Interior Construction finds niche

Ron Hine couldn’t be happier as owner and operator of Interior Construction Specialists.

He likes how far the company has come, mostly through the efforts of loyal and hard-working employees.

“I’m not regretting one day of it,” he said, while sitting in his second floor office at 339 E. Southern Ave., South Williamsport.

The business, which does commercial interior construction work, employs some 25 people.

Work, Hine said, has been steady in recent years.

But like any business owner, Hine had to start from scratch, and business wasn’t always so great.

“We’ve had tough times,” he said.

Hine had been a union carpenter foreman when he decided to go into business for himself.

But he didn’t have much money to start his business, and no bank seemed willing to help him out.

“I got shot down by four banks,” he recalled.

He found a partner and some collateral and drew up a financial plan.

The business got launched but it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing at first.

He lost $50,000 on his first job, but he persevered and things turned around.

This past March the company celebrated 30 years in business.

“We do commercial and light industrial interiors,” he said. “We don’t build buildings.”

Hine said his company has found a special niche for itself in the region.

About 75 percent of his company’s work is in the health care field, including its share of jobs in hospitals and doctors’ offices.

Some of his biggest jobs have been with Susquehanna Health and Evangelical Community Hospital.

“We put in cath labs, operating rooms, x-ray rooms,” he said. “Some of those jobs are quite extensive.”

Many companies would rather reject such work rather than adhere to the regulations that accompany the jobs.

For Hine, that always meant opportunity.

“We opt to jump at that,” he said.

Hine said didn’t go into the business to make a lot of money.

He pretty much likes where it’s at.

“We turn down work every day,” he said. “Bigger was never better for us.”

He said many of his workers have been with him for a number of years and are well-prepared to meet different on-the-job challenges.

In fact, he feels he has some of the best people in the industry.

“I was told early on that I could only be as good as the people working for you,” he said.

Hine said he really doesn’t feel people work for him. Rather, everyone works together.

His longtime business partner, Ron Miller, retired earlier this year.

Eventually, he hopes to turn over to the business to his son, Eric.

My son has been here eight years,” he said. “Eric will do very well. He has good management skills. He’s patient.”

Hine didn’t say when that time will come to hand over the business.

He’s still learning the job himself, but more important, he’s always had a lot of fun at it.