This month’s Employee Spotlight is an extended interview with Bruce & Mary Claire Harris, the co-founders and co-owners of Bruce Harris & Associates! Enjoy BHA’s last Spotlight of 2016, and cheers to 2017!
How was BHA created?
MC: Bruce and I started it in our friend’s basement. We got our first job shortly after moving our three-man office to a little spot in Geneva.
When did you know BHA was special?
B & MC: When we landed our very first job with Macon County
What do you see (or would like to see) in the next five years for BHA?
MC: I see amazing potential. BHA’s quality service and reputation set us apart. Our team is remarkable. Our future looks bright. I’m excited about developing new products.
What was the hardest part about starting your own company?
MC: it was a lot of very hard work and many hard hours. Financially, we were quite strapped.
What is your first memory of BHA?
MC: I have two: sitting in the basement coming up with our name. We wanted Harris, Inc., but it was taken. The second, was getting the phone call from Macon County and landing our first job. I remember right where we were both standing.
What is one thing you would have liked to know 20 years ago?
MC: there are reasons I’m glad we didn’t know too much, or we may not have had the courage!
If you didn’t run this company, what would you be doing?
MC: travelling the world and meeting great people.
Bruce: Fishing, golfing, travelling, and spending time with my kids (and future grandchildren!).
What are your proudest moments at BHA so far?
MC: All of it. We persevered! We built it from nothing into something special.
Bruce: Our staff who have contributed to making this company successful. Without good people, this company wouldn’t work.
What were some major turning points in the company’s life?
B & MC: Purchasing J.E. was a pivotal move.
If you could change one thing over the past 20 years, what would it be?
B & MC: Nothing. It is all part of the journey.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned in the past 20 years?
B & MC: Hard work and dedication pay off. Never say never!
When you retire, what is one thing you hope your employees say about you?
MC: That we were caring employers who ran our company with dignity and respect.
B: That we were honest, fair, respectful, and proud of the work they all did.
If your hose was burning down, what is one non-living thing you would save?
MC: Pictures of our kids
B: The grandfather clock my great-grandfather built in 1881.
What did you want to be growing up?
MC: Don’t laugh: a nun. I went to Catholic schools and was taught by nuns. Later, I wanted to be a journalist.
B: A pro golfer. But I knew I didn’t have the skills, so I became a mapper instead!
What is the first concert you attended?
MC: a Beatles concert at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. It was pouring, they cancelled the concert and girls everywhere were sobbing. We went back a few days later and saw them live. It was amazing. It was 1966 and I was 12 years old.
B: Lou Reed and David Bowie in Madison, Wisconsin.
What is your hidden talent?
MC: I write poetry
What is the worst thing you did as a kid?
MC: I was pretty tame, but I released a snake in the principal’s office on the last day of 8th grade.
B: Probably the time I threw rocks at my brother. One hit him in the headed. He ended up needing 8 stitches.
What is the one thing you can’t live without?
MC: Love. Oh, and my morning cup of coffee.