Zuvo Water: Phil Houdek, VP Engineering and Operations, Quality Office

Phil Houdek distinguishes between two flavors of experience: someone who was around when work was done and someone who actually did the work.

“Too often you see blue sky people at higher levels who haven't ever created a plan, let alone executed to a plan,” Houdek says.

Fortunately for Zuvo Water, Houdek can do both—talk broadly and execute to the plan.

Like his teammates at Zuvo Water, Houdek arrived bearing gifts of varied experience and specialized expertise, from teaching computer aided design while working on his B.S. at Boston University to 3-D modeling to five years of CAD consulting, traveling and working on-site with customers in a wide range of industries—toys, defense, autos, packaging, and mobile phones—where he learned the art of understanding customer needs.

After returning to school to get his master's at MIT with a focus on product design and mechanical engineering, Houdek headed west and worked with Silicon Graphics (SGI) during the company's peak in 1997.

“Unfortunately, SGI didn't realize that high-end, low-cost competitors were about to take over their market share. They lost their traction when they needed to be agile and adaptive and when complacency was a bigger risk for them,” he says.

Houdek became the beneficiary of SGI's downsizing. Taking over a number of different roles from product development to industrial design, he learned how to juggle a variety of responsibilities and tasks. ...

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