In a conversation with Business Honors students at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, Curtis Hite ’91, CEO and chairman of Improving Holdings, talked about his career and explained why his company has been hailed by The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Business Journal and Texas Monthly as one of the best places to work in Texas.
Hite studied computer science at Texas A&M as an undergraduate and graduate student, receiving his master’s degree in 1994. He started his career as a software engineer in the intelligence sector, working first for Rockwell International and then at E-Systems. Later, he cofounded Expede, a software development company, before cofounding Blue Ocean Group in 2007, later renamed Improving Holdings, or better known simply as Improving.
Improving, an informational technology service firm, is centered on restoring trust in the IT profession across several industries, and offers training, consulting, recruiting and project services.
Restoring trust in an entire profession is no easy feat, but Hite believes the best way to do so is to model a culture of integrity. “At Improving, we stick to our core values of excellence, dedication and involvement,” he said. “These are our identity as a company.”
A punch-the-clock, 9-to-5 mentality doesn’t fit in at Improving, Hite explained. The expectation is that all employees will actively engage with each other, even outside of regular work hours. Improving frequently hosts company retreats, movie nights, cooking classes, date nights, family events and town halls. “We believe not so much in work-life balance but in integration,” he said.
Hite said his commitment to his company’s core values was inspired in part by his years at Texas A&M. While an undergraduate, he learned excellence and dedication as a member of the Corps of Cadets, serving as a commanding officer for Squadron Six and as a member of the Ross Volunteers.
He is confident in his mission to perpetuate a culture in which coworkers can trust each other as friends and business partners, believing that it will pay major dividends in the long run. “At the end of the day, the entire mission of a leadership team is to create a great place to work,” he said.
Business Honors major Audrey Donohoe ’20 said she was inspired to apply these lessons to her future role as Business Honors peer leader. “Next fall, I will take this into consideration as I strive to help the new class of freshmen be successful.”