Rick Hume started his own company in 2008 from his pickup truck. Today Naples-based Pro-Tec Plumbing & Air has about 50 employees, 25 trucks on the road each day and an upcoming second location in Fort Myers.
Not bad for a guy who describes himself as self-made. “I would never have imagined 13 years ago I would be in the position I am at 38 years old,” he says. “One of my values is that I’ve always taken it personally. I’ve got 50 families I’ve got to provide for every single week, so I take my job very seriously.”
Over the years, he’s learned the importance of making smart hires and has formed a strong leadership team that includes his brother and co-owner, Brandon. “It doesn’t matter how many people you have if you don’t have the right people,” he says. “You can teach people to plumb, but there are a lot of fundamentals to life you can’t teach people.”
Assembling the right team sometimes means hiring people who are smarter or better at something than you are. “The big thing is not letting your ego get in front of you,” he says. “It’s about being humble and that cliché that there’s no ‘I’ in team. I’m out at job sites still running jobs. If guys need help, I go out and help. It builds a value where everyone is willing to help each other.”
His parents gave him two pieces of advice that still resonate today. His dad’s advice? Get as many licenses as you can, because you never know when they’ll come in handy. Hume recently got his HVAC license, and the firm plans to launch an HVAC division in October.
“When the company is here, I’m thinking, ‘How are we going to get here?’” says Hume. “And then when we get close to that point, I’m going, ‘How are we going to get to the next level?’”
From his mom, he learned not to think of the company’s money as his own. “I barely paid myself the first however many years,” says Hume. “I reinvested everything back into the company, making sure the guys had brand new trucks to drive and the best tools in the trade so it made their jobs easier….By doing that our guys take care of us; they’re loyal to us. By constantly reinvesting, we build loyalty, strength and longevity.”
Name: Richard Hume
City of Residence: Naples
Employer: PRO-TEC Plumbing & Air
Years in the area: 16
Marital Status/Children: Married with (2) daughters
Alma Mater/Degree: None
What community group or organization are you most involved with? Fort Myers Technical College
What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Recycling hazardous waste
What's your top tip for being productive? Like Chubbs Peterson says, just go to your happy place. When you can be in a stress-less environment, in which you truly feel at peace, productivity will sky rocket. When I get overloaded, I go up to my camp and will sit on the front porch with my laptop and knock out a week's worth of work in an afternoon.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? Building Custom Off-Road Vehicles
What's your favorite off-hours activity? Watching my daughters grow up and teaching them new things
Have you gone to the movies in 2021? If yes, what did you see? Tom & Jerry 3D
What's the top item on your bucket list? Bow Hunting for Red Stag in New Zealand
What's your favorite podcast? Tony Robbins
Where is your happy place? River Ranch
Describe yourself in three words: Determined, Loyal, Adventurous
Who is your mentor for your career and why? Self-made
What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your mentor? Although I do not have any person that I can consider a true mentor, I have had many great opportunities to conversate and get advice form many great people along the journey. The lessons I believe affected me most are below: The companies money is not your money. Re-invest the earnings into your company and employees and in turn they will take care of you. Obtain as many licenses you can. The more opportunity you can create by doing so, the better the chance for being successful. When hiring for positions, out your pride aside and hire people that are smarter or better at the position than you are. The key to success is building the strongest team possible.