“Don’t even mention seafoam green to me today,” Edmund Hecht says with a laugh, recalling the institutional color he applied in copious amounts with a Newark College of Engineering (NCE) painting crew in the mid-1950s. It was one of the part-time jobs he had while studying mechanical engineering. Hecht also worked in the college bookstore and on the switchboard. In more recent years, he’s returned to the classroom as a teacher ― sharing a wide range of knowledge at colleges in Texas and as a Fulbright Scholar in Ukraine.
Hecht, of Corpus Christi, TX, received the NJIT Alumni Achievement Award on May 22, 2010, for a remarkable body of work.
“I owe a great debt to NCE,” Hecht says more seriously. “I received a truly outstanding education. In addition, after my father became seriously ill, the administration helped to arrange my class schedule so that I could take what was a full-time job in the quality control lab at Hoffman Soda, part of the Pabst beer company. My shift was from 3:30 in the afternoon until midnight.”
After graduating in 1956, Hecht accepted a job with General Electric, becoming expert in the installation and maintenance of turboelectric equipment for power plants. He also discovered his flair for marketing and management, enhanced by the MBA he earned at Southern Methodist University. This set of skills served him well when, in the 1970s, he co-founded a turbomachinery repair company in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hecht and his family had settled in Corpus Christi after years of traveling for General Electric.
Hecht built a very successful enterprise. But with their children grown, Hecht and his wife decided it was time to change course in life. He sold his share of the business and the couple spent time touring the U.S. and other countries.
Hecht’s next venture was the Turbomachinery Repair Users Council, with success again stemming from his technical and managerial acumen. He brought original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) together with potential clients to explore mutual interests and promote the benefits of OEM service.
Subsequently, with the founding of EHco Services, Hecht applied his aptitude for bringing people together in much broader venues. On the technical side, EHco appraises many types of plants and equipment. But having acquired the necessary certifications, Hecht can also arbitrate and mediate issues ranging from neighbors arguing about a barking dog to disputes involving labor contracts and child visitation rights in a divorce. Sanctioned in many states as a way to avoid costly court trials, Hecht explains that his role as a mediator is to facilitate “civil discussion of differences.” Arbitration is a binding procedure. “As an arbitrator, I’m really the judge and jury,” he says.
Hecht has shared his knowledge and experience as an adjunct instructor at various schools in the Corpus Christi area, including Texas A&M-Kingsville and Embry Riddle University. He also works closely with many educational and service organizations in his community. Internationally, he’s been a visiting university lecturer in Jordan and volunteered his skills as an executive in Armenia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Honduras. These commitments have been widely recognized with honors that include the President of the United States’ Volunteer Service Award that he received in 2004 and 2007.
In 2009, as a Fulbright Scholar, Hecht taught business courses at Kremenchuk State Polytechnic University in Ukraine. Speaking of the experience, he reflects, “The people I met are very enthusiastic about building their free-market economy. You’d have to learn the culture and language. But if I were younger, I’d definitely think about doing business in that part of the world.”