20 Years Old and Growing Stronger

Nebraska plumbing company builds on success, continued community support.
20 Years Old and Growing Stronger
Jack Zohner

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I will never forget the looks on our daughters’ faces at the dinner table the night I announced we were starting a plumbing, heating and air conditioning business. They were shocked that I planned to quit a good paying job and make this change.

It was probably good back then that my wife Deb and I did not realize that 90 percent of small businesses fail within 10 years. John Henry’s turns 20 years old this month. We have been fortunate.

Every day provides interesting challenges and opportunities to improve. The biggest challenge was to understand who we should become as a company and then make necessary changes to progressively improve each day to reach that goal.

Most phases of building a business are like learning to ride a bicycle. It’s too easy to lose balance and suffer. Eventually it becomes easier and the mishaps sort of go away. At the same time, the risks are always there. The moment you think you have made it, you have not. 

It was also important to learn what the customer wants and provide it in an efficient manner to meet or exceed those needs.

We evidently are doing many of the right things because our community has given John Henry’s awards for Best of Lincoln, People's Choice Awards, Angie’s Super Service Awards and two Better Business Bureau Integrity Awards. Thank you for those humbling awards that we fully appreciate!

Speaking of our team, it took 20 years of careful searching and hiring to get the team we have assembled. Our thorough hiring process beyond the basic background checks includes a seven-personality-trait survey to make sure applicant’s profiles match the desired positions. The employee will be happier and so will everyone around them. Only safe techs will be in your homes. We “hire for attitude and train for skill.” Quality service and professionalism start with providing a trustworthy team.

The measurement of our team’s success is not in profits, but something much more valuable they constantly give us. An example is our team voted for John Henry’s as Lincoln’s Best Place to Work. That tells a lot about their big hearts, great attitudes and dedication. Thanks team; you are appreciated!

Many of you have commented on the quality of our fleet of service trucks. Some have over 2,300 parts on them to reduce trips to the supply house.

We think our office is interesting and is available to see if you want a tour during normal office hours. Check out the museum pieces in our “diner” and hear some fun history stories in our Learning Center.

Our Learning Center has been a great place to bring the team together for meetings and training. It’s a “free zone” where everyone can speak openly. Open communication is vitally important in companies.

The John Henry’s team developed a LINKS program to recognize other team members when they go that extra mile. They became “good-finders” and look for the good in others so they can post it on the LINKS board. Team members generating the LINKS and also the ones recognized have an opportunity to be awarded through cash drawings each year.

See the video:


I started writing these articles in 2001, with a major focus in mind of serving and protecting you. Safety in plumbing, heating and air conditioning is serious stuff!

Interestingly enough some have asked if I write my own articles; yes, I do! Writing is fun and challenging. It makes me more observant and aware as I look for new “stories” around every corner.

One thing that is obvious is how much the world around us has changed since 2001. Together we have been through a lot as a country.

My goal is to leave this world a better place for future generations like past generations did for us. Many paid the ultimate price so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. We honor them by our ongoing achievements and giving back to others.

A 20th anniversary is nice to celebrate, but the reality is the main celebration is in the ongoing effort to continue achieving even greater things. Some companies just grow older and lose focus. That’s sad for everyone involved.

For those in the Lincoln, Nebraska, area, John Henry’s 20th anniversary celebration luncheon is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 31, and you are invited.

Hopefully this article did not seem too personal, but it was time to announce our anniversary and thank those who have provided valuable support through the years. Because of your support we grow stronger.

About the author: Jack Zohner is the owner of John Henry’s Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning in Lincoln, Nebraska.


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