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

Car ignition recalls and lean product design

Contributed Blogs
Friday, April 11, 2014
04.11.14 thumb gm-gettyTOM COX | OB BLOGGER

The auto industry is starting to share more costs across manufacturers for complex and challenging design work, like new transmission design, and certain new engine technologies. What we’re not yet seeing is wholesale outsourcing of “unavoidable waste” components to specialist companies.


Read more...

Green eyeshades in the ivory tower

News
Friday, April 04, 2014
EducationCosts BlogBY ERIC FRUITS

The rapidly rising cost of higher education has left even the smartest researchers and the wonkiest of wonks wondering what’s happening and where’s all that money going. More and more, prospective students—and their families—are asking: Is college worth the cost?


Read more...

Leader's bookshelf

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 14, 2014
02.06.14 BooksBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Five books that will make you a better leader.


Read more...

Wheel man

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Les Schwab has put a premium on customer service since 1952, when legendary namesake Les Schwab founded the company with one store in Prineville. (Schwab died in 2007.) But if the corporate principles remain essentially the same, the world around this iconic Oregon business has changed dramatically.


Read more...

Banishing oil burners reaps benefits for schools

News
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
04.02.14 thumb co2schoolsBY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Three years ago, PPS set out to begin to convert the 1930s-era boilers from diesel/bunker fuel to cleaner-burning natural gas. Oregon’s largest school district has realized impressive carbon dioxide emissions reductions, setting an example for public and private institutions.


Read more...

Why I became an educator

News
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
03.04.14 thumbnail teachBY DEBRA RINGOLD | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

How can we strengthen the performance of institutions charged with teaching what Francis Fukuyama calls the social virtues (reciprocity, moral obligation, duty toward community, and trust) necessary for successful markets and democracy itself?


Read more...

Buy the book

News
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
2 03.25.14 thumb bookshopBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Oregon is home not only to many fine writers but also several accomplished small publishers.


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