Jermaine Hunt Sr Owner of Hunt Services and Consulting Incorporation [Exclusive Interview]
First Black owner of a Business Solution Performance company in America
Hunt Services and Consulting, Inc. owner, Jermaine Hunt Sr. stands tall and confident before we took a seat at the table to begin his exclusive interview regarding his unique company. Always a man of integrity and with inspiring, positive things to say when I would see him at work in the community. He is known to put a smile on your face as he continuously shares uplifting words of encouragement and a well-rounded abundance of knowledge to share when it comes to life and business perspectives. Being the first Black-owned business solutions and performance company in America, I can feel Hunt’s gratification and recognizes his success as he begins to share insight of his company with Consciousness Magazine.
Aaron Robinson: Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Jermaine Hunt Sr.: I am the CEO, founder and owner of Hunt Services and Consulting. I am the first and only Black-owned business solutions and performance company that does CPU with engineering partners in America. My background is performance. I attended college at Southern Arkansas for business. I have had a lot of mentors that helped me understand what it is to do performance processes and cost savings. I was mentored by a guy who worked for a performance company. He worked for one of the largest performance companies in North America. He taught me a lot about this industry.
Aaron: From your perspective, what is the importance of minority businesses working together?
Jermaine: For our businesses, I think it’s important. It’s an engineering business, but we deal a lot with labor. Not only is it important in having us as business owners grow together and partner to be able to grow markets, but also really to grow the community - to be able to put in programs that will save the company money, but also reward the employees by allowing them to earn more within a hours time based on their efforts. So, it’s not only helping each other and not only helping minority business owners grow, but it’s helping out our own communities grow as well by providing jobs and career opportunities for those individuals as well.
Aaron: Tell us what Hunt Services and Consulting, Inc. entails?
Jermaine: We work with staffing companies or direct sales, which would be two companies. We engineer processes to see how we can get cost savings for our client. So, let’s just say hypothetically, if a client is spending 10 cents to make something, we come in and figure out how to make it for 9 cents so they can have a cost savings. We also deal with the labor force. With our model, we actually help workers make more money; we pay them when they hit certain goals. The better they perform the more money they will make, not just as the business owner, but also the employees. It is an interesting model because the guy who actually created the model is now my engineering partner. They created the model in the 90s. Dwayne Hord of Hord Services, Inc. created the model. I actually worked for them with Juan Ospina, the Executive VP and Partner.
Aaron: Juan Ospina is a mechanical engineer and has being doing the same line of business for 18 years that deals with engineering, staffing and labor management. He said, “About 6 years ago, back in 2015, my company was Hord Services, Inc., a large piece of business in Kankakee, Illinois. Right before that time, Jay was actually managing that same piece of business. We were looking for someone to help us manage that town, and I had heard about Jay’s services and what he was able to do with that account – how he was able to manage the work load and the volume. “
Jermaine: When I started my company Juan partnered with me as my engineering branch. That was something huge. Not only am I the only Black-owned business solution performance company, but I partner with the company that created the model. So, it’s unique within itself.
Aaron: Juan also stated that your models are very similar and are actually cut from the same cloth. He supports you in the engineering aspect of the model.
“What our businesses do, is we look at how to drive out costs from operations and make more efficiency. On top of that we are also dealing with our communities from a staffing perspective by providing jobs to local communities and providing a way for them to be able to earn more through incentive programs and being able to produce more for the employer. The more that they produce the more they are able to earn and the more the community is able to grow. That is basically how our businesses complement each other; we basically do the same thing,” says Juan Ospina.
What sets Hunt Services and Consulting a part from other companies that already existed, that have the same business model?
Jermaine: What sets us apart is our strength to provide services that are databased, engineer proven, statistical and historical information gathered in order to make the correct decisions and create the perfect opportunity to increase profit margin and increase cost savings. Some of the performance companies just say ‘hey I can save you 10 percent’, so they don’t do correct pricing. We know we can save you 10 percent – that’s why we’re engineers. However, we may be able to save you more than that, which is good for both companies because we are creating a better service, not just off of a catch phrase or off of industry standards; but actually doing the work, having the information, collecting the data and having engineer to make sure that everything is done correctly in order to provide these services at the best cost to save your company money and improve performance by having incentives for laborers.
Aaron: Now, going back to you being the only Black-owned business solutions company, why do you think other Black businesses are not involved in this type of business or partaking in this line of work or in this industry?
Jermaine: Fantastic question! Number one, this market of CPU and business solution is so small, that it is very few of these companies in America. Therefore, the market is not saturated. Since I have been in CPU, I have only known one other African American to even work in the industry period. It is not that we can’t do it; it’s just that we don’t know about it. It is one of those types of disciplines that if you don’t understand it or know about it, you’ll never hear about it. It’s a great field. By me starting to infiltrate this market, hopefully, it can influence a lot of other minority-owned, Black-owned and women owned companies to get involved and learn this type of process. I think the more that we get exposed to it, the more people in our community, not just Blacks, but also Hispanics and women, they can get involved with it. It is really important that we expand our minds to possibilities of different aspects of business. This is the only way that we can be influential in a different area that very few people are exposed to.
Aaron: As you mentioned, there are not a lot of Blacks partaking in this industry, say if more Blacks were to become exposed to business solution and performance companies, and began to get into this industry, would it become saturated or a competition piece?
Jermaine: No. Because of this business model, there are more businesses that need this type of service than there are companies that can provide these types of services. The more the merrier. I think that if there were more, that would show several different things. Number one, the engagement of the Black businesses, because right now we are in the Black Renaissance.
To answer your question about it becoming saturated, no, I think it should be welcomed. So, I think to add more, not only does it create a healthy competition, but it gives potential clients better and more diverse options that can attract different types of businesses.
Aaron: What do you mean by Black Renaissance?
Jermaine: Right now if you look around socially, Black women statically are the highest graduation rate in the world. Black businesses are increasing across the board, black influence, black thought, more diversity, more inclusion – so, I think that it’s important that we make our presence felt as Black-owned companies that we can, not just help, but expand and improve on a lot of different things. We are known for, well they expect us to play basketball, sports and sing, but we are so much more than that. We have brilliant people that have a lot to bring to this country as a whole. With the opportunity given, we are not begging for anything, we are just asking you just to hear us out, just to see what we can bring to the table. It doesn’t hurt to listen, and you may be surprised of what you hear regarding things that can be provided by Black-owned companies, as well as Latino/Hispanic companies, and women companies. We are in a different era.
Aaron: Regarding building a business on your caliber. Many may would have given up or became afraid due to not having the proper contacts or resources. As a successful business owner, what were some of the sacrifices that you made or some of the challenges you overcame to get to where you are today with your business?
Jermaine: Starting with the challenges, the challenges are not just being a Black-owned business, but in this business, the business model is not very well-known. Therefore, a lot of people fear the unknown. They don’t know if it’s going to help them reach their goals or be successful. So, by it not being a very popular business model it is foreign to many. The sacrifice that I feel you make in this industry is humbleness. I had to understand my position and understand that I did not know everything and that I did need help. The help that I received wasn’t traditional, but it was some CEO’s and Executives of other companies that understood that I did have the vision and experience. I knew I needed help. Even though I wanted to fight the world, I had to first build an army and coalitions first that could help me fight the war. I knew that I had to get people that were experienced. I had to do a lot of good negotiations in order to get to a position where I knew I was comfortable and that I can be impacted. So, I had to sacrifice my pride and ego in order to humble myself to know that this is the only way that I can make my business work. I knew if I could make my business work then I can be an influence and have an impact on a lot of different types of minority-owned businesses.
Aaron: Would you say that’s the main factors regarding what a company will gain by working with your company or are there other factors as well?
Jermaine: There are other factors. One other factor is, not just saving money, not just helping employees make more money, but creating a different culture – creating a culture of performance and pride, while creating an environment of wanting to be the best and knowing that our company value them as employees, letting them know that they are not just there for a pay check and they are not just a number or a name. So many times people think about the company, but a company is nothing without the labor force. I don’t care how big the company is or what the company name is, you need a labor force to be sustainable. Everyone knows the best companies are the ones with the happiest employees. If you have employees that are disgruntled, they are going to discredit you. Nobody wants to work for a company, especially in this time that we are living in, for a company that don’t treat people fairly, equally or value their work or them as employees.
Aaron: What words of encouragement would you share with someone going into this line of business?
Jermaine: My first three words that I would give them is Don’t Give Up! Good, bad or indifferent, everyday is going to be learning experiences. It’s not always going to be comfortable. It’s not always going to be pleasant, but the end game is what you are focusing on. Learn as much as possible, connect as much as possible, work out good deals and partner with people. Understand that this is a big industry with very little competition. Since it has very little competition in such a big industry that means it’s a huge learning curve, because every customer is different, but don’t give up. Fight through it! Eventually you are going to get what you want. You have to find the client that needs your services. Just stay positive and don’t give up, and eventually, not only are you going to get where you want to be, but you are going to surpass that and influence other people to continue the good fight and be a role model to those on the verge of quitting. Because they see you enduring, they are going to believe they can endure and manage their situation, and that is a great thing.
Aaron: What’s a typical business day like for Mr. Hunt? What does the workload consist of? What does it all entails?
Jermaine: A couple things that are interesting. First of all, client relation, you have to have a good relationship with your client. You have to understand in this line of work nobody wants to know or hear or feel, especially management, that they’ve been doing it wrong. We get a lot of pushback, especially on the management level. It’s not so much the owner or c-suite, as much as the management in the facility. The first thing we hear is ‘we have always done it this way’. Well, obviously that’s not working because you are not maximizing your dollar, and this is what they pay you to do…to manage the operation. Since you get a lot of pushback, the first thing you have to do is create a positive work environment, relationship and rapport with your client.
Then you have the operations which are based off of training, mentoring and development of lower and entry level management on how the operation goes. The engineering of the process – what is the best way, how many people, what’s the laborer is going to need to get to a certain point to reduce the labor cost. The cost is driven by three things: variable cost, labor cost, and yield lost. With that being said you have to figure out how you are going to control all of those things. Once you control those things, you control, to a certain point, the bottom line. When you do that you have to make sure you have the support from the c-suite of the client. You have to make sure the training is proper and thorough. You must also understand that you have to create a culture of performance and make sure the general laborer feels valued.
Aaron: Is there anything that you would like to add in closing?
Jermaine: It’s good to be a pioneer and a business model for the Black or minority community, but what’s better is being a bridge so that way they can transition. I am fortunate to be one of the few people, and in this case, the first person to be that transition for minorities, women and Blacks in this arena. I am really grateful for the opportunity that I have; I am grateful for the people that I have met. Just because I am Black-owned doesn’t mean that I haven’t had companies that wasn’t Black or minority-owned that helped me along the way. I have had great mentors and great partners that are not Black or minority-owned. They are just good people that want to help me succeed. Once you get to the point where you understand that if you make the effort and put in the work, people are going to recognize that and more people than not are going to go out on the limb to help you. So, you do have opportunity, but before you get the opportunity, you really have to put in the work and create the opportunity. Once you do that there are going to be more than enough people willing to help you succeed, not just in the company, but also in business and in life. With those people you can pay it forward to help other people become successful, not just in the business aspect, but in life. I am very appreciative to be one of those leaders that were chosen to be an ambassador for the minority companies to be able to be a staple in the community and into a field of business model that is something new for all people. I appreciate this interview and I appreciate everything that has happened so far, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
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