State Electric Supply CEO Clarence Martin Dies

State Electric Supply CEO Clarence Martin Dies

Clarence Martin, the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer at State Electric Supply, has died.

Martin was hired at State Electric Supply in 1972 as the company’s comptroller, when the company only had 41 employees and two branches. With Martin’s guidance and leadership, State now has 44 branches across seven states, with nearly 800 employees.

Martin was very active with the National Association of Electrical Distributors, serving as the association Chair in 2012-2013. In an interview with tED magazine in May of 2012, Martin described our supply chain as, “The bottom line is that this is a great industry to be part of. It will offer you every intellectual challenge you can imagine, and the satisfaction that comes with it is just tremendous.”

Funeral arrangements are still pending. State Electric posted his obituary along with the statement “Clarence was a true gentleman and patriot and will be greatly missed.” on it’s Facebook page:


“If we each light one little candle, we can light the world.” Priest Fulton J. Sheen, Motivational Speaker.

Clarence E. Martin was born in Milton, West Virginia. He was the eldest of nine children, growing up in a home that consisted of two (2) rooms and an outhouse. He learned quickly that hard work and determination is what it would take to better his life and become successful. He graduated in 1957 from Barboursville High School with a graduating class of 167 people. While in high school, he played basketball, ran track and played football. Clarence had significant influences in high school that affected his life and guided him in the right direction. One of his greatest influences was his Coach, Dick Ware. Coach Ware was the head football coach and was a master strategist and motivator. He taught Clarence the value of teamwork, perseverance and determination.

Before Clarence’s senior year of high school, he enlisted in the West Virginia Air National Guard. He received basic training that summer at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Football was Clarence’s key into college, and with a football scholarship he attended Marshall College (at that time), in 1957-1958, and played football under Coach Herb Royer. During his sophomore year at Marshall, he realized that he did not have the funds to continue college. In February 1959, with the military training he had received, he received his release from the West Virginia Air National Guard and enlisted in the US Army.

Clarence’s entrance exams into the Army were very high, and this offered him the opportunity to work with the Army finance and administration personnel corps. He took advantage of this, and this gave him his initial interest in his career path of finance and accounting. He was stationed in Germany for two (2) years and was a finance specialist assigned to support Seventh Army.

Clarence was discharged in February 1961. Clarence returned to the States. He was hired by Raytheon Corporation in Boston and worked for nine months. He lived in Cambridge, approximately one mile from Harvard (so close, yet so far).

After leaving Boston in late 1961, he returned to West Virginia and went to work for Roman J. Claprood, a wholesale distributor in Huntington. In 1963, he went to work at International Nickel, or Inco Alloys, as it was called at that time, working in the mill on night shift. He once again enrolled at Marshall, taking classes during the day and working at night. He started working toward his degree in finance and accounting. He was able to finance it with the G.I. bill. He graduated from Marshall in 1967 with a BBA in accounting. After a period of time, he returned to Marshall and earned his MBA. After receiving his MBA, he did additional post-graduate work toward a doctorate at Ohio State University and the University of Kentucky. After graduation from Marshall, he continued his employment with Inco Alloys where he held jobs in the accounting department as an auditor, assistant controller, plant accountant, and assistant to executive VP and Division President.

Clarence began his teaching experience in 1968-1969 part time at Marshall. He went to full-time teaching when he left Inco in 1969-1972. His first full-time teaching job was with the Marshall branch at Logan, WV, which is now Southern West Virginia Community College. He then went to the University of Kentucky, where he worked full time until 1972 when he met Art Weisberg and came to State Electric Supply Company. He continued to teach part-time at the University of Kentucky Ashland Community College for three (3) years after he came to State Electric full time. He did this until it became too difficult to manage both jobs well.

Clarence was hired as controller at State Electric in 1972, became Chief Financial Officer in 1977 and Chief Executive Officer in 1994. When he began working at State Electric, there were two (2) branches, Huntington and Dunbar. There were a total of 41 employees, which included Art’s brother and mother. The business was just beginning to grow. From two (2) branches Clarence focused on growing the business to 44 branches across seven (7) states and employing nearly 800 employees, becoming a partner in the business in 1988 and one of the successors to the business. His goal was to continue to expand the business to provide a better economy, a better community, a good place for people to work and provide for their families. He always wanted to give back some of what he had been fortunate to receive.

Clarence was the Executive Vice President of Arthur’s Enterprises, which was formed in 1986 to provide organizational structure for the continued growth of State Electric. Clarence served as a member of the Board for Huntington Federal for over twenty (20) years. Clarence served as Chair of the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) Government Affairs Committee, and was previously on the NAED Legislative Committee in the 1990s. Clarence was the Board Chairman for the National Association of Electrical Distributors in 2012-2013, representing an industry of over 72 Billion U.S. dollars.

Clarence’s most recent accomplishment was his induction into the 2012 Marshall University Business Hall of Fame. This is an award given annually to business leaders who have an outstanding record of achievement in their fields and have dedicated themselves to excellence.

Family background: Clarence was married to his wife, Sharon, in 1978. He has four sons, Tony, Tim, Eric and Steve, one stepson, John Cartwright, and a special sixth son, Derek Chaffin. He has ten (10) grandchildren and thirteen (13) great-grandchildren. Clarence and Sharon reside in Barboursville, West Virginia.

Awards and Honors: 2006: Inducted to City of Huntington Wall of Fame. 2012: Inducted to Marshall University Lewis College of Business Hall of Fame.

Clarence was a member of the following organizations: American Management Association, O.V.A.A. Ohio Valley Accounting Association, S.H.R.M. Society For Human Resources Management, N.A.A.  National Association of Accountants, West Virginia Department of Commerce District Export Council, N.A.E.D.  National Association of Electrical Distributors, A.D. Affiliated Distributors, Vanguard Group and Vanguard National Alliance, I.N.F.O.R. Computer Systems Board of Directors (NxGroup ‘The Users’ Group). Social and Civic Organizations: Member of Barboursville Rotary Club, Junior Achievement, B.S.A. Boy Scouts of America, Little League Programs Baseball, Football, Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce, Huntington Area Development Council, Advantage Valley, City of Huntington Foundation Committee, Heritage Farm Leadership Forum.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time. Henson & Kitchen Mortuary, 6357 E. Pea Ridge Road, Huntington, W.Va., is caring for the family. Online condolences and memories may be shared with the family by visiting


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