The Story Behind Huey
A business built on service, overcoming
challenges, and ‘Huey the Duck.’
Huey has a unique story but also a familiar story that almost anyone can relate to. Huey is the creator, author and developer of all these amazing tools, exercises and programs. He was born and named after his father, and his name is Dennis. However, because he was a chubby baby and resembled the cartoon character in the 60’s, ‘Huey the Duck’, an uncle decided to give him the ‘Huey’ nickname. Dennis hated it!
He was the youngest of 6 kids in the divorced housed in Washington State. After his parents divorced, his mother & siblings, aunt and her two children lived together, as their fathers were across the the country in Wisconsin. These years were very lean and the 8 kids were very industrious. They supplemented the meager food supplies by crabbing, fishing, recycling bottles, cans, doing cleanup jobs at a local business, pushing carts at stores for tips, and even diving in a grocery store dumpster for expired food! Potato chips and bakery items were favorites as well as candy bought with the money earned. The only reminder that he was poor were the local kids telling him this!
After about 5 years living in austerity with a mother and aunt that worked and went to nursing school, he was blessed when his mother began dating his soon to be stepfather, Ken. Ken, in his ate 20’s, moved Huey’s mother, him and his five siblings into a new house in North Seattle. Finally having a father figure in his life and moved to a safe and secure area with great schools, Huey began learning and developing skills, ideas and ethics from Ken, a great mentor!
When Huey was in his early teens, his grandfather passed away. His father came from Wisconsin to pay his respects and after many years of not seeing his father, he spent some time with his real dad. He visited the next summer in Wisconsin and his father asked him to stay. He didn’t because he wanted to finish his sports activities that he committed to and just wasn’t quite ready. The next year, he moved to Wisconsin to be with his real father that he had always dreamed about. There always was a lost feeling in his relationship with his absent father and it lasted less than a year!
When he went back to Seattle for Christmas, he received a telephone call the day before his return and was told that he could not come back. He moved back anyways, still in his early teens, and finished his last 3 years of high school. He found a room to rent in a house with grown men and took a second job to survive. This really didn’t seem tough at the time, after all, he was used to fending for himself in a way.
These were not the easiest of times. Although he continued and completed his high school education, he fell into a mostly despondent state. With everyone he loved and knew over 2000 miles away in the state of Washington, he felt lonely, betrayed and even vengeful! Often making poor choices, drinking heavy, partying and feeling angry all the time and unable to keep a relationship because he no longer trusted anyone. Despite all the feeling of doom and gloom, he still possessed a fortitude that to this day he thanks his stepfather for instilling in him. He quickly rose in ranks in the Hospitality industry and by the age of 19 was in management and already consulting others in business practices.
He went on to work in hospitality in some fashion for over 20 years with both national and international companies, became a partner in a CPA and Consulting firm and ultimately opened his first business in 1995. This was the year of the first iteration of ‘The Huey System’, then called ‘The Flag Pages’, in a company called Silent Partners, Inc.
He discovered a balance in caring and trusting people and recognizing people’s ability to take advantage of each other. For the record, privately, this would be the first in many lessons that had to be learned again and again! Three key staff members embezzled and cashed his customer’s checks resulting the shuttering of his company and led to a mild heart attack associated mostly with the betrayal of people he loved on his team. Years later, a web developer extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the new company, The Huey Systems, Inc., after two years of development and investment by Huey and his family. The result was having Millions of dollars worth of web-based software that was unfinished and couldn’t viably be made available as a serious product to the market that Huey was focused upon.
For the last few years Huey and the company worked on a shoestring budget to create today’s platforms and the continued growth of the Huey System. This came from shear determination, the ability to rise above the losses and deceit, and the love and passion that Huey, his family and dedicated partners have for helping others.
The moral of this story is ‘You can allow yourself to be victimized, paralyzed and have low self worth or, You can rise above the tragedies, bad breaks, and mistakes you have had to achieve amazing things! To do this, you have to have genuine purpose and to have that, you need to understand what drives you naturally. This is Huey’s mission! To help others and organizations to be personally and professionally successful, and to not fear or falter from the bad experience life tends to throw your way!
Oh! And why did the company get named Huey? When the company set out to rebuild several years ago, we decided that we needed to generate a new brand and accomplish the original mission started in 1996! When we were engaged with a marketing and development company, it became apparent how big Huey could become in personal business, education and communities. Virtually, there are applications for every market! Due to this and the concepts we were considering, the marketing specialist advised us to come up with a simple ‘Brand’ name that was ‘Easy to Remember’, ‘Not Really Mean Anything’, but, ‘Have a Story’ behind it.
After a few months, Dennis’s mother called up and said: “I know what we are going to name the business……Huey!”. His first reaction was: “No, No, No! I hate that name! It reminds me of when everyone called me ‘Huey Puey’, and I didn’t like being called that name!” She said to him: ‘That’s just it! What you are trying to do is help people to overcome all the things that you had to overcome, to teach them what you learned on the way to where you are today! Then you were Huey, but now you are Dennis… you had to grow into who you are!”