Today marks HOBI International, Inc.’s 25th year as a leading IT and mobile asset management provider. During the past 25 years, HOBI has grown from a small family-operated electronics recycler to one of the most competitive and innovative IT and mobile service providers in the country.
HOBI was founded and incorporated in 1992 in Batavia, Illinois, by siblings Cathy Hill, CEO, and Craig Boswell, President. They recognized a need for professional, reliable electronics recycling solutions that prioritized secure data and environmental consciousness.
“The initial success of the company was us coming in and talking to these big corporate entities and presenting them with a solution to their problems and the risk mitigation they were seeking,” Boswell said.
Appealing to large corporations brought HOBI new opportunities but also presented challenges for HOBI. Finding traction in a relatively new industry meant there were few examples to follow when developing services. Hill described HOBI’s early years as feeling “very much like the Wild West.”
“There were very few set rules and it took a lot of investigation and determination to define best practices, best players and quickly adapt to the best processes that would suit a wide array of clients,” Hill said. “We also had to quickly think as a large company and invest the time and talent to establish systems for processing, erasure and reporting.”
Boswell explained HOBI’s small size and limited resources were an obstacle when meeting large corporation needs in the beginning. Although adapting to large-scale needs began as a challenge, HOBI formed friendships with clients and competitors who helped the team learn to adapt to the industry’s constantly-evolving landscape.
“We owe a lot of our initial success to clients and customers who were willing to share information with us, and help us learn, and therefore help us become a better service provider and supplier, but also allow us to expand the business,” Boswell said.
Building these close relationships not only served as a learning experience, but also an opportunity to develop industry standards for both clients and service providers to reference as best-in-class.
“Working with, instead of against, competition has been a terrific advantage to set guidelines that cross multifaceted industries,” Hill said.
HOBI has since expanded to three locations in Arizona, Illinois and Texas, and now processes more than four million phones and 15 million pounds of IT equipment yearly. Each of HOBI’s locations is R2, RIOS, ISO 14001 and WBE certified, further proving HOBI’s commitment to excellence.
Aside from device processing, HOBI has expanded service offerings to include mobility managed services, data center services, environmental, enterprise asset services and reverse logistics solutions to meet clients’ needs across North America.
HOBI’s service expansion is a key aspect in staying competitive in such a quickly evolving industry. The constant introduction of new technologies and skyrocketing demands makes IT and mobile asset management highly competitive. Boswell cites his and Hill’s fear of falling behind as the main reason HOBI differentiates its services to stay competitive in a high-pace industry.
“The industry moves very quickly, and because of that, there is no single day that you can say ‘OK, I’ve finally got it right,’” Boswell said. “There’s always something that’s going to need to change so that you’re competitive next year.”
Rapid expansion is the key to success in a constantly-changing environment, but moving quickly may result in lost quality. Hill says maintaining HOBI’s integrity, instead of taking shortcuts, was a prominent challenge during its growth, but has set a standard for loyalty to quality of service.
“I know we have been prudent and honest with all of our clients, and good stewards to their trust and equipment over these 25 years,” Hill said. “I believe we have set that standard. It is a great feeling to know that our clients and our people can trust us to do the right thing.”
Aside from expanding services and growing to be one of the most competitive IT and mobile service providers in the nation, Hill and Boswell said the success and growth of HOBI’s employees has been the most rewarding aspect of the past 25 years. Hill explained HOBI’s team is “as much family to me as the family I go home to after the work day.”
“They care deeply, they work hard and they treat each client as the ones that write their paycheck,” Hill said. “That is both rewarding and incredibly humbling.”
Looking forward, HOBI plans to grow its services globally. Hill indicated plans of growing on a “worldwide platform,” within the next 25 years.
“Multinational companies need multinational solutions, further, they need a partner who understands a changing legislative landscape,” Hill said. “We will continue to expand our service offerings to best fit the diverse and complex needs of the mobile and IT industries and their consumers.”
As Boswell spoke about the next 25 years, he indicated plans of staying up-to-date with technology and industry standards, and promoting the need for a circular economy.
“I feel it’s possible there’s a future state where the thought of throwing something away is just not part of what we do on a day-to-day basis,” Boswell said. “The end of one thing is always the beginning of something else.”
About HOBI International
HOBI International, Inc. is a leading IT and mobile asset management and electronics recycling company serving Fortune 1000 clients across North America. Since 1992, HOBI has provided comprehensive solutions for the remarketing and environmentally responsible recycling of electronic assets.
HOBI’s IT services team help organizations big and small process end-of-life electronics with a focus on corporate IT, data, and telecommunications infrastructure. Our services include resale/remarketing, data erasure/data destruction, recycling, environmental and compliance reporting, de-installation services, and logistics management.
HOBI International, Inc., an R2/RIOS and ISO 14001 certified firm, has more than 20 years experience in enterprise asset management and disposition. The company’s pioneering enterprise asset process makes HOBI the leader in its industry. HOBI’s professionals are trained in value maximization and will set up customized enterprise asset service programs based on client needs.