All Hail S&C Electric Company!

John Conrad made 56 different property purchases to assemble the land that now comprises S&C's headquarters in Chicago.
Photo courtesy of S&C Electric Company

You can’t go home again…..

Well, maybe you can. Last weekend, my husband and I flew to Chicago. In addition to seeing long-time friends, I wanted to attend the 100th birthday/anniversary celebration of S&C Electric Company, “my” company for more than three decades. My husband skipped the celebration because of a minor back problem, so my date was Dave Rodelius, a photographer who worked with me for many years. The on-premises celebration day, Sunday Sept. 25, was overcast and cool, but we had a wonderful time – seeing long-time colleagues, touring indoors and out, being treated like royalty (great food, bus transportation, etc.) and marveling that this one little company had made it when many better-known names are now distant memories.

S&C President & CEO John W. Estey,
with the company since 1972, is one of only
three CEOs in the company's 100-year history.
Photo by Diane Taylor

You may never have heard of S&C Electric Company because company ownership has always been private, first by co-founders Edmund O. Schweitzer and Nicholas J. Conrad, then by the John R. Conrad family and currently by its employees through an employee stock ownership plan. Scores of fathers and sons and mothers and daughters have worked at S&C over the years. They worked in a non-union family-friendly atmosphere, earned good money, were trained in new skills, found opportunity and made lifelong friendships. Corporate owners did not come and go at S&C.

One hundred years ago, S&C had one full-time employee assembling liquid fuses in three rooms at 1774 Wilson Ave. in Chicago. Today, S&C worldwide employs 2500 people, with research and manufacturing headquarters in the City of Chicago. United States operations are in Alameda, California; Franklin, Wisconsin; Orlando, Forida; and Duvall, Washington. Global business units are in Curitiba, Brazil; Toronto, Canada; Suzhou, China; Aguascalientes, Mexico and Swansea, United Kingdom.

A visit to S&C's Chicago manufacturing operations is fascinating...always a showplace for customers
Photo by Diane Taylor

S&C has a great deal to teach America’s businesses. In the very simplest terms as described by President & CEO John Estey, the company’s pillars are its values, product innovation, private ownership and its people. I remember the long ago President of S&C’s Canadian subsidiary saying that, in terms of the company’s values, he could “always sleep at night”. So could we all.

With regard to customers, the company builds quality products, stands behind them and can be depended upon to invent not what the customers want, but what they need…today and tomorrow. The most highly skilled workers in the country who manage high-voltage arc and electrical waveform work at S&C.

S&C Pad-Mounted Gear is seen throughout the Las Vegas valley. Underground power lines come up through the gear for switching and protection. This particular gear
is near the back entrance of Wynn Las Vegas.
Photo by Diane Taylor

S&C’s customers are primarily electric utilities. Las Vegas has S&C products one sees (the Pad-Mounted Gear “boxes” found throughout the valley) and ones not seen, such as the S&C Intelliteam II Automatic Restoration System co-owned by NV Energy and CityCenter. Yes, S&C is thriving even now….amid the recession. Congratulations, S&C Electric Company!

Here are S&Cs guiding principles as stated on its website:

All of S&C’s dealings are bound by rock-solid integrity.

S&C strives to meet the highest standards for workplace safety.

S&C is dedicated to private ownership, planning for the long term, and reinvesting the majority of earnings back into the business.

S&C’s culture promotes trust, teamwork, dignity, and respect within our diverse workforce.

S&C continuously improves what we do and how we do it by learning, contributing ideas, and initiating change.

S&C selects suppliers for the long term and favors those that support our continuous improvement. All relationships are based on quality, dependability, integrity, and mutually beneficial results.

S&C is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our products and business activities and enhancing the utilization of renewable energy sources.

S&C maintains strong and supportive relationships with the communities in which we work.


2 responses on “All Hail S&C Electric Company!

  1. In this business environment, it’s amazing that your company has survived and prospered. Congrats to them.

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