Tired of retail work and looking to spend more time with his new bride, Luis Reyes applied to Servicon, where his sister worked. That was 32 years ago, and he’s never looked back. In fact, he is one of Servicon’s “25 for 25”: 25 employees who have worked for the company for at least half of the company’s 50 years, an anniversary being celebrated this year.
What has kept him at Servicon for more than half his life? Ask Luis, and he will give you many reasons, but underlying them is a reoccurring theme: trust.
Starting With Respect
Luis was 25 when Servicon hired him as an area manager for one of the largest aerospace facilities in Newport Beach, CA.
“When I started in 1991, I had 165 employees reporting to me,” Luis recalls. “Within the first three months, I was given more and more buildings because they realized, ‘This guy has what it takes.'” Since then, Luis has earned multiple promotions, including Orange County district manager, fleet manager, and his current position as industrial portfolio manager.
According to Luis, soon he was being trusted with helping bid contracts. “Servicon’s founder, Mr. [Richard] Mahdesian, always trusted me and would ask my opinion,” Luis says. “Sometimes when we were bidding on a job, my numbers would be higher than his. I was in the field, so I knew things like the condition of the building’s floor and the number of employees needed to do the work. I’d tell him my number, and Mr. Mahdesian would listen to me and say, ‘Okay, Kiddo’—that’s what he called me. ‘Do you think it’s going to fly?” I’d say, ‘Yes, and he would say, ‘Okay, let it fly!’ He knew I knew the numbers. He respected and trusted me.”
Luis gives another example of the owner’s faith in him: “At the end of each year, Mr. Mahdesian would come to me and say, ‘Kiddo, do me a favor. Call everyone and see what type of heavy equipment, like floor machines and forklifts, they need at their job sites.’ I would ask him if it was okay to look at preowned equipment, and he’d say to check out both to see how much we might save. Then we’d consider how much time was left on the contract that needed the equipment. Depending on what I could find, we would determine which one was better. He trusted me to do this. He knew I treated Servicon as if it was my own business.”
Carrying on the Tradition
According to Luis, Servicon’s current management team continues to rely on his judgment. “Michael, the Mahdesian family, and Laurie trust me. If they need to buy this or that, they will call me and ask what I think. They will ask me because they trust my expertise. ”
Understanding how important having people believe in you is, Luis is eager to instill the same belief in his reports. “I am in charge of a sealcoating business now, and just today, I met with two staff, one new one,” he says. “The more experienced employee was going to let me train the new one, but I said, ‘No. You need to train him. He said, ‘But you are the boss. You have years of experience.’ But I told him he knew the steps and process. I told him, ‘I will learn from you, and we will all learn from each other.’ He thanked me for recognizing his experience.”
All in the Family
Besides feeling respected, what else does Luis like about his job? “I like the people, and every day is different,” he says. “Every job has some routine, but I have never been bored one day. Every day, I learn something new.”
As for what has made Servicon so successful for half a century? “It’s teamwork and how the company treats its employees,” he answers. “When they see me, they call me by my name. They ask, ‘How’re Brian and Daisy?’ —my children. They treat you like family.”