The Rise of a Superhero

By Lisa Loewen
Photo by Jason Dailey

man of steelJon Haas’ metal fabricating aspirations began in shop class at Seaman High School where he had a vision to build weight lifting equipment. Not knowing what he wanted to do after high school, he joined the Marine Corps Reserve because it was the “toughest armed forces division.”

A couple of years later, he found himself in an entry level engineering class at the University of Kansas and immediately knew mechanical engineering was what he was meant to do. Jon received his mechanical engineering degree in 1990 and went to work for a pump company in Kansas City.

Moving back to Topeka a couple of years later, he still had aspirations of building weightlifting equipment, which he did in his spare time in his garage. He quickly saw that lots of people have skill and aspirations, but if you don’t have a market for it, it doesn’t take off and develop.

During that same time, Jon began working toward a master’s degree in construction management in Kansas City. He carpooled with a construction professional from BRB Contractors. When they needed to come up with a project for one of their classes, the two men brainstormed the idea for a miscellaneous metal fabrication company. They developed a business plan for the class and discovered there was actually a significant need for just such a company. By the end of the semester, they were actually getting some orders. By the following spring, they had close to $500,000 worth of work and knew it was time to quit their jobs and take this business on full time.

A year later, Jon bought out his partner and founded HME, Inc. in 1996.