In his firm he is considered HCE, in the general work force no way he would be considered that, especially with 20+ years
HCE is an IRS definition. It's the same for all companies and industries. It looks like your friend makes $115,000+. Maybe a little less a year or two ago.
An important aspect of performing the ADP and ACP tests is to properly identify the HCEs. IRC Section 414(q) defines HCEs to generally include any employee who:
Was a 5% owner at any time during the year or prior year (a 5% owner is someone who owns more than 5% of the employer), or
For the prior year, was paid by the employer more than $115,000 (for 2012 and 2013; subject to cost-of-living adjustments in later years) and, if the employer elects, was in the top-paid (top 20%) group of employees.
Family aggregation rules may affect the treatment of stock owned by family members. The law treats a spouse, child, grandparent or parent of someone who is a 5% owner, as a 5% owner. Each of these individuals is an HCE for the plan year. It's important to identify the family ownership interests of all company stock and to forward that information to the persons performing the tests.