EFCO, A GREAT COMPANY
THE GREAT DEPRESSION
EFCO emerged from the Great Depression in 1934, more than 80 years ago. We live on a foundation of engineering, education, training, hard work, and good constructive judgment and experience. As with the origin of all great companies built to last, someone must have taken the lead and for EFCO, it was W. A. Jennings (W. A.), a 36-year-old engineer. We cannot say his father gifted him with money or even with companionship, as W. A. lost his father by an accidental death when he was only two years old. What we can tell you now, however, is W. A. had three sons, all three graduate engineers who have played major roles in the growth and successes of EFCO over the years. These are years EFCO has grown from “Good to Great” and has been “Built to Last.”
GENERATIONS OF SUCCESSES
Do not think for a minute these accomplishments are due only to the efforts of the first two generations—including Ralph, Al, and Don Jennings—of the W. A. Jennings family heritage. The third and fourth generations are now playing very important roles pushing and leading EFCO to new heights of successes.
EFCO’s successes are supported by early recognition of our parents’ ethical standards and hard work as we honor our parents. We all know now it is important we support and share with our stakeholders. They are our customers, employees, and stockholders.
EARLY NEEDS OF CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTORS
As a very small company, EFCO started out with only the identified needs of concrete construction companies. Our company’s founder, without any money to work with, pulled it all together and here we are today, every day with new innovations and inventions, supplying our customers with super service.
THE EARLY YEARS
The first 30 years of EFCO, the company was built with a very small team, mostly college friends W. A. had met at Iowa State College, now Iowa State University. He did work a few years as a civil engineer for Pittsburgh Des Moines Steel Company and later with the Oklahoma City Steel and Iron Works. This was until the president and owner of the company in the midst of the Great Depression of 1929, shot himself and our founder of EFCO, W. A. Jennings, found himself without a job. He then, with his wife and two children at the time, came back to Des Moines, Iowa to live with his mother.
LIVED THE AMERICAN DREAM
How he started EFCO from there is amazing and all I can say is, he lived the American dream. He had a basic civil engineering education, he was an innovator and inventor, salesman, made friends, demonstrated the highest of ethical standards, and worked very hard.
The second generation of EFCO management spent a few years in the early 80s studying and evaluating the characteristics that have made EFCO the great company it is today. With this study, we could not find any documented strategic plans. However, without a question, it was easy for us to determine our EFCO successes have been based on the value we have delivered to our customers. For a structured corporate strategic planning process, as we continue to use it today working with the Iowa Manufacturers Association, now the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, it has been very helpful. Studying EFCO’s attributes and characteristics as a company continues to be very important to ensure EFCO’s continuing successes.
As we studied the book, “Built to Last,” —with great companies defined as 50 years and older we found, as we were told, they all had core values. This motivated our management at EFCO to really study and understand EFCO’s core values developed by our founder. We made it an assignment at one of our annual strategic planning meetings, and we discovered we have 11 or 12 core values.
This list was then reduced to just four of the most important to be able to leverage them to deliver even more value. These core values are Quality, Innovation, Integrity, and Super Service (QIIS).
WE HONOR OUR PARENTS
As we look back and honor our parents, W. A. Jennings and his wife of 57 years, Lilian Witt Jennings, gave us a foundation of love and religion, very positive thinking, a culture of hard work and generosity, and we at EFCO continue to deliver real value to the world.
EFCO Chairman & CEO