Sponsored by Lane Powell
Home Back Issues January 2007 VIP: Harvey Platt, CEO of Platt Electric

VIP: Harvey Platt, CEO of Platt Electric

| Print |  Email
Archives - January 2007
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

Back to School

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

By now we’ve all read the headlines: Starbucks is giving away free degrees. Except it isn’t.


Read more...

Video: The 100 Best Survey

News
Thursday, August 28, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1OB Research Editor Kim Moore shares some pointers about the 100 Best Companies to Work For survey.


Read more...

Poll Wrap-Up

News
Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 NewPoll-report-newsletterthumbIn this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.


Read more...

Powerlist: Colleges and Universities

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation about higher education with the presidents of the University of Oregon and Clackamas Community College, followed by September's powerlist.


Read more...

The Scott Kveton affair

News
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
ScottKvetonBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.


Read more...

Green Endeavor cleans up

News
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
080614 ULnew greenendeavorBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Portland startup Green Endeavor strikes gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries.


Read more...

The Alchemist

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

David Howitt explains why Portland consumer brands like Stumptown and Voodoo Doughnuts are taking the world by storm.


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