The future of Elm Part 4 of 4: Introducing the ‘Elm Essentials’

By Bob Bacon

Why didn’t I just sell Elm or wind it down and retire?

Don’t worry, I won’t. Don’t go looking for a new job, but do read on! I was discussing Elm and my vision and hope that it will smoothly transition into a 3rd generation with a friend, Tom, who made his career at Nike. He is smiling and listening when he says, “Why should Elm continue after you retire?”

I quickly say it should absolutely keep going!

Tom again says, “Why, why keep it going?” After a few days introducing him to Elm, our people and our operations, he emphatically agreed. Elm is a great company.

I hired Tom to help us develop an internal campaign similar to “Safety to the Next Level.” It will be called the “Elm Essentials” and remind us all of how important Safety, Service, Integrity and Evolution are to the company. You will be seeing more about Essentials, but the following summarizes why we think this is so important.

Elm has been in business over 50 years. I feel like, for many of us, it has been a good company to work for. I know I have found working and leading at Elm very rewarding! I am well aware that Elm is about way more than just me. It really is a strong, fair and proud company that has a great reputation. The company just has a success mojo based on safety, service, integrity and our ability to evolve. It is a simple value formula that has kept our clients calling us back, and our coworkers and partners interested and satisfied.

We have earned our reputation by consistently evolving to be better at everything we do and by anticipating our next challenges. For the last several years, we have understood another generation of leadership needed to be developed. We have several very talented people running our various groups. They excel at what they do and will be well prepared for their next challenges. I also believe that those leaders should be the owners of Elm because they will be the best folks to keep our business essentials of safety, service, integrity and evolution.

We have all worked hard together to create a great company of very talented people, who service a large group of good clients, that has become an important corporate member of our communities. Our integrity is more important than chasing profit. We all know that by keeping our promises and making commitments that we can deliver on, we will be successful. I was 20 years old when I came to work at Elm and since that time, I have done very well personally not by trying to make money, but by avoiding risk, doing what needed to be done, treating people well and learning new things. I have had a great career doing what is right for Elm Electrical, Inc. and there is no way I would risk the future of the company by selling it to maximize my personal gain.

The next generation of leaders are already evolving in our organization and the slow process of shifting ownership has begun. The company will be guided into the future by a board of directors that will measure leadership by their behavior and alignment with the principles of safety, service, integrity and their ability to evolve the company. When I suddenly became the majority owner in 2000, my goal was to “not mess it up,” and I’m still at that place. I have great confidence in our leadership team to uphold the Elm Essentials of Safety, Service, Integrity and Evolution.