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Anniversary Story | Jul 14, 2017

Never Show Up Empty Handed

Known for his hospitality, Co-Chairman Jim Millar has a few ground rules when it comes to professional interactions. One key guideline is that HITT team members should never show up to a meeting empty-handed.

Heeding that advice means we’re not just prepared with plans, permits, and other paperwork when we head out the door. We bring the snacks—specifically peanut M&Ms. These colorful, iconic candies have become a staple at HITT. They’re doled out by the (Tonka) truckful to featured subcontractors and gifted by the cupful to clients.

So why M&Ms? For one, they’re a crowd pleaser! Anecdotal evidence shows that nothing perks up the mood of late afternoon meeting better than something sweet. There’s a bit of a metaphorical reason behind our choice too, though. You see, when M&Ms came on the scene in 1941—four short years after our own debut—the candies were a joint effort between the Mars Company and Hershey Chocolate.

Forrest Mars, Sr., son of the Mars Company founder, Frank C. Mars, was the brains behind the idea. Inspired by the British sweets Smarties, he wanted to make his own candy-coated chocolates. There was one issue: it was WWII, and Hershey’s had control of the chocolate rations. So Frank decided to team up with Bruce Murrie, son of

Hershey executive William F.R. Murrie, offering him a 20 percent share in the profits in exchange for allowing the candy to be made with Hershey chocolate.

That arrangement probably panned out better than either man could have imagined. M&Ms (named for Mars and Murrie) may have had a humble start as rations for US soldiers, but they’ve grown to become an iconic American candy. That’s the power of partnership. And while we’re not making chocolates, we know that strong relationships are the key to future success.

We care about those we work with and the simple gesture of bringing M&Ms to share continues to be one of our favorite ways to show appreciation. It’s also our subtle nod to a great partnership and what can be achieved when we work together.

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