Sponsored by Lane Powell

VIP: Harvey Platt, CEO of Platt Electric

| Print |  Email
Monday, January 01, 2007
{safe_alt_text} Photo by Stuart Mullenberg

ViP

Harvey Platt

CEO, Platt Electric
Beaverton


Even after 20 years, Harvey Platt still feels like the accidental head of his family’s 53-year-old wholesale electrical supply business, Platt Electric. “I thought I’d always be someone who worked for his brother,” he says of filling the void left by older sibling Jerry, who was Platt Electric’s president when he died from cancer in 1986. “I never planned to be in charge, which is why I’m so encouraging of employees to work their way out of the warehouse. You don’t start at the top, but you can get there.”

This scenario is familiar to Platt as he was, literally, sent packing to the warehouse after college in 1972 to wrap and ship electrical wire because his father said “that’s where his real education” began. After a year, Platt tried his hand at sales, then administration and purchasing, where he spent the next 14 or so years before losing his brother. He wasn’t prepared to take over and learned quickly how he and his brother differed in their management styles. “Jerry’s approach was ‘I will tell you everything you need to know,’” says Platt. “I was big on training people so they could figure things out for themselves. That was a tough transition, but it’s proven fruitful.”

In 1997, Platt became CEO and his cousin Jay took over as president. Jay’s leadership, he says, has helped strengthen the family-business side of their corporate culture: a model built on performance and enthusiasm, not fancy degrees.  “If you hire the right people, give them incentives and a good corporate culture, they’ll stick around,” says Platt, adding that four of his regional VPs started in the warehouse. “Our electrical wire isn’t any better than anyone else’s, but I think our employees are happy and it makes all the difference.”

— Stacey Wilson

 

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

MBA Perspective

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Robin Anderson, dean of the Pamplin School of Business, University of Portland: "You need people who are comfortable leading in ambiguity."


Read more...

10 quotes explaining crisis at Port of Portland

The Latest
Friday, February 20, 2015
022015 port portland OBM-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The ongoing labor disputes at the Port of Portland came to a head two weeks ago when Hanjin, the container port's largest client, notified its customers it would be ending its direct route to Oregon.


Read more...

How Oregon will survive the loss of Hanjin

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT | OB CONTRIBUTOR

"Shipping containers to Portland is like waiting for a bus that travels once a day."


Read more...

Ski traffic

Linda Baker
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
0121-skiway-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.


Read more...

Thy neighbor's house

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Vacasa may lack the name recognition of Airbnb. But not for long.


Read more...

Meeting Facilities Perspective

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A conversation with Donna Earley, director of sales and marketing for the Salem Convention Center.


Read more...

The Human Factor

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY BRIAN LIBBY

Matt French opens up South Waterfront.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS