This week, Sherri and I (Executive and Assistant Executive Directors) hit the road to meet with one of Central IN IEC’s Industry Partners, ALLIED Wholesale Electrical Supply.
When we arrived, we were graciously greeted by Rich Kelly, Sales Manager and IEC liaison, as well as new recruit Jena Serpico, and given the tour. They started with making round with the staff, who were all bright and cheery, dogging one another about their March Madness brackets and who supported which college team. It’s a very Notre Dame v Purdue environment in there, but hey, I won’t judge.
Next was the warehouse, which was SO much bigger than Sherri or I had expected. Sitting on 55,000 square feet, ALLIED hosts at any given time, around $10 million worth of inventory, having broken down a wall and expanding even further out. Rich explained how they were now building up to conserve more space, doubling the height of their older shelves.
There was so much to see: Rich told us that they were among the largest wire places in town! And I believed it. There was a whole wall dedicated to enormous spools of wire that were thicker than a garden hose. There were more than 5,000 foot reels of master reels, taking up 1/3 of the entire warehouse.
Not only do they have wire, though, but they also have a section of the warehouse dedicated to all sorts of conduit. Rich informed us that not only do they sell it, but at times they bring it in to places like IEC to help with conduit bending classes. But there were some pieces that were so thick I couldn’t imagine them being bent by human hands! These were conduits so wide I could easily stick my entire arm into them.
As we continued around the warehouse, Rich explained how electricians fed wire through conduits, and the new, self-lubricating wires that were in production now to make that process easier. He pointed out lights, fish wire, and lubricant that sat stacked on the shelves, waiting for distribution.
We were engrossed. Finally, Sherri sat back and asked, “So… where are all the fork lifts?”
Rich and I glanced at each other for a moment. I could have sworn that I had seen a few as we were going around the perimeter of the warehouse, but was I making that up? Rich laughed and said that they were everywhere! As we made our way back to the front of the building, we pointed them out with a “Hey! There’s a forklift!” over and over again as we passed the aisles.
“Guys, stop,” she laughed. “Now that I mentioned it we’re going to be seeing them everywhere.”
When we reached the front, we were in their store area, broken up by manufacturer. They had just gotten new wall fixtures, which displayed the products they had in a bright and organized manner.
Rich pointed towards the corner and asked me, “Do you know what that thing right there is?”
I hesitated, then admitted. “No idea.”
“So, when contractors are building houses, they need electricity, right? So they have to build these temporary boxes so they can run their tools. But it’s a pain to take the time away from the actual job to set this up, especially if you don’t have that many people on a job site. So we actually pre make these for contractors to come and buy instead of taking the time and resources to build one. As far as I know, we’re the only company in the area that does something like this.”
Besides their winning hospitality, these guys drive off of passion and ingenuity, too. They see a gap in the market that they can fill, and they do it. As versatile and as hard working as these guys are, they’ll continue to thrive for years to come, and we’re proud to have them as members of Central Indiana IEC.
ALLIED Wholesale Electrical Supply, Inc (AWESI) is a full line Electrical and Plumbing Distributor primarily serving the Contractor and institutional markets. In December of 1985 after leaving Cummins Engine Company in Columbus, Indiana Bob McCurdy purchased 2 small Electrical Distributors in Indianapolis and started AWESI. Bob quickly grew the business and outgrew two buildings before building AWESI’s current headquarters in 1996. In 2002 with the new building and some newly hired key employees AWESI cracked Electrical Wholesaling magazine’s Top 250 at #247.
In 1993 after attending Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, Bob’s son Rob McCurdy came to work at AWESI. Together Bob and Rob continued to grow AWESI through great customer service and a commitment to inventory. In 2006 AWESI again outgrew it’s building and a 35,000 square foot expansion was made to create the current 54,000sqft. headquarters. With the room to grow and service customers better, AWESI again cracked the Electrical Wholesaling magazines’s new Top 200 at #174 and have remained in the Top 200 ever since.
In 2009 Rob McCurdy purchased the Company from Bob. Bob is currently enjoying retirement. Rob has continued to grow AWESI into other markets. In 2016 he added a Bloomington, Indiana location to complement Indianapolis and Anderson, and then in 2016 Rob purchased a Plumbing distributor to further diversify.