Family means everything. And to Orchard-Rite patriarch Daryl Hill, the definition of family reached far beyond those related by blood. A retired, former longtime employee, summed it up best when she said: “He cared about all of his employees and wanted to help all of them in any way he could.” Daryl’s widow, Margo Hill, says her husband saw every employee as an important part of the company’s success. His concern for his employees extended to their safety as well as the safety of all the users of Orchard-Rite® products.
History of Innovation
The Orchard-Rite family was born in 1967, a grassroots business operating out of a small warehouse in rural Yakima, Washington. Seven employees formed the original team; four of them remain and three have retired.
In the early days, Daryl enlisted the help of his wife and seven kids to help cut the fiberglass for blades. Margo recalls how measuring spoons and even a toaster oven went missing from the kitchen and ended up in his shop where Daryl experimented with blade design.
“Trial and error got the business going,” she recalls. “If he couldn’t figure it out, he would go to someone who did.” Family and colleagues describe Daryl as a man whose brain was like a sponge. “He could never stop thinking. I would wake in the night and find him up trying to find answers,” Margo says.
A Lasting Legacy
Daryl’s children remember the early days – the scratchy feeling of fiberglass, the smell of hot resin, family vacations that always included stops to see customers, playing in the old warehouse that served as the company’s first home.
Beyond the fun, they remember their father as a man of integrity who lived out the principle of “say what you mean and mean what you say.” Daryl was guided by a strong moral compass and he instilled the same values in his children. Honesty and hard work, fortitude and perseverance formed the backbone of his business and personal philosophy.
Daryl’s family also credits him for teaching them to approach challenges with enthusiasm, to appreciate the simple things in life and to always remain humble.
Remembering a Leader
When the company’s president and CEO, went to longtime employees and asked them to describe Daryl, many of them did with tears in their eyes. The words that came to mind were kind, gracious, humble, intelligent, creative, honest, tireless and firm, but fair. He thought about what he said before he said it. If there was an issue, he worked on it until there was a solution. “He was the kind of guy you wanted to be friends with,” he said.
Daryl had a keen ability to find people who were smart, honest and self-motivated. One of Orchard-Rite’s engineers, says Daryl didn’t keep employees under his thumb, but valued their input and gave them the freedom to experiment and play around with their ideas.
Pure Integrity – Pure Orchard-Rite
Daryl created a unique culture, an atmosphere where employees are included in decisions and their input is valued. The legacy he left behind when he died unexpectedly in 2013 at the age of 72 was one of integrity. “Success didn’t change him,” says Margo. “He was humble and he never took credit for the company’s success.”
How would Daryl and the original team react to the success of the fledgling company they created? Surprised. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought this company would grow from its humble beginning to what it is today,” remarks Margo.
All credit is due to the innovation of one man and the hard work of a family of employees devoted to making his vision a reality. A family of people committed to Pure Integrity – Pure Orchard-Rite.