Employee Highlight – Victor Harsch
We are proud of our employees and the pride and care they take producing your orders and want to share their stories with you.
Each month we highlight one of our employees and the department they work in! You will get a look behind-the-scenes here at the lab, and get to know one of our own a little bit better.
Victor Harsch – Customer Service
Meet Victor Harsch, a well-loved, long-time member of our Customer Service Team at H&H! Customer service is our most “customer-facing” department in the company and is integral to the success of H&H. Many customer service reps have experience in the photography industry, so they really are expert help when it comes to your questions. Victor has been with H&H for over two decades. His dedicated, patient, fun-loving, yet professional attitude make him a joy to work with. Enjoy getting to know him through this article!
What is it about your job that you love?
It is a privilege to work for a company with such great integrity, from the top down to the individuals I work with. Sometimes mistakes are made, but not with ill intent. I also love being able to help people. Once I had a customer send me a note on the weekend about trying to import data and it wasn’t working. His computer failed. I reached out to him within two or three minutes of his request and let him know what steps he needed to take. This allowed my customer to continue working. He had just finished a photo shoot and was working on setting up the project back at his office. He was getting ready to go on vacation and was trying to get the project squared away before he left, so it felt good to be able to help him.
What was your position when you first came to H&H?
I first came to H&H in 1998. I was doing overlays in the basement of the building. We printed on clear cellophane and taped it to the negative, and then put it back in the order so that it could be printed in production. I happened to work with Kristen Brown, one of the daughters of the owners. She was the one that trained me in my first position!
What other positions have you held here at H&H?
After overlays, I went to routing, so I got to know where everything was in the lab. After routing, I went to work with Pro Shots. From there, I went to customer service and have been with customer service ever since. I couldn’t tell you how long that has been – I don’t remember!
How have things changed in the industry since you first started at H&H?
Gazzow! Well, when I first started here, digital had maybe only four computers. It was also the beginning of our push towards “lean manufacturing”. When I was working in South Korea, Wayne Haub had sent me the book “Lean Manufacturing”. When I arrived at the lab, they were still printing on optical machines and on large rolls of paper. We had large shelves with rolls of printed materials that had to then be cut down. In those days, when it was “busy season,” you could walk around the lab and see how busy it was. Now, when you walk around the lab during busy season, you don’t always really “see it”, since most work is done on the computer and we are a ton more efficient. We applied a lot, if not all the principles from lean manufacturing, so everything is very lean and the processes are so much better.
I know your spouse works for H&H, as well. How is it having your spouse working at the same company?
I have heard people say that working with your spouse is very challenging. There was a time when I was working in production, something we called Pro Shots. You would develop the film, splice the film together, punch holes in it, and then run it through a printer that would recognize the holes and know where to print. My wife worked with me during that time and she was fabulous. I never found it to be difficult. Now we work in two different departments. Sometimes she has to get on me to do something I was supposed to do. It’s her job. I wouldn’t expect her to treat me any differently than another employee. We don’t really talk about work at home. My wife doesn’t like doing that. I think it helps to keep it separate. At the end of the work day, I can easily turn off something and turn it back on. So it is easy for me to “decompress” and switch gears quickly to our home life. I credit that to my faith. Having been a Christian since I was seventeen, the things that I have learned help me relax and help me put things in perspective.
Tell me a little bit about your family.
We have a seventeen year old daughter. It was wonderful in the beginning, when our daughter was born, we split shifts. My wife worked nights and I worked days so that we could be with her the first several years. I was forty-five when she was born and at that time I didn’t especially care about kids. The greatest shock of my life when she was born, was my tremendous outpouring of love for her. It was the weirdest thing ever – she ate, slept, pooped and yet was so entertaining and lovable!
It makes it hard now. She is seventeen. She is very independent and likes her alone time. We have to struggle to give her the space she needs sometimes. Her independence started at eleven and now that she wants more independence, we want as much family time with her as possible!
I have learned, that one of the best things you can do with a teenager, is to take them to a foreign country where they have no connection with anyone. Then they can’t wait to be around you. I enjoy when we travel together because we enjoy family time together.
Tell me more about your travels and hobbies.
At this point in life, I can travel and really love it. But I don’t need to travel because I have traveled a lot over the years. I have traveled over a decent portion of Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, and Thailand. I traveled for the first time my senior year of college. I took my first trip to Israel, Denmark, Athens, Jordan, and Egypt. Then I joined the Army and was stationed in Germany, so I got to travel quite a bit then as well. When I think back to all my travels, one of the more interesting things that I have gotten to do, was to climb the pyramids in Egypt!
After the Army, I was in seminary for two years. I got a Masters of Arts in Exegetical Theology. Exegetical is the Greek word to take words and break them apart to find out what they mean. I wanted to read the Bible for myself and understand it. I found out it was a whole lot more work than just learning some Greek and Hebrew. That was my motivation for going to seminary – not to be a missionary or a pastor. I just wanted to know more. I had that goal from high school. Following seminary, I taught English as a second language in South Korea.
What are some of your favorite trips that you have taken as a family?
We went to Turks and Caicos twice. We went once with just our family which was really fun and did a lot of cool stuff. Then the larger, extended family went as well—which was a lot of fun too! We also have traveled to Korea as a family five or six times.