CEO Q&A

Meet Christopher Hay, who always knew he wanted something different when it came to start working after finishing university in Australia.

His story dates back more than 120 years, when Christopher’s great-grandfather, William E. Hay founded the S. A. Brush Co. Ltd, a small broom and brush manufacturer with a big dream. From generation to generation, the company grew and upgraded its capabilities, becoming a national industry leader.

Q:  How did you come to work at Hayco?

Chris:

My beginnings at Hayco date back to late 1992, when I finished undergraduate university in South Australia. My father had just ordered some brush making machinery from Italy and had started this joint venture with a partner. He asked me to come and help get these new machines working in a small factory in Southern China; I immediately saw this as a different and exciting opportunity, so I said yes in the first five seconds.

Q: Did you always know it was what you wanted to do?

Chris: 

No, not really. When I was at university, I always knew that I wanted to do something different. So, when my closest friends started getting jobs at big firms, I knew that was not for me. Then my father called and talked to me about this new opportunity to work in Southern China, I knew that was something different and exciting. So, I left as soon as I could.

Q: What would be the main practices you follow from your father's legacy?

Chris:

My father was very keen on being a dependable employer and an effective corporate citizen. In China he always looked to invest in the communities we operate in and to provide the best services. I remember the first years in China, he bought an ambulance for the protection and wellbeing of the community and our employees.

This is something that has always been a key principle in my family. My father and grandfather always looked after our people first. They believed it is not possible to have a good business if it doesn’t have good people and good suppliers.

The biggest legacy that I’ve always implemented in Hayco is the power of the can–do attitude. At Hayco we always believe that there’s no challenge or problem that cannot be solved and this can only be achieved by always trying to come up with better ways of doing things.

Q: What are three characteristics that embody a Hayco leader?

Chris:

Positive. A leader must be positive. Especially now, considering what we are facing. It’s more difficult than ever to stay positive and that is why it is so important for me to set the standard.

Can–do attitude.  At Hayco, we always talk about can–do. That started with my father and continues today. Whenever there’s a problem or issue, we talk about how we are going to make it work or fix it; we’re always going to try, no matter what. Because when you try, you learn.

Hands on and detail oriented. I believe I know a lot of details about the company, since the very beginning I started in the brush factories and worked on the floor, even on school holidays I was working in the mail room, organizing documents. Doing many different jobs, at various levels and departments has given me the opportunity to take interest in any product we develop and to engage in everything we make in order to always make the best product for our customers.

Q: What factors would you attribute the growth you've had as a company?

Chris:

I think since I was young, I’ve always shared the same passion as my father. Which is Hayco. I also knew this was something he never gave up, by always having a can-do attitude. When the opportunity to work with Procter & Gamble came in, he saw it as an opportunity to learn about manufacturing and quality systems. The company would continue to develop.

Of course, these factors accompanied by the collaboration with great people that always have a positive attitude towards the business. Their work has been a key factor to turn Hayco from one small office in Hong Kong to a 6,000-person company in 3 locations.

In the last three years, becoming global with our factory expansion to Dominican Republic has made us realize that the systems that made our company work in China had to be duplicated in other parts of the world, and this was no minor challenge. Since we needed to globalize the company in terms of our systems, our technology, our machine platforms and a lot of processes that needed to be implemented in a whole different market. Fortunately, today we are proud to see the results of this progress, seeing that Dominican Republic’s operation has had its biggest sales month.

I would like to express my wholehearted gratitude to our incredibly hard-working staff, our supportive customers, and everyone involved throughout this ongoing expansion in China, Hong Kong, and the Dominican Republic.