Business Matters: Standard Water Control Systems
Basement waterproofing is not an easy job. Michael Hogenson knows all about it.
“I was out digging the trenches and laying the cement for years,” said Hogenson.
Hogenson started Standard Water Control Systems, Inc. in 1977. He started the company working out of his parent’s basement.
“One day my dad came downstairs and said to me, ‘you know Mike, you got to go and get a real job.’ I’m 18 years old at the time. And he says, ‘you’re never going to make it.’ Okay, dad, thanks.”
Boy was dad wrong.
“When he retired from Honeywell, he came to work for me. And he had more fun working here, going out and giving estimates and talking to people.”
Two Million Feet of Drain Tile
Today, Hogenson runs a company with 25 employees. Each he considers like family.
“Without good people, I’m nothing,” said Hogenson. “I take care of them, they take care of me.”
Standard Water has also taken care of many homes and businesses. Thirty-thousand to be exact. Since 1977, the company has installed more than two million feet of drain tile. That’s enough tile to cover I-35 from Duluth all the way to Des Moines, Iowa.
And when Hogenson and his employees aren’t at work, you may find them giving back. In the front lobby at Standard Water, there’s a sign accepting new or gently-used coats for Justin Morneau’s Winter Warm-up Coat Drive to benefit the Salvation Army Harbor Light. The company has set a goal to collect 3,000 coats.
A few years ago, Hogenson found himself rappelling down the 300-foot Ecolab building in St. Paul. His wife put him up to the task to raise money for the Como Zoo.
“Icing on the Cake”
But Hogenson never expected what would happen last month. That’s when Standard Water received a Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics.
“It was quite a shock, and quite an honor,” said Hogenson.
The award is recognition for doing the right thing. Hogenson doesn’t know who nominated his company. The nominations are done anonymously. At Standard Water, Hogenson makes sure his employees have the right equipment. He showed CCX News $1,500 helmets with HEPA filters and built-in fans that protect against silica dust. He also wants to make sure homeowners are protected too, such as a job that comes across asbestos in the flooring and making sure the issue is handled properly.
“It’s our job to educate the homeowner,” said Hogenson. “It’s also kind of surprising to me to get an award for doing what you should be doing everyday anyhow.”
After 40-plus years of work at Standard Water, Hogenson calls the BBB award “icing on the cake.”
“It really brings it home, that you are doing something right. All the work, all the hours, long hours, all the sacrifices that my wife and I, especially my wife, has put up with over the years, were all worthwhile.”