Over the course of 100 years, there are some things that never change. One of those constants is the direct relationship of good people to success.
Medler Electric Company, a wholesale electrical distributor based in Alma, Michigan, is in the midst of its 100th year of service. The company has thrived on the same motto for a century: “Our People Care More.” The significance of that motto began back in 1918 when Medler Electric was founded by William Medler, first as a simple contracting business. In 1920, Medler was joined by a German immigrant named Helmuth (Fritz) Lueth.
Along with the contracting business, the pair began selling appliances, repairing motors and selling electrical supplies. Lueth bought out Medler in 1929 and retained the business name. The Lueth family (Helmuth, his wife Marie, and their two sons Walter [Walt] and Herbert [Herb]) ran the business for the next 60 years, focusing solely on wholesale supply of electrical products by 1960.
In 1983, Walt and Herb contemplated their eventual retirements and decided through their generosity to start the process of converting Medler Electric into an employee-owned company. It came down to a couple of choices: sell out or sell to the employees. The Lueth family always had the employees’ best interest at heart and demonstrated their intention by creating a family culture.
Medler Electric is now 100% employee owned and on their fourth generation of leadership. The current President and CEO is William (Bill) Michael and is only the second non-Lueth family member to take this position. Bill started with Medler Electric in 1984, working in the warehouse and has held multiple positions within the company.
The Lueth’s, still today, give back to the employees. Two generations ago, Herb set up a scholarship program for the children of Medler Electric employees. This program will be around for years to come, and currently allows for five $1000 college scholarships to be awarded each year. Michael is as proud of the scholarship as he is of any part of the business. The Lueth family’s generosity in setting this in place is a great benefit to Medler’s associates and their kids.
“Service is our #1 product, and we strive to be the best in our markets,” Michael said.
“We work hard to build relationships with our customers because they are more than just customers. They are part of our daily lives. Customers are never taken for granted. Our associates always go the extra mile to provide the best service to them. Our relationships with our vendors are also very important. Our goals are virtually the same; take care of the customers and grow. If we don’t take care of them, someone else will.”
At Medler Electric, the associates are the greatest assets. The current team consists of a dynamic blend of veteran experience and youthful enthusiasm. The environment is both friendly and productive, characteristics that Michael praises.
“To find that balance, from the front office to the salesmen out on the road, is crucial,” he said. “Consistency is essential in what we do, as is improvement. If we continue to house those in our business structure, another century of business has a much greater chance of taking place.”
“If we continue taking care of our associates and customers, then we’ve done our job well,” Michael said. “After all, Our People Care More.”