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Concrete continuity

image The employees of Holes Inc. consider themselves a family

Houston - Holes Incorporated was founded 45 years ago thanks in no small part to a wife and business partner who really knew how to stretch a budget and save money.







    Sisters Darlene East and Kellie Vazquez have now taken over day-to-day management and have worked tirelessly to continue to grow the business.
    East remembers the story of how her and her family ended up in Houston. “My dad was working for a company in California and when I was 18 months old, they decided to risk it all and move to Houston for a better opportunity. My younger sister and I traveled across the country in the back of his company van in a playpen.”
    “Although my dad was very successful in Houston, at 25 he decided to strike out on his own and start his own business,”
East shares. 
    “My dad was very innovative and hardworking and my mother was a disciplined saver and was able to provide resources from their savings in order to start the business,” she adds.
    Today, she has been with Holes Inc. for 25 years and holds the position as President of the company. She started out in the office, learning the accounting functions. Then she went to the dispatch office, and from there, she started doing more management. She credits much of her success to taking the time to learn every aspect of operations prior to assuming responsibility for the overall job.
    Although her company responsibilities keep her busy, she finds time to scrapbook and read. She and her husband of 10 years also enjoy traveling and recently took a cruise to Alaska.
    They have five children, but they are grown and live throughout Texas. “Greg and I are empty nesters and we love it. I am not one of those moms who was sad about the kids being gone,” laughs East. “Make no mistake, we see all of the children often, taking frequent road trips to visit, but we very much enjoy quiet time at home.”
    East and Vazquez work very closely together, taking advantage of their individual interests and talents to solve different challenges within the operation. “Kellie is an integral part of the company. We are very complimentary in our skills. There are things she does that I’m not good at and vice versa. It’s a blessing,” East says about Vazquez.
    Vazquez, who is the Vice President of Safety Operations, has worked for the company for 15 years, the last four in her current position. Much like her sister, she started at various back office positions and worked her way up through the company, building on each position along the way.
     For the past several years she has been working tirelessly on efforts to better educate both the industry as well as local, state, and federal legislators on the facts surrounding concerns regarding the respirable crystalline silica standards, which has become a significant safety concern within the construction industry. “Contractors do not fully understand how far reaching these standards will become.  Many see this as a concrete contractor’s issue or possibly a demolition contractor’s issue only, but I’m working to educate them that in fact these standards reach all sectors of our industry, and their employees need to understand how to protect themselves as well as their employers while on the job,” says Vazquez.
    Vazquez says one of the biggest challenges is that “safety is very black and white; there are no gray areas, and when workers try to work within perceived gray areas, accidents can happen.”
    The sisters still get some business support form their mother who, at 70 years young, continues to remain vibrant and active within the business, although as East says with tongue in cheek, “Mom was always planning to retire at 55.”
    Both sisters agree that the best part about their jobs is the people they work with. “I’m fortunate that we have really great people here. Pat Stepanski is our Vice President of Operations. He’s been with us for 38 years and we are fortunate to have him and the team that we do,” beams East. Vazquez agrees, maintaining that the level of trust between management and the extended team has been critical to stability and success. “I hear about a lot of things because they trust me personally as well the relationship we’ve built, and this fosters communication and understanding. “
    East and Vazquez are very proud of the company their parents once started and they have been able to continue to build.
        Holes Inc. specializes in concrete cutting, sawing, removal and demolition.  -te

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Tanya Erickson houstoneditor@constructionnews.net