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Habets clan at center of H&W Global's growth

| Thursday, March 28, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Bruce Siskawicz | The Dispatch
From top, Sandi Habets, J.P. Habets and their daughter, Chantal Townsend, are seen in a work area at their family-owned company, H&W Global Industries in Burrell Township.
Bruce Siskawicz | The Dispatch
Steve Paul of Shelocta works in the paint booth at H&W Global Industries in Burrell Township.

The innate dynamics of the Habets family have translated well to the work setting of H&W Global Industries, the company the family owns and operates in Burrell Township.

J.P. Habets is president of the company that specializes in applying finished coatings to various components for other clients. He works closely with his wife, Sandi, who is the company's vice president and quality assurance manager, and their daughter, Chantal Townsend, the executive assistant and human resources manager.

The Habetses' son, Todd, decided to pursue a corporate career in California but does consult for H&W on an as-needed basis.

“Before we got into the business, we were a very open family,” Sandi Habets remarked. “We'd talk things out, and no subject was taboo. We carry that over into our business.”

“We don't always agree on how to get from point A to point B, but eventually, you settle on a decision and everybody tows the line,” J.P. Habets said. “We all get a chance at input, and if one of us has a good reason to go a certain way, we have to sell the others on the idea.”

But, he added, “We don't overlap that much. We have clearly defined roles for each other, geared toward our areas of expertise.”

The company focuses on cleaning and applying finished coatings — through painting, powder coating, plating or anodizing — to brackets, support structures and other components for original equipment manufacturers. Defense and aerospace clients account for the bulk of its business, but it also caters to some local companies including Cherryhill Manufacturing in Indiana, and KH Controls, Inc. and Clark Metal Products, Inc., both in Blairsville.

The coatings are typically to protect metal parts against corrosion. “They're somewhat decorative, but they're more functional,” J.P. Habets said.

Problem-solving is also a big part of what H&W offers, with specialized services for things such as packaging and testing procedures. The company offers value-added services like graphics, silk screening, light assembly work and packaging, as well.

“We're migrating more and more into the aerospace field,” J.P. Habets said. “Typically, it's high-end work that we do, and everything we do has to be certified.”

H&W Global is relatively new, established in 2002, and initially was located in Russellton, with the Habets traveling there daily from their Blairsville home.

“The first year was very touch and go,” said Sandi Habets. “We ended up getting a couple of good clients referred to us, and we started growing again very quickly.”

Three years later, they moved the business to the Commerce Center in Indiana, to allow room for expansion. Continued growth brought the firm to its current location at Burrell Township's Corporate Campus industrial park, in 2011. With 26 employees, H&W Global looks to continue hiring.

As president, J.P. Habets handles most of the engineering and operations of the business,

He has a background in engineering, as a graduate of Penn State University and the University of Tulsa. Originally from Belgium, he was raised in Africa and came to the United States in 1968 to pursue an education.

H&W's two female owners have backgrounds that are far removed from metal finishing and engineering. Sandi Habets is a former math teacher in the Blairsville-Saltsburg School District while Townsend is a licensed registered nurse who worked for Indiana Regional Medical Center.

“I love it,” she said of her work at the family business, noting that skills she honed as a nurse — organization, time management, record-keeping and working with people — have proved just as valuable at H&W.

The recent slumping national economy had H&W enduring a slow period last year, but J.P. Habets said things have been looking up in 2013.

He acknowledged there is a fair amount of uncertainty in his industry's market, which is impacted by governmental decisions and environmental regulations.

“We have a lot of environmental compliances — the coating industry always does,” he said.

J.P. and Sandi Habets own the majority of the company, and the shares owned by Townsend qualify H&W as a woman-owned company, with women holding more than half the shares. That status can provide an advantage in seeking government-related contract work.

“There was a need for that within the military and defense work,” Sandi Habets said. “They're often looking for woman-owned businesses.”

For more information on H&W Global Industries, visit hwgii.com.

Gina DelFavero is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2915 or gdelfavero@tribweb.com.

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