Who wants to be a millionaire?


By Linda Sedjro

What is the motivating force behind one of Omaha’s self-made millionaires?

“I put my faith in God first, my family second and business third,” John L. Hoich, president of Hoich Enterprise Inc., told an International Campus Ministry audience Feb. 15.

Hoich spoke of how his faith has shaped his success as a father, husband and businessman and how it has helped him overcome years of struggle.

“All my life was a struggle,” Hoice said.

Hoich grew up in Omaha with four sisters and one brother, who later died of a heart attack at age 21.

He said not a day passed by that his father did not beat his mother and yell at him and his siblings.

“I realized at 5 to 10 years old that my father was an alcoholic and he beat my mom every day,” Hoich said. “I never knew any different and when I visited other friends’ homes and saw their fathers did not act the same as my dad, I thought they were weird.”

Hoich’s parents divorced when he was 10. His father died shortly thereafter.

His family moved to Minnesota, where they lived for almost two years before coming back to Nebraska.

“We didn’t have money to buy milk, but we learned to adapt … and appreciate what we have,” he said.

When he was 16, Hoich’s mother passed away.

He said his life turned around after that.

“That day, my life changed — I was no longer a boy,” Hoich said.

After his parents’ deaths, Hoich was left head of the household and had to look after his siblings, a duty he said he continues to honor each day.

He said he would have never gotten so strong if it was not for the help of his next-door neighbor, a minister named Miller, who was always there for him, encouraging him to be strong.

“Some people would go kill others or themselves, but I told myself I had to be strong,” Hoich said.

He refused to give up and put himself on a path toward success by getting a job to help take care of his family.

“At age 11, I carried newspapers. At 12, I worked in a construction company. At 14, I got my first job at a restaurant as a host for 40 hours a week.”

The restaurant job was what opened the door to the business world.

He said it not only helped him meet people, but also extinguished his insecurities at the same time.

Hoich was able to put himself through college and graduate school at UNO. Devoted to his family, he helped his siblings become educated as well.

“I raised my family,” he said. “All I had to do was to give them what they didn’t have and stay in their life. I tried to fix their problems.”

Hoich not only helped his own family, but others who came to him as well.

“I always help people when they need me,” he said. “My family as well as my friends are very important to me.”

“I love people, and I help people get out of bankruptcy and resolve their business problems. I fix things.”

Today, Hoich, a successful self-made millionaire and president of his own company, is a happy father of twin sons, Justin and Jeremy. Hoich said he doesn’t forget his family, friends and especially his faith, the substance of his being.

“I always thank God,” he said.

Hoich received the 2001 Community Service Family Award for his commitment to serving the community.

An energetic man, Hoich serves on 29 boards for corporate and charitable organizations and enjoys working out and riding horses in his free time.

He told the audience that his success did not happen overnight.

He credits his success to mistakes he made as a young businessman with his lawn mowing business when he was 14 years old.

“I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, but it is important to learn from one’s mistakes, and once you learn and line up your priorities and your focus, you end up with profit, which brings success.”

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