Photo by Nicki Kohl, Telegraph Herald

Hodge Company CEO recognized in local newspaper

Dubuque, IA based Hodge Companies CEO Tim Hodge was recognized in his local newspaper, Telegraph Herald as a leader to know.  The Telegraph Herald and Material Handling Wholesaler are both owned by Woodward Communications, Inc.

Tim Hodge was born and raised in Dubuque and educated in the Dubuque Community School District. He was a member of the kindergarten class at Hoover Elementary School in its opening year. He attended Hempstead High school, where he was all-state in baseball and football graduating in 1981. Following high school, Tim attended the University of Iowa where he continued his baseball career and graduated in 1985 with a degree in business management.

Hodge’s involvement with the Dubuque Community School District continued after college, serving in 1993 on the Table Mound Elementary School site council and in 1994 on the District Advisory Council. He was elected to the Dubuque Community School Board in 1996 and served as the board chair in 1999.

He is chief executive office of Hodge, an integrated logistics and material handling company that provides buildings, equipment, warehousing and supply management solutions. It has more than 800 employees in four states.

Hodge Company was founded in 1958 by Walter J. Hodge, Tim’s grandfather. Walter (Butch) Hodge Jr. led the company until his retirement in 2001. Tim and his brother, Mike, who serves as president, are the third generation. Tim’s children and their spouses, as well as Mike’s children, are the fourth generation to lead the company.

The importance of philanthropy and volunteerism was instilled in Tim and his siblings by their parents, Butch and Bev Hodge. He has served a number of local charities, an Executive Board Member of the Greater Dubuque Development Corp. and a member of the Dubuque Bank and Trust Board of Directors. In 2009, the Hodge Family began an annual charity event called Run4Troops that raises money in support of local military families.

Tim and his wife, Connie, enjoy running, bicycling, backpacking and scuba diving. They have two children and two grandchildren. Son Zachary and his wife, Laura, have a son, Oliver, and are expecting a second child in January. Daughter Jordan Fullan and her husband, Michael Fullan, have a son, Maverick.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?

My parents. Both of them worked tirelessly alongside our employees to grow a company through good and challenging times. How we interact with our employees and our customers was established by them and remain our core values.

What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization? Certainly, as owners and leaders we make strategic, financial and personnel decisions that are important to the company but many times it’s the decisions we don’t make that are equally important. When we put people in places of responsibility it’s important to let them lead their groups even when they may not be doing it exactly how we would. In the long run, this creates a healthier company that is less dependent on a single person.

As an organization gets larger, there can be a tendency for the “institution” to dampen the “inspiration.” How do you keep this from happening? In our case, entering our fourth generation, it’s important to continue to ask, “what’s next” and not take for granted that the business we have now will always be there. The inspiration comes from the challenge of figuring out new ways to do old things.

Which is more important to your organization — mission, core values or vision? Core values. Mission and vision can change as the company evolves. Good leaders also “test” their decisions against their core values. If they match, they are usually right.

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess? Humility. Realize that you don’t have all the answers and never stop asking for help from your team — that’s why you have one.

What advice to you have for future leaders? First, work hard at the job you have now, not the one you hope to have. The opportunities will come. Next, learn how to be an active follower. Don’t be afraid to question the path but learn how and when to do it. Later, as a leader, you will appreciate strong followers.

How did you get involved in the field you’re working in? We are a fourth-generation family business so we were all, quite literally, born into the field.

What are two or three of the best things about being a leader? One of the best things about being a leader is the opportunity to build a team. What is even better is watching that team succeed.