2023 Utah Business Leaders of the Year: Regina Hokanson
President & CEO | HHI Corporation
Utah Business is proud to present the inaugural cohort of our Utah Business Leaders of the Year award. These 12 honorees represent the greatest accomplishments of Utah’s business community in 2023 and were selected by the Utah Business editorial team.
n the dynamic realm of construction, engineering and manufacturing, Regina Hokanson stands as a paragon of leadership, innovation and unwavering commitment. Recently named “Business Person of the Year” at the Spring One Utah Summit, Regina’s journey as the president and CEO of HHI Corporation (HHI) reflects her visionary outlook.
Established in 1971 by physicist Don Hokanson, HHI has continued to grow and flourish under Regina’s leadership. She and her husband, Cliff, now the company’s Executive VP, purchased HHI upon Don’s retirement in 2011.
Today, HHI excels in tackling complex construction challenges, emphasizing design builds and specialized fabrication. With a focus on government contracts and a skilled team, HHI thrives.
Armed with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Regina challenges industry norms, illustrating that success in construction doesn’t solely hinge on technical expertise. Effective leadership and a strategic understanding play a big part in HHI’s success. She emphasizes, “It’s invaluable to me: personally speaking with our clients, suppliers or staff. Understanding where they’re coming from allows us to meet their needs better.”
Under Regina’s guidance, operations have expanded significantly, the workforce nearly tripled, and efforts to increase female representation in construction surpassed the United States national average by 50 percent. Regina champions an innovative leadership approach, attempting to include as many voices as possible. She explains, “I like hearing the voices we get through extending opportunities outside of what would be considered stereotypical. I just like to have that whole innovative approach.”
“I like hearing the voices we get through extending opportunities outside of what would be considered stereotypical.”
Regina explains that HHI seeks out the most qualified candidates for open positions. “It’s not anything specific that I’m targeting, but I appreciate the [candor] that comes across in both the male and female perspective,” she says.
Including diverse perspectives and various voices in decision-making is valuable to HHI. Regina recognizes the distinctive contributions of women to projects, noting, “What I’ve found is that women approach projects and ideas differently than men. … When we get the best clientele, I want to ensure we’re serving them well.” This underscores HHI’s unwavering commitment to excellence, ensuring the delivery of unparalleled solutions for specialty projects.
However, her dedication extends beyond numerical growth; Regina places a premium on preserving the family values foundational to HHI’s success: creativity, intelligence, honesty, hard work and innovation.
In 2013, Regina played a crucial role in HHI’s strategic acquisition of a 54-acre campus, marking a pivotal moment in the company’s history. Guided by the goal of consolidation and enhanced collaboration, Regina emphasized, “That was my focus: let’s put everybody on a campus where we can interact more connectedly with each other.” This move addressed space challenges, fostering innovation and strategic focus. The campus has since expanded to about 62 acres.
As Regina continues to lead HHI into the future, her story serves as an inspiration—a testament to the idea that success in construction and manufacturing requires technical prowess and a visionary leader at the helm.