In the fall of 1993, Superior Controls co-founders Rick Pierro and Mark LaRoche found they needed some CAD help at their fledgling company. At the time, they thought a one- or two-week temporary assignment should do the trick, and called former coworker Heidi French for the position. Rick and Mark had worked with Heidi at a previous employer, and Rick thought she would be perfect for the position because she has excellent attention to details and gets work done quickly and correctly. “Heidi has a supernatural memory for details,” Rick said. “She can remember things other people forget, like exactly what I was wearing during every company party, celebration and company meeting. But not just me – she can remember what everyone was wearing!”
Heidi accepted the short-term contractor position to help them out. That position soon turned into a full-time job as she came on board as the company’s first employee. Twenty-five years later, Heidi is still with Superior Controls as CAD Specialist, and she still enjoys the important work she does drafting all of the company’s technical drawings. As a one-person CAD department, Heidi creates drawings for the company’s projects, presentations, proposals, and trainings, and supports the documentation team.
“I remember 20 years ago asking Heidi how long it would take to convert some drawings to AutoCAD,” Rick recalled. “She said she could have it done in 2 weeks. When I told our customer, he looked at me skeptically and said no one can do that in 2 weeks and it will take at least 4-5 weeks. She completed the project perfectly in precisely 2 weeks.”
Heidi enjoys the challenging work at Superior Controls, and working with her talented coworkers. “I am most proud of the relationships I have formed at Superior Controls and the work we produce as a group,” said Heidi. “I have worked with some of the same people for the last 10, 15, 20+ years and we work well together.”
Heidi cites the incredible growth of the company and its 2007 move to the current facility as the biggest changes since she came on board in 1993. “I have a great deal of respect for Mark and Rick and their values and vision for the company,” she said. “Mark and Rick have been successful in bringing together a talented team of individuals that I am proud to be a part of.”
A native of Portsmouth, NH, Heidi and her husband Jim still live there today. Their elder daughter Candace resides locally and is a Spanish teacher in Durham, NH, and younger daughter Danielle will graduate this spring, having earned a business degree with a concentration in accounting from the University of New Hampshire.
Heidi enjoys the active and socially-oriented culture that Rick and Mark foster at Superior Controls, and loves to participate in the company’s after-hours events. “The company culture is very close knit and much like a family. There have been many company events over the years that have included all family members and it has been a great opportunity to see another side of my coworkers,” Heidi said. “We have met spouses and significant others and watched our children grow up. We have a potluck lunch three or four times a year and Mark and Rick host ‘Road Warrior’ dinners that also provide us with an opportunity to get to know each other better.”
Heidi also participates in many of the company-sponsored athletic events. “I have been running for the last 12 years with the same group of friends,” she said. “I have participated in several of the company road races and even managed to beat Rick.”
Of these road races, Rick said, “20 years ago I started challenging the employees to a yearly charitable 5K road race. If they beat me running, I would give them $300 immediately after the race. I was in great shape, had been running quite a bit and was shocked when Heidi passed me at the 2-mile marker. She had been secretly running 3 miles every morning at 5 AM for months. At the finish line, her entire family, friends and some of her neighbors were there to celebrate her win against me. They cheered loudly when I awarded her the $300. She has beat me every year she participated since.”
When not at work or beating Rick in road races, Heidi enjoys spending time with family, antiquing, and working in her garden and yard.
Mark stated, “Outside of her outstanding skill set, professionalism, work ethic, and ease to work with all I can say about Heidi is that she is one of the nicest, most genuine people I have ever met and she has the craziest, most contagious laugh I have ever encountered. I’m smirking just thinking about it. Best couple-day hire ever.”