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Top 20 Stories of 2016: #15 City Electric Supply Explains Its Growth Strategy

 

Every weekday in December, tED magazine is counting down the Top 20 Stories of 2016. Below, the #15 most-viewed story of the year, originally published on March 11, 2016.

 

Aligned for its sixth consecutive year of double-digit growth, City Electric Supply welcomes new branches and new employees to the CES family.

“We opened 17 new locations in the 2015 calendar year and have a stated goal to open 20 to 25 more this year. By the close of February, four new stores opened for business getting 2016 off to a really good start,” President and CEO Thomas Hartland-Mackie said.

Hartland-Mackie confirmed 55 approved-to-open locations and expects approximately half to do so this calendar year.   

Senior Group Manager Blair Feidler oversees the Charlotte, Kansas City, Oklahoma, and Smokey Mountain Groups, which combined hold 29 trading branches.  “In Oklahoma, I’m currently serving as the group manager as well, but my goal is to promote a group manager next year and I can certainly say that’s going to be a very positive day. Over just a two year period, we’ve turned this region around by going from just two branches to five,” Feidler recounts.

In Feidler’s Oklahoma Group, there are presently three open branches, with one under construction in Edmond, Okla. and one still to be announced – Feidler’s goal is to have five trading branches in Oklahoma by the close of 2016 and he cites the only force holding him back is the same force many other NAED distributors face: recruiting and training the right people to continue the expansion.

“Anyone promotable has been promoted,” Fiedler says.  “We are creating opportunity; we’re not looking for 9-to-5 jobs, we’re looking for people ready to come in and make a career.  I now have competitors calling my employees trying to recruit them and I honestly take that as a compliment! We build great employees and our system works.”

The City Electric Supply executive management structure employs five general managers to cover the five US regions, all of which joined the company decades ago as a van driver, warehouse/counter representative, or sales representative.  The employment tier where this distributor’s executive team began their CES careers prove that hard work and dedication are rewarded. 

“You get out of it what you put into it, tenfold,” Marketing Manager Thomas McShane noted of his career progression at City Electric Supply.

Senior Group Manager Glenn Smith oversees the California, Colorado North, and Colorado South Groups containing a trading branch count of twenty-three.  “We’re in the west and there’s so much opportunity here. Last year for the first time ever, every single one of our branch managers was promoted from within the company. I personally try to promote my branch managers from within, but as we move into new areas that can be difficult to do,” Smith said.

Smith notes the unique culture, which thrives at CES as being one of the most important things to maintain in new locations.   “The people. It’s always the people – sounds boring, but that’s the bottom line!” Smith said in justifying their cause for success. “That’s why I was so proud to promote in Littleton [new branch opened in February]. Hence why we’ve got to have the right people in place before we can open our next location!”

For Smith, Feidler, and many group managers across the US, opening the next location depends upon getting promotable team members in their current locations.

“Last trading year, 302 people were promoted in the US business, which means more than 12 percent of our workforce progressed their career. On top of that, we added 213 employees to our team in that trading year alone,” Hartland-Mackie reflected.

With more than 2,500 US employees, City Electric Supply is an established and growing force promoting family and opportunity across the nation.  “We take great pride in being an employer with truly unlimited career progression. No matter what your first position with the company is, you have the potential to reach as far as your ability can take you.”

 

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