His vision from the day he arrived in St. Joseph in 1891 was beyond those of the common man. His inventiveness inspired those around him while his genius formulated a company that would soon become the cornerstone of the maintenance industry.
For N.S. Hillyard, the founder of Hillyard in 1907, growth was inevitable, quality was the strengthening asset, and promotion was the essential key to success. People, employees in particular, were the keys to longevity.
In that first year of the company in 1907, N.S. served a variety of assignments as owner, manager, chief researcher, inventor, chemist, accountant, salesman, delivery boy and financier. Most of all, he was an innovator, producing products that improved the world around him and finding better ways to get things done.
He revolutionized not only the maintenance industry with new products and equipment inventions, but also used his inventive mind to create everything from simplified window sashes to law enforcement equipment and numerous gadgets for the home.
N.S.'s accomplishments where numerous, and he went on to develop over 100 patented products and formulations, pioneered custodial training, and, along with his descendants, helped propel the Hillyard Companies to a leadership position in the maintenance industry.
With a winning combination of high quality, innovative new maintenance products and strong customer service, the company grew quickly. As the company continued to grow, N.S. called on his children to help him keep up with the demand for Hillyard products.
With the help of his family, N.S. took on a new, uncharted area of maintenance - wood gym floors. Determined to develop the best products, in 1920, N.S. erected a new plant and office building in St. Joseph that then housed the largest wood gymnasium floor west of the Mississippi River. He used it as a test site to perfect new wood gym seals and finishes. N.S. organized a company basketball team that, in the Hillyard tradition, was the best. They became the national A.A.U. champions for two years straight and earned Hillyard a special exhibit in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.