From Bob’s desk: Celebrating our successes

By Bob Bacon

I was discussing the topic of Elm being as successful in the next few years as it has been in the last few years and one of the people on the call said, “nothing lasts forever.”

My response was, “maybe not, but Elm has had 52 years of steady growth. That’s pretty good.”

“True, but…” they went on.

Certainly, I can’t predict the future and I am sure there will be some difficult years ahead of us, but if we keep focused on our core values we will be OK.

When I think of Elm, I tend to focus on what we could do better. I am sure many of you do the same thing. This is WHY we are successful, always improving. We can get frustrated with things that could be better, but let’s take a minute and think of what we are doing well. How about, we are really good at trying to improve.

We do a lot of things really well. It would take pages to list everything. Here are some that come to mind for me:

Service – In the last seven years, Elm’s top 100 or so customers have generated millions in sales. 70% of that business has been for clients 3 or more years and 37% of it took place with clients in all 7 years. (I picked 7 because that data was easily available).

Safety – We are managing safety and risk really well. Our workers compensation modification rate is .72 which means we receive a 28% discount on our rate. Since we do even better because of the effort we all put into safety, we have begun receiving refunds from our insurance group.

Integrity – We consistently do what we say and meet our commitments. Dan Piper told me selling Piper to Elm was one the best decisions he has ever made. Piper was started by Dan’s grandfather in 1929 and Dan continues to work with us. You hear stories about mergers that don’t work, but this one has been fantastic for both companies. Our financial strength and integrity allow us many options. For example, we needed approval for a very large bond on a multi-year project. Because we are a trusted and consistent company, Elm was approved.

Evolution – Elm has grown at a double-digit annual rate for the last 52 years! You can’t do that without learning, adapting and innovating. We have been really good at this. We have always invested in apprentices and understood the value of hiring and inspiring them, but the old method had limitations. The development of Elm University, and our training programs, is an adaptation that will help us continue to grow a talented and dedicated group of electricians and technicians.

Take a minute to reflect on something we are doing well and celebrate a little bit.

As always, I appreciate you comments