By Dirk Webb
Brian Miller poses at 2012 Awards Gala at the Paramount where as a chamber board member he greeted every guest at the front door | Photo by Dale Pickett
In 1946, Harry West started his own electrical contracting company. Brian joined the company in 1979, his brother, Ron joined in 1982, and together they bought West Electric from their grandfather in 1984.
In the 1950’s and 60’s West Electric was instrumental in wiring the new sub division homes springing up around Anderson, booming commercial retail outlets, and several schools. Among their projects were the rewiring of the Anderson Banking Company building (now PNC), the Beverly Terrace building, Hoyt wright, and the Ward Stillson Company.
Today, West Electric provides electrical services for a wide variety of companies in various industries such as food process and material handling companies, energy storage, hotels and schools. Brian and Ron continue to do old Harry proud.
West Electric has always served in the community through the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and is a proud supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project. West Electric values their employees. "We have 13 employees who have been with us for over 15 years helping serve Central Indiana customers."
Why here in Madison County? “I was born and raised on the south side of Anderson and am a ’78 graduate of Madison Heights. Growth happens in cyclical terms. We did a lot with GM. Despite peaks and valleys Madison County is strong. With the I-69 corridor and our central location we can service Muncie, Indianapolis, Shelbyville and other areas very quickly from our home base. That lends itself to sustainability and continued growth.”
What are your goals for the rest of 2015? “We still need to capture work from the new businesses coming into town and we’re succeeding. It’s important to be able to focus on new opportunities with these niche companies that value us all the while maintaining our core customers.”
Who do you consider the most courageous person in history and why? “My father Edward Miller. What he dealt with in his life puts things in perspective every day. Due to war injuries, he was 70% disabled and given only five years to live yet enthusiastically lived his life to the fullest. He was superintendent of West Electric, kept the presses running for the Anderson newspapers at night, Boy Scout leader, was the head of a parent group at Madison Heights that carefully guided the school through a period of racial strife, and was appointed to the school board. His work ethic was modeled for my brothers and me and still permeates West Electric today.
He was, by nature, a carefree guy; happy-go-lucky and very strong. He joined the Marines in 1949 right out of high school and was shipped to Korea. Two weeks before he was to be discharged, his company was caught in a mortar attack and he was the only survivor.”
If you were to take that person on a tour of your business, what one thing would you want them to see? “He would be pretty pleased at how we've have kept his values. We’ve built a service crew stationed around the county that can respond rapidly. We have a warehouse stocked with supplies and ready to go at a moment’s notice.”
What was the defining moment when you knew your business was making a difference? “The Ice Storm of '91! Thousands of customers needed immediate electrical help and West Electric was there to serve their needs. Our defining moment's now are when general contractors and engineers acknowledge us for our skill and reliability, when International Companies call on us to coordinate logistics and provide services here in our state, and when product we are assembling in the county, installing in the country, and shipping internationally is making life easier for others, then we know we are making a difference.”
How do you define courage? “Facing the various situations during the day and finding the balance for a good life. Prioritizing: First - God, second - family, and third - business. It takes a lot of courage to make that happen every day.”
Launched as the Madison County Chamber's theme during the 2015 Annual Awards Gala, #COURAGEOUS is a platform to tell really good stories of really good people in business. It is a seamless collection of the thoughts, dreams, doubts, fears and inevitably the triumph of perseverance, hope and faith. These are the stories of business leaders in Madison County who have given us a gathering place or rather a rallying point to remind us that together as a community we can achieve much, both for ourselves and for the generations to come. #Courageous - yes we are.
Read more #COURAGEOUS stories here