It’s hard to believe that today marks Kevin Hynes’ last day of work at Hancock Lumber. After an incredible 16-year career with our company, our Sawmill Division COO is retiring and moving to the west coast. Over the last couple of weeks, teams have gathered, reflected, laughed, shared, and celebrated Kevin Hynes. At our farewell luncheon in Casco this week, Kevin Hancock spoke and reflected on Kevin Hynes’ journey with Team Hancock. Enjoy reading a few excerpts from both Kevin Hancock and Kevin Hynes below.
“Everyone at a company impacts that company and changes that company. And then, there are few people – in part because of the job they have and in part because of how they do it – who transform a company. We are a very different company today than we were before Kevin Hynes started and he is a huge part of the reason why,” said CEO Kevin Hancock at Kevin Hynes’ farewell luncheon. “A few simple things came to mind for me when I was thinking about what actually did help us transform. First, he transformed this company to get focused on customers – to really reorient everything we did to fit a specific customer. The second thing I think he really helped us transform is how we collect, look at, and use data. Then thirdly, I think Kevin really transformed how we communicate. Kevin really knows how to do that effectively – with huddles and disciplined communication systems, and putting information out in front of the people who are actually going to do the work…Moving over to the most important side is Kevin Hynes as a human being. He is one of the most unique people I have ever met. In my work career, I would say nobody has influenced me more in a positive way than Kevin. Everything I needed to learn to get better at what I do – almost every piece I needed – I feel that Kevin had in him. Everybody in this room is indebted to you for what you’ve given to us – thank you!”
Kevin Hynes shared a few words with the team during the celebration:
“What I want to say to everybody is a simple ‘thank you.’ Because you really, individually, each one of you has made my career, my time, my life at Hancock Lumber so rich and so fulfilling. Thinking back over the last couple of weeks, I have been reminiscing about all that we have been through together. When I think about those things it just blows me away, and about how much enjoyment I got out of every single day I came to work. The reason I had the enjoyment wasn’t necessarily because of the work itself, but because of all the people I got to work with and interact with every single day.
As part of my journey, I worked at different companies across North America in my career. When Kevin, Russell, and I met back in 2005 he talked to me about Hancock Lumber and it got me very excited. When I came to work at Hancock Lumber, it felt like coming home. It really did. It really felt like I belonged. If I was going to be anywhere in the work world, this is where I would want to be. It’s rare that you can ever do that, but collectively as a group we are fortunate to be a part of this team, part of this culture, part of this organization. As I leave Hancock Lumber, it’s in incredible hands. Aaron is the new Chief Operating Officer for Hancock’s Sawmill division and he’s going to take it to the next level.
Perhaps I will leave you with two more thoughts. One, I think, is a real credit to Kevin Hancock’s vision for how he wants this organization to be: to work together, to live together, and to accomplish things together. When you think about his vision and how we all view things, we get confirmation that we are living that out. When we bring customers in to visit and we tour them around our operation – every single customer we bring here – they always say one thing before they leave, ‘Wow, what an amazing place. What an amazing bunch of people who are dedicated and focused on me – the customer – on quality, and making things better. Wow.’ Everyone feels and sees that, event the customers.
The other thing that I see is this culture we have created means a culture where we are connected and where we have fun. When people outside of Hancock Lumber ask about our place and I tell them how things are here, they just look at me like I’ve got two heads and say, ‘It can’t be that way. Employees can’t enjoy the work that they do. They can’t have fun. They can’t communicate honestly. That’s not possible. How can you have a meeting where everyone actually says things in meetings and wants to participate? That’s not normal!’
This culture at Hancock Lumber you’ve all helped to create under Kevin’s leadership and vision is one that is very, very rare – in the industry, in the world. I think we’re all extremely lucky and fortunate to be a part of it. I wish you well going into the future. So again, thank you. I appreciate every single one of you and all that you’ve done for me. I leave happy, energized, and excited to take on the new chapter of my life.”
A couple years ago, Hancock Lumber produced a 4-part video series highlighting how we go to work within our company. Kevin Hynes discussed the importance of ‘Leading By Listening’ and we feel this spot captures his leadership approach and part of the tremendous value he brought everyday to our company. “If you are an employee here at the company, you have a responsibility and an opportunity and almost an obligation to put forward your ideas and then to act on those things. We’ve seen operations where the results are not that great, but the same people given involvement and participation in the process, we’ve seen the results just skyrocket.” –Kevin Hynes
Here are just a few fun photo captures of Kevin on the job here at Hancock Lumber over the years:
While the departure of Kevin Hynes is undoubtedly bittersweet, it creates a number of exciting leadership advancement opportunities internally. Following this move, Aaron Schulte will be promoted to Sawmill Division Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Matt Duprey to Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). In his new role, Aaron will assume responsibility for all sawmill operations, employee engagement, safety, and overall P&L results, while Matt will oversee all customer relationships + programs, product research + development, and bringing our portfolio of Hancock Pine products to market. Another internal advancement will be Keith Trask getting promoted to Bethel Sawmill General Manager (GM), and the opportunity for us to hire John Cole to become the Bethel Finished Products Manager.
“On the one hand, I feel my work at Hancock Lumber could be never-ending—the passion, satisfaction, and admiration I have for the company, people, customers, and work is as invigorating as the day I started. While this move creates exciting opportunity for me, it more importantly does for Aaron, Matt, and Keith who have so much to contribute to Hancock Lumber and its continued success and growth.” -Kevin Hynes
Hancock Lumber will forever be grateful for Kevin Hynes’ transformative leadership, and the company wishes him well as he pursues exciting opportunities ahead. From all of us on Team Hancock, thank you for your outstanding service and best of luck!