Henry P. Kelly believes the most important “ingredient” in running a business and creating a quality product is the people. With 57 years in the company under his belt, Henry has said from the beginning that quality people mean a quality business.
“It’s all about the people. Whether it’s the managers or supervisors, if you don’t have the right people with a can-do attitude, why bother?”
After working positions in manufacturing plants, repair shops and in the corporate towers, Henry has respect for all parts of the operation. U-Haul Founder L.S. Shoen needed trailers built in Canada so Henry ran the first manufacturing plant in Canada. His time spent in the field brings him to believe the people at the locations know best when it comes to building the product.
When you want to build something of high quality, the people at the locations at the job know more than you do, and you have to trust their judgement. When you build, it’s at the source.
After 37 years of running manufacturing and repair plants, Henry went on to become the Vice President of Human Resources for 10 years. He is known for understanding people and taking his relationships with people seriously. When he worked in Human Resources, he read every exit interview and the one thing people mentioned they liked about the company is the people.
When I manufactured equipment, he manufactured equipment under high quality. When I went to HR, I hired people of great quality. The people make up a business.
As a hands-on man, Henry enjoys welding, painting, dye making and pretty much anything that requires him to use his hands. He speaks fondly about the time he spent in the manufacturing plants and repair shops. Henry spent years traveling and working at different U-Haul locations. In 1959, Henry built the body for the first U-Haul truck. Before then, U-Haul was only renting out trailers.
Henry started at U-Haul when he was 18 years old and he wants people to know that they don’t need a silver spoon in their mouth to make it far in the company.
[People] don’t have to walk in with a silver spoon and take over or be from Princeton and know nothing else. I came in at ground level at $1.25 an hour and now I make $1.35 an hour [ha ha]… I walked in that door and had no problem making parts, pressing them, welding them.
U-Haul is more than a job for Henry. It’s a family. He was close friends with L.S. and being the people person he is, Henry has friends all over the country from working in many U-Haul locations. He also has family that work at U-Haul. Henry says U-Haul is a progressive company and after 57 years with the company, he’s never been bored.