Meet Lisa and Doug Hughes of Hughes Excavating in South East

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa and Doug Hughes.

Lisa and Doug, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We are very proud to be owners of the premier Underground Fire Protection company in the Dallas Metroplex. We started in the trenches as teenagers, and now, with over 60 years of combined experience, at Hughes Excavating we know as much about the Underground Fire Protection industry as anyone in the state of Texas.

We are wholeheartedly committed to protecting lives and property by our service of installing underground fire mains, vaults with backflow preventers, and fire hydrants. In the event of an underground fireline emergency, we are the first responders.

We are not only quick to respond, but we are quick to get the repairs completed and the service back up and running so the building can be put back into operation and the customers have peace of mind that their building is safe.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Lisa: Hughes Excavating was not a clear picture for us in the beginning. We hoped that someday we would have our own business but had no idea where to begin. When I was younger, I struggled with various jobs in various fields trying to learn all I could, working hard, making ends meet but not feeling fulfilled. I knew there had to be more.

I worked in admin positions in construction, insurance, legal, accounting, and manufacturing, but I was always looking for something more. Many nights I cried and prayed for something I could do with my heart and soul that would have more meaning.

Little did I know that all of these experiences were necessary stepping stones preparing me for my lifelong dream of having such an impact on the community by saving lives and property, while also providing employment opportunities.

Doug: I started in the trenches as a construction helper, working my way up through the local 669 union apprenticeship program, becoming a foreman, inspector then project manager for a nationwide fire sprinkler company. I was one of the top salesmen in the nation for several years. While this paid the bills, I was hungry for more.

One day I walked the office, turned in my stuff, went home and went fishing for two weeks while I cleared my mind and thought about what I wanted to do with the next chapter in my life. I know it was difficult for Lisa during this time. She went to work every day and cried at night uncertain of our future. I couldn’t look her in the eye without an answer. I knew within myself that there was more to be achieved. During my time as a project manager, I realized there was a need for a quality underground fire protection company.

It was difficult to find a competent underground fire protection company to help us – and that is where I saw the niche. After being burned out as project manager, I just wanted to sit on a backhoe and dig and not do any thinking. Obviously, the good Lord had bigger plans for me, and here we are now as Hughes Excavating with between 15-20 employees providing a much-needed service for the community, creating jobs to help others provide for their families.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
After all of these years, through the friendships and acquaintances, we have made along the way, many of our customers are some of our best friends. We get to spend quality time with people we love doing things we enjoy. We are such a small, close-knit business.  One of the benefits of having such a small company is that your employees and customers are all like family because we spend so much time with each other. And our daughter, Kristi, is now the Vice President and Operations Manager for our business. It is truly a family business.

Hughes Excavating is the premier underground fire protection company in the Dallas Metroplex. As I mentioned before, our specialty is the installation of underground fire mains, vaults with backflow preventers, and fire hydrants.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, we were total opposites. Our dads worked together at a fire sprinkler company, and they both got us jobs as teenagers. That’s where it all began!

Lisa: I grew up in the country in a small Texas town where I played sports and rode horses. I have always been very social and was basically friends with everyone in my class.  In Highschool, I was voted as “Miss Leadership and the person with the “best sense of humor”.

Doug: I grew up in Grand Prairie, Texas on the outskirts of town. I spent most of my time outdoors with just a few close friends. We enjoyed fishing and playing in the nearby gravel pits (where trucks were abandoned).

I also enjoyed reading books and quiet time. Kids don’t change, they stay the same – I still enjoy all of these things and the same group of friends today.


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