Howard Fields is the Chief Executive Officer of Hallmark Cabinets, a Utah-based company that manufacturers high quality custom cabinetry for homes and businesses around the western United States. Howard’s roots in cabinetry go back to his college days, where he put himself through school as a cabinet maker, installer and salesman. While earning his associate’s degree in business from Western Wyoming College, Howard was awarded the Truman scholarship, a highly competitive scholarship awarded to just one student per state. He then went on to earn his political science bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University. Howard brings a rich, diverse professional background in law, carpentry and sales to his current position, and Hallmark is the second cabinetry company that has flourished under his ownership. He purchased Hallmark Cabinets in 2008 and oversees 40 employees. Howard is a certified kitchen designer and serves as president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s local chapter.
Success as an Entrepreneur
Like many successful businessmen, Howard began his professional life in a completely different line of work. He studied political science with the intention of becoming a lawyer but quickly discovered that was not the path for him. While working at his brother’s manufacturing firm, he noticed that cabinet work was ongoing and decided to continue with cabinetry, working as the sales manager of that company for 15 years. He then purchased a struggling manufacturing company in Logan, Utah, and turned it around. After selling the business ten years later, Howard considered retiring, but he then purchased Hallmark Cabinets and has been running it ever since.
Howard advises those interested in starting a business to gain experience in their chosen field before taking the leap to entrepreneur. “Just because you’re a skilled craftsman doesn’t make you a good businessman,” he says. He also advises understanding accounting and numbers well and understanding how your product fits into the market in down economic times so you can plan ahead to stay successful.
Success Is Showing Up
For Howard, the best way to achieve long-term success is putting in hard work. “Eighty percent of success is showing up,” he says. Howard credits his father with teaching him the meaning of hard work and good morals.
He also believes that business owners need to be leaders, setting and demonstrating the priorities and values for the company. “You must show you care about quality, morale and the like,” he says. That leads to happy employees, which he says is also essential to success. “Success is more than money,” he says. “If you don’t have happy employees, your organization will be in turmoil.”