Werner Electric Supply celebrates 70 years

Werner 1 Werner 2

In 1948, Walter Werner founded Werner Electric Supply Company. The business was intended to support Walter’s humble appliance store in downtown Neenah, but as demand for electrical products grew, it soon took on a life of its own. In those early years, the Werner family worked tirelessly to establish a successful company in a booming industry. Looking back, we know they built so much more — a long-standing tradition of quality and trust.

Today, Werner Electric is one of the largest and most respected independent B2B distributors in the Midwest, with 13 locations and 450 employees throughout Wisconsin, North Dakota, and the upper Michigan region. We’re proud of our 70-year history emulated by the same customers-first philosophy which Walter Werner founded the company on decades ago. We call it the “Werner Way.”

Growth through partnerships

At Werner Electric, we make decisions based on what’s best for the future, beginning with our first partnership in 1955 when we joined forces with Allen-Bradley. Since then, the company has flourished under the savvy leadership of the company’s two Lynns — CEO Lynn Werner, Walter’s son, who led the company from 1961 to his death in 1986; and former sales and marketing executive turned owner, Lynn T. MacDonald, who took over in 1986 until his passing in November 2017. Thanks to these men and their vision, Werner Electric expanded into new facilities and acquired additional partners including Cole Electric Supply in 1999, Northland Electric Supply in 2001, and Best Electric Service, Inc. in 2005. Now Scott Teerlinck, Werner Electric’s current president who was hand-picked by MacDonald, will lead the company into the future.

State-of-the-art facilities

As the company grew, so did our need for space. In 1986 Werner Electric began construction on the 30,000 square-foot warehouse in Neenah that served as our headquarters for 30 years. In the spring of 2016, we moved into our new building consisting of a 200,000-square-foot regional distribution center and 53,000 square feet of office space, which includes an innovation center, training classrooms, and product display rooms.

Pursuing continued excellence

At Werner Electric we are constantly seeking new growth opportunities. Over the past eight years the company has outpaced the market not only in revenue growth but also in people power. Between 2010 and 2017 our workforce grew from 290 employees to 450, and each team member is valued as an integral part of the Werner Electric community. The Werner Way leads our culture as we strive to serve our employees with respect, generosity, and appreciation.

A great place to work

As a testament to our people-centric philosophy, Werner Electric recently received the New North Workplace Excellence Award. This honor recognizes organizations that are improving their competitive advantage through people practices. Our employees are a top priority and we help them succeed in their individual roles by focusing on open communication, supporting professional development, and inspiring a positive work-life balance.

Take their word for it 

Here’s what our team members are saying.

“You can tell Werner Electric is a great place to work because of the longevity of employees. That speaks volumes about the quality of the company.”

                                                    — Jon Buehring, custom assembly and services supervisor

“It’s the people who are willing to give 100 percent, and do the right thing, the right way, every day. I encourage my team to bring their thoughts to me and discuss personal goals so they can grow.”

                                                                                                  — Dave Hartman, corporate account manager

“I work with a great team every day who supports me and makes me feel like I add value to Werner.”

                                                                                  — Aundraa Hamilton, project coordinator

Open and transparent communication

Werner Electric cultivates open communication by encouraging employee feedback. We gather input through monthly branch meetings, quarterly reviews, state-of-the-company meetings, and engagement surveys. Engagement surveys are used to collect insight on several intangible topics including how informed employees feel, whether they think their opinions matter, and if they feel they can express themselves openly. The results of the engagement surveys are reviewed by management and turned into actionable steps.

Professional development 

Werner Electric also invests in individual employee growth and development. We recently implemented Werner Leadership Academy, a comprehensive professional development program for company leaders and potential leaders, which provides versatile classes in crucial conversations, motivational strategies, and maximizes employee engagement. Employee training plans provide opportunities for employee development and ensure best employee fit, contributing to both employee and company long-term success.

Positive work-life balance

As a family-run business, Werner Electric leaders understand work is one component
of a balanced life. Employees have dentist appointments, daycare emergencies, and track meets to attend. Werner Electric offers a flexible environment, allowing employees to be present for important family matters. Our strong family culture also contributes to Werner Electric’s success. Like a true family, when a co-worker shares a need, teammates rally to donate cash, vacation time, meals, and more.

Encouraging health and wellness

We truly care about our employees’ health and well-being. Our wellness programs address mental, physical, and financial wellness. Employees and spouses are offered health risk assessments, fitness and nutrition challenges, and accessibility to financial planning.

To improve life at work, Werner Electric incorporated suggestions from employees for our new headquarters. The facility was strategically designed to have workspaces with natural light, stand-up desks, and a centralized break room featuring healthy, fresh food. Weekly on-site chiropractor visits are also available for our employees’ health and safety.

Our new facility, along with the company’s continued dedication to employees, has led to increased productivity. This ultimately fuels our continued success as Werner Electric expands into new markets.

As we enter our 70th year of business, Werner Electric wishes to thank our employees, customers and surrounding business community for the role they played in helping our company thrive. From humble beginnings to a promising future, the Werner Way is alive and well. We think Walter would be proud.

4800 W Prospect Ave.
Appleton, WI 54914
(920) 815-4050

To view the entire 2018 Anniversary Celebrations edition, please click here.