shows we are a trustworthy guide for a solution to resolve their pain.”

Working together might seem like a given in an organization, but at Ahaus it runs very deep. As a manufacturer of custom workholding and automation solutions for over 75 years, Ahaus knows that thinking and working as a team is critical to success: not a single project comes through Ahaus without being impacted by many people across several departments.
Engineering Manager Mark Price said, “To me, ‘be collaborative’ isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the secret sauce that transforms a group of individuals into a winning team. When people work together, ideas collide, and the sparks fly, resulting in solutions greater than the sum of their parts. It’s about more than corporate jargon – it’s the joy of shared effort, camaraderie in the workplace, and celebrating victories as a unified team.”

The most distinct of the four statements is the last one. Ahaus strives for continuous improvement in all aspects of the company. Co-owners Kevin Ahaus and Jeff Sheridan are strong proponents of all four of the Be Statements, most especially this one.

“We are constantly striving for improvement of our processes, our team members, and our company so together we can reach new possibilities. This shows in our company growing from $10M to $30M in sales while maintaining a strong and positive culture. This also shines through when we see a young apprentice join our company right out of high school and then grow and learn through the years to take on many different responsibilities and leadership positions,” said Sheridan.

Being “better” doesn’t only mean improving in your work life. Ahaus’s vision for people to reach new possibilities includes their lives outside of the company. Learning more about a hobby, being the best parent or partner possible, serving on a non-profit board, or volunteering in the community are some of the many ways Ahaus team members live out being better and growing in their lives.
The Ahaus culture encourages being reliable, respectful, collaborative, and simply driving each day to get better. As a team member, this environment leads to long-term employment, because people are encouraged to become masters of their craft, whether in accounting or toolmaking. As a customer, this culture delivers successful projects that enhance the lives of people every day.