Co-owner / C&J Cladding
From the ground up
After a successful corporate career, Jeff Hoye '95 acquired C&J Cladding, a small automated welding company
In 2006 Jeff Hoye resigned as president of Western Hemisphere operations for Corus America Inc. Corus Group PLC was one of the world's largest integrated steel producers. Attractive job opportunities in Texas lured Jeff and his wife Carrie away from the Chicago suburbs to Houston. Upon arrival, though, Hoye had a problem: his new employer was being sold, and Jeff was jobless.
Hoye saw three options: move back to Chicago and continue a corporate career, go into consulting or buy a business. He chose the latter and, in March 2007, he and a partner became co-owners of C&J Cladding, a specialty welding company serving the oil and gas industries. The two entrepreneurs grew the mom-and-pop business from 12 employees to 50 and tripled production capacity. In eight years, C&J's revenue grew from $5 million to $20 million, with strong margins.
"My partner and I designed and built the organization to grow the company and sell it. We focused on fundamentals of quality and technical partnership with our clients, and hired employees with an orientation toward teamwork and a good work ethic. Growing the business was hard work, but a lot of fun."
Last October, the privately held Ellwood Group Inc., a steelmaker and forging company, acquired Hoye's company. Staying on as commercial director, Hoye is ensuring a smooth integration of the two entities.
The career transition has allowed Jeff and Carrie to focus more on community service, supporting agencies that transform lives, particularly for the impoverished. The couple serves on several boards and their giving focuses on the transformational impact of education.
"There are so many deserving organizations. By focusing our giving on education, we feel we are making the greatest impact."