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

Cherry Raincoat

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.


Read more...

Efficiency Boost

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

How conservation stimulates the local economy.


Read more...

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

The Green Paradox

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY EMILY LIEDEL

Inside the topsy-turvy world of corporate sustainability rankings.


Read more...

No Boundaries

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Floor plans embrace the great wide open.


Read more...

Eco Zoned

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Travelers have always come to Oregon for its natural beauty. But will the increasing popularity of agritourism, European-style hiking getaways and forest resorts relax Oregon's notoriously strict land-use laws?


Read more...

Oregon needs a Grand Bargain energy plan

Linda Baker
Monday, June 22, 2015
0622-gastaxblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.


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