30 in Their Thirties: Jason Houck // 30

2020

CIO, Hepta Control Systems | Sarnia, Ontario, Canada (HQ) | Detroit and Chesterfield Township

Employees: 24 | 2014 Revenue: NA

Managing the lighting, electrical, fire, and HVAC functions of large buildings requires complex control systems. Unfortunately, in many older buildings these systems are physically segregated and are run by outdated software. This was the challenge Jason Houck found when he joined his family’s Hepta Control Systems in 2002, after graduating from high school. 

“It was the technology aspect that attracted me to Hepta,” Houck says. “You still find building systems running off DOS commands today. I saw it as a chance to bring new technology into the industry.”  

With no formal IT training, Houck learned the business from the ground up through trial and error, a lot of after-hours reading, and a parental quid pro quo: “When I was 10 my father got us a computer, and the deal was (that) to get any games for the computer, you had to learn DOS commands,” he says. Today, under Houck’s direction, the company uses newer Web-based and IOT (Internet of Things) data systems that tie multiple building systems into a single computing platform from which readouts and warnings can be accessed remotely by a tablet or a smartphone. 

 “Once we have all the systems integrated we can make logical decisions, like how to save energy,” Houck says. He likens it to downsizing from a V-12 engine in a car when it actually only needs two cylinders.

Hepta has clients across the country and in Bermuda, but Houck is excited to be a part of Detroit’s downtown revival. “We have a million square feet of Bedrock properties along the Woodward corridor integrated into a single computing platform,” he says, referring to Bedrock Real Estate Services, an affiliate of Quicken Loans Inc. One of Hepta’s first projects was the Chase Tower, now known as The Cube, which houses thousands of Quicken Loans employees.

“Working with Bedrock, the passion becomes very contagious,” Houck says.

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