Bill Hasse Inducted into The Times Business & Industry Hall of Fame
Bill joins other Region Business Leaders, marking the 11th induction of members into the Times Hall of Fame
May 1, 2018: William (Bill) A. Hasse III, President and Co-Owner of Calumet City, IL based Hasse Construction Company, Inc., was inducted into the 2018 Times Business & Industry Hall of Fame, in a region gathering of roughly 500 attendees. Bill, 62, was one of five business leaders selected for the Class of 2018 induction. Hasse’s many professional and charitable contributions to the local community over the past 40 years were central to his nomination. Bill was also honored in early 2018 as the Munster Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year.
Hasse had not planned to join the now 98-year-old family construction company, but after working as a civil engineer, the Purdue University graduate joined his father at the business in 1982. He soon settled into the job, and Region. "My roots are here. My family and friends are here," Hasse said. "It's been a good reason to stay."
Hasse has run Hasse Construction Co. since 1984, after the death of his father, William A. Hasse Jr., who had joined the firm in 1956. Hasse III was 27 and still new to the Calumet City- and Munster-based business when he took over with the economy struggling through recession. Private construction work had dried up, and government work was out-of-reach. "There were times here, as I was learning the business, that we had nothing to bid and we were limited to what we could do because at the time we had lost our bonding capacity," Hasse said. For Hasse, there was one path to take. "I had nothing to lose with trying to grow the business."
Hasse attributes the next phase of growth to the lessons of trial-and-error and being surrounded by good people. For Hasse, that included an advisory board that met every six months. "It made me answer to somebody. It made me be responsible, to have a business plan, have a thorough accounting system, have a long-term plan." One strategy that's worked well for the company is project diversification, Hasse said. In 1991, when his brother John joined the business, Hasse Construction expanded into public projects, including municipal and school projects, as well as underground utility work. Then, in the mid-1990s, the company expanded into health care. It did work for St. Margaret Mercy, then for Community Hospital in 1999. That started an ongoing relationship with what's now the Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana, owner of three hospitals and a variety of smaller facilities.
A combination of commercial, industrial, medical and underground utility work helps Hasse maintain the goal of working year-round and through shifts in the economy. Hasse Construction's largest job has been the $30 million Praxair hydrogen plant addition in Whiting that allowed Praxair to triple its hydrogen production to feed the expansion of the BP refinery. And one of Hasse's unique customers has been 3 Floyds Brewing Co., for which it expanded the brewery and built a distillery.
Along the way, Hasse has served a variety of professional and charitable organizations. He is a Past President of the Associated General Contractors-Indiana and Past Chairman of the Northwest Indiana Contractors Association. He is also a past member of the Construction Advancement Foundation's board of directors.
Hasse is a member of the Boards of Directors of the Lake County Economic Alliance and the Regional Development Company and is a longtime member and Past President of the Board of Hospice of the Calumet Area and co-founder of the annual Hospice Hustle bike ride, running for the past 12 years. He also has served on the Hammond YMCA and Valparaiso Salvation Army boards.
As for the future, the fourth generation, Bill’s children, Billy Hasse and Kim Hasse O’Halloran joined in 2017, though a full transition to the fourth generation is still some years away.
Other inductees of the 2018 Business & Industry Hall of Fame include Scott Albanese, CEO, Albanese Nuts and Candy, Jeff Strack, President, Indiana Grocery Group / Strack & Van Til, Dr. Vidya Kora, Partner, Franklin Clinic, and Terry McMahon, Owner, McMahon & Associates. The Enterprise of the Year is Monosol.