Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Dale High, chairman of Lancaster County's High Companies and founder of the S. Dale High Center for Family Business at Elizabethtown College. As we talked, I was amazed at what Dale has done within both the business world and the community. I am honored to highlight him as part of my continuing series of Servant Leaders.
The High Companies offer a broad range of exceptional manufacturing, real estate, construction, and business services and products to companies and is widely recognized for its reputation in customer service, quality products and services, personal and corporate integrity, and beauty in projects affecting the environment.
Dale’s father, Sanford High, founded High Welding Company in 1931 in Lancaster, PA. When they were young, Sanford began grooming his sons to join the Company, taking them along to the shop and visits to construction sites. Dale, who was the youngest son, had gained more experience with the Company by working second shift in the plant. He joined the organization full-time in 1963, upon graduation from Elizabethtown College. Dale brought new expertise into the Company in the areas of administration, human resources, and finance.
In 1977, Dale was named Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of High Industries, Inc. Under his leadership, the company rapidly grew to employ more than 2,500 co-workers and has become increasingly diversified with numerous companies included under the High umbrella.
Dale had the foresight to carefully plan for the continued growth and transition of the organization going forward, even beyond his own lifetime. As a result, the High Family Council was formed to chart the Company’s future and to ensure that ownership would smoothly pass to future generations while keeping values, responsibilities, ethics, and community at the forefront.
The work and thought process that has gone into developing the High Family Council is testimony to the leadership and commitment of Dale. Through the development of well-planned strategies by Dale, the High Family Council, and the respective management teams, all of the High Companies continue to have a solid base, grounded in The High Philosophy.
Dale’s leadership extends well beyond the High organization to include local Board memberships; among them Elizabethtown College, Lancaster County Community Foundation, and the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County, as well as The Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry where he was past Chair. Dale is currently on the Board on the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, where he was also past Chair, and is serving on the Board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Among his many accomplishments, Dale is also the founder of The S. Dale High Center for Family Business at Elizabethtown College. The Center for Family Business provides tools, resources, and information for all things related to families in business. From family issues to best business practices, The Center has developed an innovative blend of networking tools, guest speaker series, and access to resources dedicated to empowering entrepreneurial families in south central Pennsylvania and beyond.
Dale is a tremendous leader dedicated to his work and the community. The High Companies began with a strong sense of quality and integrity and Dale has ensured that position of high ethics, combined with a steadfast dedication to quality, customers, and the community, will continue to be the guiding force behind The High Companies in the future. He has also paved the way for other family businesses to learn and develop the same keys for success through the Center for Family Business.
Dale High is a Servant Leader.