Business for a Better World: ECHO Incorporated

  • An ECHO lawn mower runs on battery power.

    An ECHO lawn mower runs on battery power. Photo courtesy of ECHO

  • An ECHO leaf blower runs on battery power.

    An ECHO leaf blower runs on battery power. Photo courtesy of ECHO

  • An ECHO leaf blower runs on battery power.

    An ECHO leaf blower runs on battery power. Photo courtesy of ECHO

 
Updated 5/12/2022 11:58 AM

ECHO Incorporated

400 Oakwood Rd, Lake Zurich, IL 60047

 

(847) 540-8400

Website: www.ECHO-USA.com

Industry: Outdoor Power Equipment

Number of employees: More than 1,000 (The largest employer in Lake Zurich.)

Q: Describe your company.

A: ECHO has long been a leader in the development and manufacturing of professional-grade, hand-held outdoor power equipment for landscape professionals and homeowners. This year, ECHO is celebrating our 50th anniversary. Today, ECHO lawncare products are sold at major retail stores such as Home Depot and through more than 6,000 independent dealers across the United States.

For 2022, ECHO is proud to introduce our new eForce 56V Battery System of outdoor lawn and garden equipment. These products are ideally suited for homeowners and landscape professionals. With these products, ECHO is providing homeowners with a superior option of powerful and easy-to-use tools for the home garden, with the same high-quality and power used by professional landscapers.

Our new 56V platform includes 10 different battery-powered outdoor tools such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, chain saws and more. These battery-powered products offer long usage times, the power necessary to take on difficult jobs, quiet operation, easy starts, cost efficiency and simple maintenance.

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The eForce 56V Battery System is ideally suited for homeowners who are just starting their annual lawn and garden chores such as weeding, seeding and feeding; removing debris; mowing lawns; pruning trees and trimming hedges; tilling garden beds and edging borders; and more.

Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

A: ECHO continues to grow its product offerings and customer base. To support the demand and to continue developing innovative products we are looking for talented staff in the areas of production, engineering, purchasing, marketing, finance and warehouse/distribution.

One of the big investments we are making this year is the addition this summer of solar panels to our facility. The installation of solar panels to help power our plant is expected to offset our current energy requirements by 40%, making our facility even more environmentally friendly than we already are.

We also continue to invest in large-scale automation projects to improve safety, ergonomics, quality and efficiency throughout the facility. In addition, we will be investing in equipment that will allow for more vertical integration to increase versatility and to better meet our customer demand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?

A: Like many companies, one of the challenges we face is getting needed components to make and distribute our products in a timely manner. At ECHO, we have taken steps to bring more and more of the design, molding and assembly in-house at our Lake Zurich facility.

While that has helped reduce our dependence on outside vendors for parts, we can't completely eliminate the need for materials being shipped to ECHO. So, like other companies, ECHO continues to be concerned about supply chain issues.

Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?

A: The hottest trend in our industry is definitely the continued interest among homeowners in their lawns and gardens. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a huge growth in home lawn and garden care as people sought to extend their living space to the outdoors. That is a trend that continues today.

Additionally, the hot housing market has also increased interest in lawn and garden care among homeowners. Curb appeal is essential to attract buyers who use the internet to view pictures of available homes.

So whether the homeowner is preparing their lawn and garden for their own use, or refreshing and maintaining their property for a possible sale, ECHO's new battery-powered lawn and garden equipment is well-suited to meet their needs.

Q: What does your company do to reduce the effects of climate change?

A: ECHO has long been committed to environmental sustainability. We proactively take steps to reduce our impact on the environment by reducing waste, minimizing our use of energy, and operating as efficiently as possible. As our corporate philosophy states, "We create the bridge that bonds people and nature with the future."

One of the amazing examples of how we work to reduce waste is that we recycle 100% of our plastic resin scrap. We go as far as to recycle the dust that is created from the regrind process. That's all material that would have otherwise gone into landfills.

Another way we help reduce the impact on the environment is how we handle product labels. We discovered that the number one scrap we produced was from paper labels. Now, instead of using paper labels on products, wherever feasible we laser etch the information on the product.

Additionally, our entire plant uses LED lighting, most of it on motion sensors to reduce the demand for electricity when it is not needed. These are just a few of the ways ECHO lives its commitment to the environment and the people who share our planet.

Q: What do you do to make your business a good place to work for your employees?

A: We are very proud of the opportunities and environment we create for our employees at ECHO. Many ECHO employees have been with the company 20 years or more.

Our leadership team is approachable and engaged with the daily operations. We are transparent and open to feedback. We invest in our employees' growth and development by providing training and advancement opportunities along with tuition reimbursement.

We partner with our community by providing technical and career development programs to local high school students. At ECHO, we offer full-time employees a full-range of benefits, competitive compensation, work-life balance and generous paid time off.

Employees benefit from an on-site fitness center, a designated nursing room, air conditioning for the factory employees and a quiet room for prayer or meditation.

Q: Do you have a business mantra?

A: Our corporate philosophy is to "Create the bridge that bonds people and nature with the future." Our company grows our business by striving to sustain a healthy environment today and for the future, for people all over the world. We do that by taking numerous steps to minimize our impact on the environment as we produce quality products that allow people to maximize the enjoyment of their outdoor space.

Q: What is one interesting fact about your company that most people may not know?

A: ECHO is the largest employer in Lake Zurich. Most of our products are made in America.

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