Jennifer Hogan, a new NFIB Michigan Leadership Council appointee, shares her small business concerns and how she found a voice to speak out against them.
Like many small businesses, NFIB/Michigan member Jennifer Hogan’s information technology (IT) solutions company, PTD Technology, grew out of something else. The business was founded by Jennifer’s mother, Virginia Hilbert, in 1978 as a vocational school for data processing. Thirty-nine years later, educational training is the smallest piece of Hogan’s business. With the emergence of technology, PTD grew with the industry into a full IT services provider, specializing in customs applications, technological education, consulting, project management, technical writing, and IT support.
Hogan bought a stake in the company in 2000—along with two siblings, her brother-in-law, and another partner—when her mother was nearing retirement. Hogan serves as CEO of the family business and was recently elected onto the NFIB Michigan Leadership Council, following her mother, brother, and business partner’s tenures.
“The people on NFIB Leadership Council are the ones who know what is going to affect their business and employees,” said Hogan. “I know I’m talking to other people who care and want to know their people are being taken care of and their business is viable. I’m hoping as I get to know more, I can have an impact and help to recruit more NFIB members and help to give more of a voice to small business.”
For Hogan and her business, NFIB has offered direction and an authoritative voice to fight back against burdensome regulations. Hogan provides healthcare for her employees, even though it’s not required of her. “We want to take care of our people,” Hogan said. “But now, I’ve got a whole list of regulations I have to follow because of it.” For small businesses without large HR departments, this becomes time consuming and distracting from business needs and growth.
Paid sick leave policy is becoming a growing concern for Michigan small business owners like Hogan, as the issue might be included on the 2018 state ballot and put to a vote. Hogan compiles sick and vacation days into one paid time off pool for her employees, because it’s what they wanted and it offers more flexibility and fairness. “I don’t care if you’re sick, your kid is sick, or you’re going to the casinos for the day, I want you to have that flexibility,” Hogan said of her paid time off policy. “I think for the vast majority, you want good employees and you want them to stay so you try to accommodate them, but that is when the regulations bite us.”
With a staff of 20 employees, Hogan questions whether politicians or her representatives will listen to her as an individual business owner. But with the gathered support of hundreds of thousands of small business owners, NFIB gives Hogan a diverse voice, which she appreciates most.
“One of the main reasons I love NFIB is that they go with what the majority of the members say. So, if the leaders of NFIB believe in A, but the members say “no, we believe in B,” then that’s what they’re going to do,” said Hogan. “That’s one of the reasons we’ve been with them for so long. I’m an independent thinker. NFIB is open to you saying what you believe, and if you don’t believe in a position, then that’s okay.”