Impossible, I am interested.” Francois P. Hauville
50 Years of beet fields and boots
1.8 Billion Cubic feet of air filtered every single day
53 Million Cubic meters per hour
180,000 tons of Co2 Saved every single year, the equivalent over 40,000 cars off the road
Products sold in over 46 countries across every continent
More than 20 international patents filed for brand new product inventions
An office open in every time zone
Good evening and thank you all for being here with us tonight. 18,250 days is what it took for us to get here. 18,250 days building a company one step at a time, one day at a time. A company, which for all accounts shouldn’t be here if not for the dream of one man who believed in the impossible. The initial concept behind ductless Fume hoods came to life back in 1968. 50 years ago our founder, Francois Pierre Hauville had a vision, which holds more true today than ever. Keeping things simple and allowing our clients to be free from the complex infrastructure of their laboratory buildings. Francois Pierre Hauville is the reason we are all here tonight in this most wonderful of settings and his anything is possible attitude is imbedded all over ERLAB and resides in each and every one of us.
Francois Pierre Hauville would be the first to say that we could never have done it all on our own and I must take this opportunity to thank all of you for being part of this amazing enterprise. Without the contribution of our tremendous partners and the dedication of our passionate employees, we would not have been able to take on the impossible and fundamentally change the landscape of our industry.
I must also take a moment to thank and honor one particular person, without whom this journey would have been fundamentally different for our father and quite frankly impossible for my brother and I, and that person is of course our mother Marie or as we call her, Mrs. Hauville. For our father she was the voice of reason, the soundboard, the reassurance and validation he needed to move forward without doubt or reservation. For us she is ERLAB. She represents this company’s history and its core values. She, just like our father, is forever inseparable from our company and its culture.
Although at ERLAB we never like to look back and much prefer to imagine the future, I would like to take a moment to tell you a few personal stories from our past, which will shed light on our journey and make you realize why at ERLAB, we always believe in a positive outcome. Regardless of how unsurmountable the task may appear, we fundamentally believe in our ability to prevail. Few of you have ever heard these stories but the spirit of ERLAB was born in the beet fields of Burgundy, where our father worked as a boy during the war. Never ending beet fields to which he attended every day from dusk till dawn, beet fields, which for one very young man must have appeared endless. Yet, with resolve and belief in his ability to persevere he was able to surmount his task and prevail to the point where he was offered the opportunity to run the entire farm. Later on, after the war had ended, he left the beet fields and worked in a factory that reconditioned old pairs of boots. His first task was to sort out a mountain of boots, which had been thrown in a pile nearly two stories high. From atop the pile he created a system that sorted the boots by color, size and style and eventually found every single matching pair.
We have all faced the beet fields and mountains of boots at some point in our lives but for ERLAB and all of its people, this is part of our routine. Beet fields and mountains of boots have become our daily lives because doing what can’t be done and moving forward every single day regardless of the mountainous challenges is what we have all been trained to do. It is who we are. It is this spirit, this corporate culture which drives us every day and gives us the confidence to know deep within ourselves that ERLAB is on a never ending journey, paving its own road and setting its own rules. I must tell you that there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of the beet fields and the unsurmountable pile of boots.
My dad’s favorite saying was “every day a little bit more”. After 50 years and even though we have contributed to making this world a better place and already achieved so much, we would not want to be called a success. Success is definitive and absolute. ERLAB happens every day and changes every day. For many of us ERLAB is a living entity. If anything after 50 years, we have just begun and we now look towards the next 50 years and beyond. As long as this culture continues to inhabit us, our job will never be done. We will always invest in our ability to anticipate and provide the unexpected.
For us, the purpose of a company like ERLAB is not to be, but to become.
I will leave you tonight with these parting words: “The competitiveness of a company is embedded in its culture, able to embrace the challenges of its era and forever keeping a volumetric vision of events. These are the ingredients of success.” Words spoken by my father at the age of 72 at a time when he wasn’t anywhere near thinking of retirement.
Once more, on behalf of my mother Marie and my brother Antoine, I would like to thank you all for being with us tonight and wish you a wonderful evening.