Lessons Learned: Flawed but Forgiven
To discuss his company culture and experience as an intentional employer, Thrive interviewed Michael Halleck, company president and active participant in our IEN Share Group. Founded in 1984 by Michael E Halleck (father), Halleck-Willard Inc. (HWI) is a product development and engineering services company. INC 5000 honored HWI as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation.
HWI is built on the premise that the company was established by and belongs to God. The leadership seeks to serve Him in obedience and action through serving in the community, how they treat their customers, and encourage and grow their employees.
One example was when HWI helped a floor technician to get his degree, become a full engineer, and excel. He ultimately ran the HWI engineering department and then moved on to be an executive at a successful medical device company.
Michael has followed in the footsteps of his father, who believed that it was important to focus on a person’s strengths. He would work with them on their weaknesses and was often criticized for taking on so many “projects”.
Some projects did not go as well. “We’ve fought through attitudes, availability, family crisis, re-incarceration, and the like,” Michael confessed. “For every success, there are probably 3-4 “failures”.
The HWI story is one of persistence, mistakes, and redemption. Great intentions that sometimes lack follow-through. He shared, “Perhaps ours is a story of “plenty of room to grow.”
Michael serves as a volunteer employment coach and was exposed to Thrive through a message at Flatirons Community Church around a vision of ending single-parent poverty and eliminating recidivism in our country. He loved the audacity of the idea.
Michael had first-person experience with both the poverty cliff and the challenges of a person with a criminal record to find a path to success. In both cases, he was frustrated and discouraged at his inability to make any kind of difference. He realized that this was not a problem that could be solved in his own power or by “man’s” efforts.
In 2020, he became involved at the Denver Dream Center (DDC), a program partnering with Thrive that serves individuals who were formerly incarcerated. The opportunity was interrupted by Covid. Then, when Michael was about to be matched with a job candidate, he was diagnosed with cancer. Through faith and trust, the work of some amazing surgeons and doctors, and the support of family and friends, he is now cancer-free, praise Jesus!
With restrictions in Covid lifting, he served as a periodic coach at the DDC and then was matched with a more traditional Thrive job seeker who was motivated to find a high-end job. Michael provided support and encouragement and celebrated the offer that eventually came after a four-month search. He hopes to continue to keep in contact and encourage him spiritually as well.
Through all of this, Michael has learned that nothing will be successful apart from an eternal, Kingdom-minded focus. He tends to be a doer and the business runs on accomplishments and results. He is learning to wait on the Lord, and find the Lord’s timeframes are not always urgent. It is an exercise in persistence and patience. The next step is obedience. Michael shared, “ A wise friend told me a long time ago, when you make a decision in trying to follow the Lord in obedience, he will do one of two things: He will bless it, or He will redeem it.” Michael admitted that he doesn’t always walk in the freedom this provides, but he is growing.
The final lesson Michael has learned is that he can provide little to nothing without God’s grace, which affords him the ability to persist through the many challenges and failures.
One of my father’s favorite sayings, when asked how he is doing, was:
“I’m blessed and highly favored. Flawed but forgiven.”
That is our story.