Here’s a story of going from the bottom to the top: William C. Smith started working at Electrozad at the back door, part-time and with the minimal amount of interest typical to a teenager, in the same place his father worked.
With a knack for the products—electrical goods like cables, outlet boxes and light fixtures—he moved into sales, was promoted to marketing, then worked his way up to general manager. When the opportunity presented itself in 1984, Smith bought in, and by 1992, he was the president. Pretty impressive, though not particularly rare at a company where people start young and find a way to grow.
Electrozad is southwestern Ontario’s largest supply company of electrical and automation products for the commercial, industrial and residential markets. Many of the 120 people on staff actually started in warehouse or counter sale positions and learned the electrical distribution biz from the ground up. (Fun fact: a third of staff began their employment before their 25th birthday.)
This is partly the community focus favoured by founder Joseph Ozad (“electricity” plus “Ozad” makes Electrozad). “One of our largest challenges today is finding the technical resources we need. So we look to colleges and universities for certified electrical technicians, then let them grow here from within,” says Smith. Launching this year is the unofficial “Electrozad University,” a 40-hour training course for everyone from the warehouse to the executive team to improve and grow their skills.
Very official, however, is the Electrozad Foundation. Three years after his diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, Joseph Ozad began what would become Electrozad’s legacy of fundraising. Besides MS, the Electrozad Foundation supports the local community via the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, the Canadian Cancer Society, Toys for Tots, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and many more.
Giving back to the community in turn fuels the business that has seen Electrozad dubbed “The House that Service Built,” Smith says.
“We try to instill that in everybody, every day,” he says. This includes not only a swanky annual golf tournament, but also each and every Friday, when a $2 donation lets you guiltlessly wear jeans.