David Indursky of ENCON: “Keep work at work”

The key to leadership is investing your time and resources to properly train your team and arm them with the right skills to succeed at their job. I try to empower our team. We do a lot of technical training to stay ahead of the ever-changing industry trends. In addition to technical training, I also […]

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The key to leadership is investing your time and resources to properly train your team and arm them with the right skills to succeed at their job. I try to empower our team. We do a lot of technical training to stay ahead of the ever-changing industry trends. In addition to technical training, I also believe it’s more important than ever to have a business coach to help you and your team in today’s age.

As a part of our series about 5 Things You Need To Run A Highly Successful Family Business, I had the pleasure of interviewing David Indursky.

David feels incredibly fortunate to be in a generational business, ENCON, founded in 1968. He joined the business full-time in 1993 and worked his way up to president in 2000. David’s vision is for ENCON to continue to lead the industry over the next 50 years, both in the use of technology, growing the team, and working with customers who appreciate the value of partnering with ENCON.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path? Can you tell us a bit about your family business and your role in it?

I was born into the business. My father started the company in 1968 and today ENCON is an award-winning, second-generation family business. At 82 years old, my father still comes to the office every day. The running joke is, my mother will kill me if I fire him! Throughout my life, I have worked in all aspects of the company, from a truck driver delivering parts to working in our sheet metal fabrication shop and as a junior estimator. In 1999, I became president.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?

My most exciting stories come when I utilize my creativity to solve a problem for a client. Often, I’ve found the learning that comes is very different from one job to the next because each client’s challenges are unique to their facility. What makes my job interesting is that it’s never the same from one day to the next. As my career has evolved, I’ve shifted from being entrenched on the project side to investing more of my time in developing and mentoring our team. I enjoy helping our teams solve problems and teaching our leaders how to manage and nurture their teams. As we look to teach the next generation of our ENCON team, we work on instilling our company culture and our collaborative team-oriented approach in all of our new hires. We have an entrusted team who do the heavy lifting. My job is to focus on our long-term growth and set goals for our future.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was a parts runner for our company, I came in early on a Saturday to pick up parts for an early morning rig. When I arrived at the shop, I found the keys but could not find the parts I was responsible to give to the crew before the sun came up. This was long before the time of cell phones, so I paged the lead tech to call me at the shop. When he replied, he very colorfully explained that the parts I was physically looking in the shop were the parts they needed!

The bottom line is I had no idea what I was looking at and when I arrived at the site, late nonetheless, they all had a good laugh at my expense. I learned very quickly to ask better questions to avoid this type of mistake moving forward.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

With over 50 years of experience, we have tackled a wide-array of complex projects like working in historic landmarks like Thomas Edison’s home and laboratory. Another differentiator is our best-in-class service.

One of the projects I’m most proud of is the reinvention of the historic Bell Labs, the site of ground-breaking technological achievements like the invention of the cell phone. With 1.2 million square feet of office space, plus an additional 800,000 square feet of amenities ranging from retail and restaurants to healthcare and entertainment spaces, keeping this “Metroburb” properly heated and cooled was no small feat. Modernizing this historic building — now known as Bell Works — meant taking painstaking preservation efforts while incorporating the latest technology. A key component of the project was installing a new smoke evacuation system that would be compliant with the latest codes and be invisible to the building occupants. We lifted fans onto the roof of the 5-story site with a helicopter, as its famed architect Eero Saarinens’s iconic landscaping and retaining walls made it impossible to get cranes close enough. By delivering the fans via helicopter, the team was able to do in only two hours what would have taken days by conventional methods, saving loads of money. Our team successfully coordinated all the moving parts of this massive project in one weekend!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are working on a bevy of exciting projects from big to small across New Jersey. During the pandemic, we’ve been partnering with businesses, restaurants, schools, hospitals, and surgicenters to help them reopen safely using various air purification strategies, which we customize for each facility’s needs.

The smaller projects we’re working on are important for our newer team members to help them learn and grow. While those who have been here for a while are assigned to the bigger projects because their skill set and expertise are matched to those projects.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’m grateful to my father, who instilled the value of hard work and the value of a strong work ethic in me. I’ve also had other mentors along the way who have guided me. I’ve found that different mentors and coaches are important at different career stages because your needs evolve as your business grows.

Early on in my career, a mentor taught me how to treat customers and create a company culture. Years later, a different mentor taught me how to be a CEO for a company of 80 people versus a company with 20 employees. It’s important to retain what you learned from all of your mentors throughout your journey because it’s helpful to refer back to during various stages of your business. I had a business coach 20 years ago, and I recently brought him back to teach our new generation of ENCON team members — it was a full-circle experience.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I aim to encourage people to make the best of their circumstances no matter where they are at that point in their life. Success for me is not about having “stuff,” it’s about the experiences you have throughout the journey. People have told me I’m a perpetual optimist; sometimes, you have to look hard to find the good.

Ok thank you for that. Let’s now pivot to the main parts of our interview. How do you define a family business? How is a family business different from a regular business?

I define a family business as a company founded by one or multiple family members, and then new members join it as it evolves.

A family business is different from a regular business because you’re not normally having Thanksgiving dinner with your business partners!

In your opinion or experience, what are the unique advantages that family-owned businesses have?

A unique advantage that family-owned businesses have is the incredible level of trust that is inherent in a family dynamic. It may take years to establish that same trust in a traditional business partnership. Also, the second generation has the advantage of having the business’s work ethic ingrained in them from the first generation.

What are the unique drawbacks or blind spots that family-owned businesses have?

In a generational business, if the first generation of the family is unwilling and unable to let go and empower the second generation to evolve, the business can be a drawback. I’ve been fortunate to have a very supportive father who encouraged me to lead and expand the business with my vision. The degree of complexity can also increase when you have other family members involved who have varying opinions about the way the business should be run. Another blind spot can be that you only know the leadership style you learned from generation one, so seeking out other leaders to learn from is essential.

What are some of the common mistakes you have seen family businesses make? What would you recommend to avoid those errors?

One of the most common mistakes in family businesses is if the first generation won’t allow the second generation to put their own color and flavor into the business. In order for the company to stay modern and grow, generation one needs to allow them to implement their own changes based on their experiences, modernization, and technology. If generation one isn’t willing or able to do that, it’s a recipe for disaster. Reflecting back on my career, we were able to grow significantly over the past 20+ years because my father allowed me to make my own decisions about how to evolve and expand the business.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders of family businesses to help their employees to thrive?

Establish boundaries early on. I recommend keeping work in its own silo where it needs to be to avoid it becoming all-consuming. When work remains at work, you’re able to really enjoy family time together without it being about business.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean with a story or example?

The key to leadership is investing your time and resources to properly train your team and arm them with the right skills to succeed at their job. I try to empower our team. We do a lot of technical training to stay ahead of the ever-changing industry trends. In addition to technical training, I also believe it’s more important than ever to have a business coach to help you and your team in today’s age.

Our two division managers are thriving professionally because we invested in a CEO coach to work with them a few hours per month. Investing in training your executives to help them grow ultimately benefits the entire company because they can share those new skills with their teams.

We’ve grown from 80 to 140 employees in the last year. In order to fully immerse them in our company values, we’re coordinating a cultural onboard training to infuse the core of who we are in them. In this COVID world, we don’t see our team as often, and we want them to be immersed in our 50+-year-old culture because it’s important to maintain our core values, especially during this growth period for our company.

I was on a Zoom training with 25 people the other day. Normally we’d be meeting in person, sharing stories, etc. All of that is lost in this Zoom world, and it’s challenging to recreate the old “water cooler” banter. The trainers took sections of the group into breakout rooms to play the game two truths and a lie. It was fun to connect on a more human level!

Here is our main question. What are the “5 Things You Need To Run A Highly Successful Family Business”? DAVID — Please share a story or example for each.

Proactively seek out alignments with business networking groups outside of your industry and connect with other successful business owners to learn from your peers.

Define your boundaries and set a proverbial “off” switch to recharge and recalibrate.

Keep work at work, so it doesn’t intrude on or chip away at your family time.

Find mentors for the various stages of your business. The guidance you need early on in your career will likely change as you move through your profession.

Empower your executive team with training to help empower them to be better leaders.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Going in one more round when you don’t think you can, that’s what makes all the difference in your life.” — Rocky Balboa

It’s that simple. In order to build resilience, you need to have some bumps and bruises along the way. My father went through many hard times in business over the last 50 years. I entered the business at one of our lowest points, which, in hindsight, was a blessing because it truly taught me how to be resilient.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would love to sit down with people who’ve had great failures and turned them into great successes, because I would love to learn from their experiences.

I’d love to have lunch with Tom Brady and find out how he made the Buccaneers’ defense better. What did he instill in them? Did they excel because he led by example? I’m fascinated by learning how leaders inspire others to be better.

There are many who do it without fame and fortune. Those are the people I’d love to spend time with to learn how they motivate and inspire those around them.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement, it would be to encourage and empower people to be their best and take accountability for their actions because that’s all they can control.

How can our readers further follow your work online?


Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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