Zeke Zahid founded Zemarc Corporation in 1976 with a vision to bring only the best value-added products, services, and solutions to the fluid power market. Over the decades, the Los Angeles-based business has grown to become a global leader in industrial distribution, with branch offices throughout California and more than fifty employees with a combined 150 years’ experience in the fluid power and motion control industry.
The company provides a variety of products for industrial needs, from hydraulic power units and systems to custom parts including manifolds and assemblies. The key is providing “a custom fit for every application,” says Systems Engineer Elizabeth Meyer, M.E. “We work with our customers to have a really comprehensive understanding of what their needs are in their system, and find a system that not only matches their needs, but improves upon any problems they are having.”
Zemarc’s commitment to superior engineering solutions sets the company apart. “A lot of design engineering groups are going to tell you why something isn’t possible, whereas at Zemarc, we wanted to define our success in our willingness to meet unique challenges that are posed to us by our customers,” says Bradford Belote, Zemarc’s Director of Sales. “Those requirements can often be difficult in technical capability or centered on tight timelines and we always want Zemarc to be there to meet those challenges head on. That’s really what differentiates between us and our competition.”
Zemarc’s engineers’ expert knowledge and desire to make this knowledge accessible to customers can be seen—and utilized—through materials such as the whitepaper ‘Specifying Hydraulic Power Units,’ authored by Meyer. The paper walks customers through the basics of determining application, pump size and type, reservoir, motor size and type, and the needed accessories. This information is critical because hydraulic power units, or HPUs, are “one of the most essential parts of a hydraulic system. Without them, the system would have no power and not be able to function.” To learn more, read the complete whitepaper at zemarc.com/hpuwhitepaper. Learn more about available standard and custom Hydraulic Power Units at zemarc.com/hpu.
Women at the helm
Talented women like Meyer are not the exception at Zemarc—they are the rule. Every engineer in the company is a woman. “I think that’s unheard of in our industry,” says Marketing Director Lucy Chen. “It’s never like that.”
The company’s commitment to employing—and valuing—women is seen throughout Zemarc. “Not only is the engineering team all women, women play key roles throughout our whole company,” says Meyer. “Through the management levels we have women who are working to make sure that we have strong goals and diversity and I think that’s [important]. Supporting women in engineering, in general, is so important… We can keep an open mind and work in different industries without pigeonholing ourselves. Every company should have women throughout their ranks.”
The opportunity to hire woman engineers came naturally as the older generation of engineers retired and the company began to actively look for the best and brightest new talent. “The industry was shifting to where everyone was retiring and they had to hire on massive amounts of new people,” Chen recalls. Industry insiders predicted the loss of twenty five percent of employees over just a five-year period, and this trend accelerated during the pandemic. “Larger manufacturers had the choice to push retirement early,” Chen says, “and a lot of people did take that offer.”
As Zemarc recruited new engineers to fill the industry-wide retirement gap, “we did not see any issues with gender, any issues with anything else,” Chen says. Instead, the team was open to anyone who could add value to the company. This led not only to an increase in female employees, but also to the hiring of young employees who brought a fresh, new perspective. And, once on board, these young minds have been given a remarkable level of influence within the company. “We really encourage them to talk to not only everyone internally and share their opinions and show that their voice matters, but we also have them express the same thing to our vendors and our customers,” Chen says.
Zemarc is also deeply commitment to diversity. “At Zemarc, diversity is more than just a headcount in getting the right numbers of different people,” Chen says. “It’s about valuing the perspectives and influence that these different people have by showing them that we value inclusion through our interpersonal relationships, and the leadership we have at Zemarc really encourages people to practice influence by asking questions consistently and frequently.”
Chen considers herself a Diversity Advocate in addition to her official position as Marketing Director. “Because of the voice Zemarc leadership gave me, I am proud to use that privilege to advocate for diversity on an interpersonal level,” she says. “I believe it really helps people understand the purpose of diversity beyond its political concept.”
A close-knit company culture has been key to successfully welcoming and valuing diversity. “Everyone knows everyone,” Chen says. “We’re very family-oriented.” She credits Zahid’s “actions and his values of caring for the individual” for this supportive environment. Nearly half a century after founding the company, Zahid is still an active, supportive presence. Before the pandemic, he still came in every day to check on people and ask how they were. And, while following pandemic protocol, Zahid still managed to check in at least once a week with employees who were still in the office. His model of valuing each individual automatically set the stage for the company to value all voices. “It doesn’t matter how old you are or what gender or ethnicity you are,” says Chen. “If your management is able to show you that your voice has value and let you practice that expression of influence, then the diversity will be very natural.”
Valuing every voice
Making sure that every individual is heard is a hallmark of the company. This open communication not only supports employees, but also benefits customers and the company as a whole by ensuring that all talent and ideas are fully utilized. “In our company culture we are always talking about ideas and focusing on creativity, trying to get feedback and understanding from everyone in the company—not just people in management and engineering, but throughout the company,” says Meyer. “We try to get new ideas that help our company and our customers overall to give our customers the best working environment we can give them. Along with that we do have a great management team that works to enable a can-do attitude where we try to have a lot of positivity.”
A key benefit of the company’s emphasis on open communication is successful teambuilding. “We have a great cohesive teamwork environment where we can get pretty much anything done once we put our heads to it,” Meyer says. “Everything we have to do [requires] working together as a team. Whenever we have an engineering project, it’s not just engineering working on it. We’re working with our sales people [and] working with everyone on the internal side, making sure they’re understanding clearly what’s going on with a project.”
Indeed, Zemarc makes a point to enable communication among all levels of employees. “There are no barriers that make it difficult to talk to [anyone in the company],” Meyer says. “I can just walk in or call them, even if they are higher up… It’s really easy to have discussions with Zemarc and I think overall that helps everyone we work with, including our customers.”
After forty-five years of success and growth, Zemarc is well placed to continue exceeding customer expectations. Armed with a team of diverse, forward-thinking engineers and a commitment to developing—and effectively communicating—the best solutions, this is a company to watch.