Hilti is a name you see lots of places on a lot of products. But, you may not realize how big a presence they have in Tulsa. Hilti's annual North American conference is underway. While many such conferences bring to mind long lectures and sleepy slideshows, the News On 6's Steve Berg reports for a company that makes construction equipment, such a meeting is noisier and messier.
"Just like you go get a new car, you take it for a ride. Well, our people go drill, they fasten, they do all those wonderful things to learn how they can help their customers," said Cary Evert of Hilti.
So far, North American President Cary Evert says nobody has accidentally drilled into the convention center floor.
"We're pretty good at keeping it clean. We've done this for a few years," said Hilti's Cary Evert.
Actually, Hilti moved its North American hub to Tulsa nearly 30 years ago. Manufacturing is no longer done in Tulsa, but the company has 800 employees working here as the administrative, financial, legal headquarters for all of Hilti's operations in the Western Hemisphere.
"We take every phone call from all of North America, every customer into Tulsa every day," said Hilti's Cary Evert.
Hilti's tools target large-scale commercial projects. But, they've recently partnered with Home Depot to enter the residential, do-it-yourself market. And, they say there are big opportunities in what they call the civil marketplace.
"Highway, bridges, tunnels. But also, refineries are being built again. Sewage treatment plants are being upgraded all over North America," said Cary Evert with Hilti.
Evert says they don't look to make a lot of noise in the news. But, behind the scenes, on construction sites everywhere, they say business is good, with double-digit sales growth expected this year.
Hilti makes about 5,000 different products. They say they'll have more than 40 major new product-launches in 2008.
For more information about Hilti, click here.