At Dickman Electrical and Industrial Supply It's About Adaptability and the Next Big Endeavor
Dickman Electrical and Industrial Supply Inc. was founded in 1953 by Reuben Dickman as an industrial mill supply house with just one location in Sidney, Ohio, called Dickman Industrial. Now more than 60 years later, Dickman, an independently owned and operated industrial and electrical supplier with four wholesale distribution locations in west central Ohio—in Sidney, Greenville, Celina and Marysville—is continuing to grow.
Mark Winner, branch manager of the Greenville and Celina locations, attributes the company’s success and growth to listening to customers and evolving product and service offerings as customer needs change.
Electro Controls Inc., Dickman’s sister company, began more than 40 years ago as a result of a customer’s request to have metal clad cable cut, measured and delivered. Today, Dickman has 188 employees with 108 of them employed at Electro Controls’ 75,000-square-foot facility in Sidney, Ohio. It is one of the area’s largest custom builders of electrical automation controls and wire harness assemblies.
“Electro Controls began when we evolved our offerings and adapted to our customers’ needs—from cutting metal clad cable to product kitting to building control panels,” Winner said. “We are constantly evaluating the marketplace and looking for new opportunities that will take us to the next level.”
Dickman established its Green Energy Solutions (GES) division in 2009 to consult on energy-efficient projects—working with building owners and contractors to maximize energy savings and return on investment (ROI) for greening their businesses. In addition to evaluation services, Dickman provides the payback and ROI calculations, as well as the documentation needed to claim tax deductions and utility rebates.
In 2018, Dickman evolved its services again with the establishment of Electro Green Energy Solutions (Electro GES), which is the company’s newest pursuit in the renewable energy arena. The division was established to compete within the solar market. Electro GES identifies and evaluates companies’ energy conservation measures to ultimately reduce recurring electrical consumption and supplement it with on-site renewable power generation.
Dickman’s customer mix is 50% industrial and 50% contractors (residential, agricultural, etc.), but varies among the company’s four locations. Although Dickman competes with large, national distributors—selling switch gear, controls and lighting—Winner says the company’s ability to sell the end-user package—electrical control systems—sets it apart.
“We have the ability to provide parts along with the electrical control piece—delivering the most modern electrical control systems available. That sets us apart from every other distributor and it allows us to feed business to our sister company,” he added.
Despite how a customer’s needs may vary across the company’s territory, Dickman runs transfer trucks between its four locations. With the warehouses just 35 miles apart and an inventory of $6 million, a part is never more than two hours away.
“We maintain the right inventory at all times and at competitive prices. Our buying power allows us to offer cost-effective solutions,” Winner added. “As a locally-owned and operated company, we are a very nimble and can respond to requests quickly.”
With technology driving the industry, Dickman launched an online store in 2001 to keep up with its customers’ changing needs. “Every customer requires a different level of support and we match our services to our customers’ needs,” Winner said. “Some customers want to place their order online; some want to do it through the app and others want to pick up the phone and call us.”
At Dickman, the focus is on building strong relationships with customers and taking good care of employees. “Part of our hiring strategy is employing relatives of our employees,” Winner said. “We want people with strong family values and a solid work ethic. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a person start in the warehouse and climb to the top.”
Twenty-two of the company’s employees have tenure of 20 years and some have been with the company for more than 50 years. “Our employees live and work in the same towns as our customers,” Winner said. “Being immersed in the local community, where everyone knows each other is a huge part of our business.”
With a strong history, unique capabilities and an experienced team, big things are happening at Dickman. In 2019, owners Tim and Marla Geise retired and sold the business to their three sons, Chris Geise, CEO, Kevin Geise, COO and Jason Geise, president, who make up the executive management team along with Brent Palser, vice president of sales and Winner.
As Dickman continues to thrive and evolve, Winner credits the company’s IMARK membership with playing a critical role in the company’s success. “We joined IMARK in 2005 and once we joined, we just took off,” Winner said. “The distributors and manufacturers I’ve networked with, the friendships I’ve built and the insight I’ve gained through I-Net networking meetings has been extremely valuable.”
For more information, visit dickmansupply.com.