Stevi Flood, Human Resources
Stevi Flood is a farmer’s daughter. Growing up in Buttonwillow outside of Bakersfield, Flood’s family are cotton farmers who have grown a multitude of crops over the years, like their father and grandfather before them. In fact, Flood’s family farm, Cauzza Ranches, has been growing in the Central Valley since 1930.
“I grew up going to the fields and my Dad would let us drive the cotton pickers,” Flood remembers fondly. “I have huge gratitude towards farmers and knowing where our food comes from and how the raw materials for clothes are grown.”
The family has farmed as many as 10 thousand acres. In 2014, her cousins started their own company, Cauzza Growers. Combined, Cauzza Growers and Cauzza Ranches (Brothers) have paired the working land down to just over six thousand acres of cotton, pistachios, almonds, wheat, carrots, alfalfa, tomatoes and onions.
“My Dad was third generation and now my cousins are fourth,” Flood says proudly. “We are all super close and spend a lot of time together.”
That closeness and importance of family is what drew Flood to Holloway. She graduated from the University of San Diego and pursued a career in sales and recruiting and eventually, payroll. Flood knew she wanted to get into human resources and so she got her HR Management certification in 2015 from California State University, Bakersfield. When it was time to look for a role in HR, Flood has a close friend who owns a recruiting firm who said, “If I was going to work anywhere in Bakersfield, that wasn’t for myself, it would be Holloway.”
Holloway prides itself on having a family atmosphere, and Flood felt that immediately from her first interview with the leadership team.
“Family is really important to me and being there for my girls is a top priority,” Flood says. “Even in my first two interviews, I felt like I was walking away from people I had known forever. Our personalities just clicked: highly motivated, outgoing, and friendly.”
Flood has been running the HR department for Holloway for more than two years now. The role gives her a lot of flexibility and autonomy with excellent tools to do the best job for the more than 60 Holloway employees and their families.
“It has been a dream,” Flood says. “What I was looking for aligned perfectly with what the company needed. Now I am just excited to keep growing our team and providing great resources to our employees.”
As the sole HR representative for Holloway, Flood is the first call if any employees have questions about benefits, paychecks or any other work-related issues. She is able to connect the needs of the individual employee and the company so that everyone benefits. To further her knowledge and skill set, Flood passed the rigorous exam to become a Certified Professional by the Society for Human Resource Management in 2020.
Flood also notes how available the leadership team is to every team member at Holloway. The executives all have an open-door policy to talk to any employee about their ideas or concerns.
“Any employee from any level has access to the C-suite and the executives are happy to do it and to listen,” Flood says. “In the bigger corporations, you don’t get that intimacy.”
When talking to potential hires, Flood is mostly looking for motivation and a willingness to learn and work hard. She tries to find candidates that exhibit longevity and want to be with Holloway long term. Attracting and retaining employees who are reliable and loyal is why Holloway puts so much focus on competitive benefits for its employees, like 401K match, paid vacation, and healthcare for the employees and their families. And since Holloway has been around since 1932, the longevity and stability are very enticing to employees, especially with so much volatility in oil and gas, another big industry in the San Joaquin Valley.
“We offer so much in terms of benefits, flexibility, and stability because we are here to stay,” Flood says. “Being a smaller company, we are in expansion mode and looking to add at least 20 or more employees in the next year.”
With that growth comes some added risk, which is why Holloway’s HR and Safety team are putting particular emphasis on the safety of their employees.
“We are promoting safety more than ever this year,” Flood explains. “We experienced such quick growth over the last year that we want to make sure everyone is safe and following protocols.”
In fact, Holloway instituted an incentive program at the beginning of 2021 that provides bonuses to employees when they do safety training or take their own safety initiatives. Employees have really responded and stepped up with increased awareness and institution of best safety practices. As a company that relies on positions like operators for heavy equipment (scrapers, loaders, grinders, dozers) and commercial drivers for amendments and hauling, safety is something that is paramount in operations at Holloway.
While safety is and will continue to be a focus for the company, Flood always goes back to the family feel and how much Holloway cares about their employees when talking to potential new hires.
“Holloway gives me the ability to have a career and be a good mom,” Flood says. “I feel excited to go to work every day; I have lots of friends at work and it doesn’t even feel like a job. I love everything I do, even the paperwork!”
To Flood, the possibilities for HR at Holloway are endless. The executive team has entrusted employee acquisition to her and her goal is steady and consistent growth for the company. She really loves being a part of something with grounded longevity and stability but always looking to the future and innovation.
“My main goal is to be an aid so that the company can keep growing sustainably,” Flood says. “Holloway has a small company feel but with a vision focused on innovation and is always growing and evolving. That’s what drew me in: the relationships, flexibility, growth and innovation, and figuring out what’s the next thing we can get into?!”
When she is not helping the employees of Holloway reach their potential, you can find Flood with her husband and two girls hanging out by the pool in their backyard in Bakersfield and barbequing with their family and friends.