Name: Casey Lass
Title: Branch Manager
Marital Status: Married, 3 Children
Hobbies: Formerly Powerlifting. Currently, spending time with family, going on Church camping trips, fishing, kayaking, etc.
Bio: If Casey Lass has learned anything in his almost 14 years with Hose and Rubber Supply, it’s that more often than not, the grass is not greener on the other side.
Lass started with Hose and Rubber Supply in 2008, at the behest of his cousin.
“At the time, my cousin was working for [Hose and Rubber] and I was driving a truck for Food Services of America and I didn’t really like it, so I just decided to go over there because they said they needed another hand,” Lass reflected. “I ended up really liking the work and the environment and what the company represented, and I’ve just kind of been there ever since.”
Once he started, he immediately got to work, enveloping himself in this strange new world of, well, hose and rubber.
“It was a lot,” he laughed. “I tried to keep busy and I learned a lot about the threads and connections, because when I first started, I was like, ‘What is hose and rubber? Is it just a bunch of garden hoses?’ It was a lot to learn, a lot of part numbers and I think that’s what really kept my attention. It wasn’t the same thing every day. I just really started from the ground up and I took a liking to building hoses and solving customers’ problems. It became fun; the work environment, the people made it fun.”
The fun lasted for a handful of years. Lass learned many things and grew as an employee. But an opportunity to grow even more, to learn even more, and to better himself presented itself. The only problem was, that opportunity came from another company.
“What it came down to is I got offered a position that wasn’t available at Hose and Rubber at the time,” Lass stated. “It was a branch manager position for another company and I took that opportunity to better myself and grow and get farther along. I went there for about three months and realized the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”
It wouldn’t be long before his former boss called him up and offered him another job, a different job. Hose and Rubber Supply had a sales opportunity in Denver, which he took. Shortly after that, they offered him another job; this time as a branch manager in Williston, North Dakota.
“It’s been fun,” he said of the transition into a managerial role. “It’s helped me grow as a person and as a professional. I’ve been able to grow under Scott Hilton. He’s good at what he does and he’s helped me see the business aspect side of the company and I’ve grown a lot in that area. There’ve been some challenges but with a lot of challenges come a lot of growth.”
Lass said some of the challenges that come with the job is finding the balance between being a boss and being a friend. He’s found that balance though and the results speak for themselves. He also stated that his favorite part of the job was the customer interaction.
“I love being able to satisfy the customer,” he said. “When they come to the counter and we can help them when no one else has, and when they leave pleased, that gives me joy. It makes it worth waking up for.”
His employees make the job enjoyable as well.
“I’ve always tried to instill this adage with my guys,” he said. “I don’t want it to be a job for them, I want it to be a career. And if you treat them like they’re a career hand, rather than just somebody that needs a job, I think it holds a different value. It’s a place where you can work and retire. And since we’re an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) and we can own a little bit of the company, it becomes of greater value to you. And I think that carries over into how a person treats their work, how they treat the equipment, and how they treat the customer. They want to make sure that we are the best and I take pride in that because nobody wants to fail. Everyone wants to do their best. You’ve just gotta bring that out of them.”
That’s an attitude and an atmosphere that has served the company well. And it has resulted in multiple branches serving a wide-array of industries. Hose and Rubber Supply has really become an industry leader, and it’s because of the quality of the products, the knowledge and expertise of the staff, and the level of customer care that is evident in every interaction.
“I think it stems from how the company came about,” Lass revealed. “I think Les Crawford really laid out a good foundation for the company and he helped create that atmosphere. We always try to have a quality product. We know it’s important to have the inventory and the knowledge to answer questions and help customers with their problems. I appreciate every day that I can work and I appreciate every opportunity the customer gives me to help them. I’m thankful for the ability to contribute and be successful and I just want my crew to know how much I appreciate them, and I want to thank Gordon and Scott for the opportunity.”
It was an opportunity that Lass was given twice and he has taken both of those opportunities and ran with them. For a little while, he even ran towards another opportunity, but he quickly realized that he belonged with his team. He realized his story needed to be told there. And he realized just how green the grass really was at Hose and Rubber Supply.