Award winners work at success |

Award winners work at success

John Seelmeyer

On first blush, no two companies could be as different as The Haws Corp.

and PC-Doctor.

The Haws Corp., nearly a century old, makes drinking fountains and electric water coolers.

PC-Doctor, barely more than a decade old, is involved in the creation of computer diagnostic software.

More unites the two companies, however, than the fact that they were selected a few days ago for the Chairmen’s Award for Business of the Year by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.

Executives of PC-Doctor and The Haws Corp.

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both say they consciously work to create companies that are more than merely good, profitable firms.

At The Haws Corp., for instance, managers take great care to make sure they don’t hire jerks for the company’s staff of approximately 125, says Tom White, vice president of manufacturing.

That’s a good way, he says, of ensuring that the company is a good place to work.

Another way? “We talk a lot about profit,”White says.

“And we deliver back to our employees when we are profitable.”

A rich health-insurance benefit results from the company’s profitability.

So does a profit-sharing plan.

“People know we are committed to them, so they can focus on their business,” says White.

Company founder Luther Haws patented the drinking fountain in 1909, and the third and fourth generations of the Haws family now own the company.

The Haws Corp.

moved in 1966 from Berkeley, Calif., to Sparks, where it occupies a 210,000-square-foot facility.

At PC-Doctor, meanwhile, President Aki Korhonen says his effort to create a great company took a different tack:

“There are a lot of companies that I didn’t want to be like,” he says.

“What’s left over after that is what we are.”

He notes that the software business provides some opportunities to its management.

While research and development costs are high, the incremental cost of every copy of a piece of software is tiny and highly profitable.

That means, Korhonen says, that he can afford to talk to his employees about issues other than revenue and profits important as those subjects may be.

“We’re not driven by profits or revenues today,” he says.

“Our focus is creating a great product, having a customer-centric view of the world and having fun while we do it.”

The judges of the “Business of the Year” competition former chairmen of EDAWN cited PC-Doctor for its high wages and community service since it moved to Reno from Emeryville, Calif., last autumn.

Among other service, the company has sponsored two blood drives since its move.

The Haws Corp.

was honored in EDAWN’s competition among large companies more than 100 employees while PC-Doctor won the small-company award.