What does it take to be in business for 50 years, especially when it is a business that sees constant change and innovation? It takes a team of dedicated entrepreneurs with vision, passion and focus. This is why Karlen-Elecom is celebrating half a century this year.
It all began in 1967, when Al Karlen opened a business that focused on supplying electronics, sound and communication systems for Edmonton’s schools, churches and halls. The community responded well to Al’s ethics, honesty and products, and that served to expedite the growth of Karlen Electronics.
Fourteen years later, Al retired and the business was purchased by Ken Kenton. These days, you’ll find Ken at the helm of the international sales team. Ken also introduced new commercial audio, video and phone systems to the product lines.
The company never stopped evolving. Things took another upward turn in 2003, when the CEO of Elecom, Mickie Poon, and his investment group saw the potential in Karlen Electronics. Mickie and his group purchased and expanded the company, and modified the name to what it is known as today: Karlen-Elecom. Karlen-Elecom became one of the region’s largest commercial and industrial service companies.
However, the company was far from resting on its successful laurels. Mickie wanted to provide more for the company’s clients and, therefore, expanded the range of services. Since 2006, a construction group offering general contracting, building envelope and design-build was added to Karlen-Elecom.
Diversifying the company proved to be the right choice. With Alberta ramping up to the 2008 recession, which was followed by the recent economic downturn, Karlen-Elecom was able to meet the challenging and ever-changing economy head-on, and it continues to move forward, grow rapidly and exceed its sales goals regardless of the outside conditions. In fact, the company has grown eight times the sales volume from 2008-2017, while many other companies were downsizing.
What has 50 years produced for the company? What started out as an electronic supply shop has now morphed into a leader in construction, electrical and mechanical services in Alberta.
- Construction services that focus on commercial work and multi-family residences.
- Electrical services that include 24-hour emergency assistance for power and lighting systems, fire alarm systems, sound systems, intercoms, card access and video surveillance.
- Mechanical services, which include sprinkler design and installations.
The company has also created the Karlen-Elecom Training Centre which provides an entertaining space (outstanding coffee, virtual golf, pool) for its staff, while also being a top-notch facility for internal and external training.
So how does a company stay in business for 50 years in a world that is intent on changing faster and faster with each successive month? Karlen-Elecom’s marketing manager, Robert Logue, has the answer to that question: “It’s because we care.”
For me, the greatest joy is living the passage ‘it is better to give than to receive,’” adds company owner Mickie. “It’s not all about the profit. It’s about seeing our own staff develop their skills and abilities and it’s about being in a position to help our clients become successful. What has made us successful is seeing and addressing the needs of our clients, and seeing how happy they are with our services.”
Karlen-Elecom cared from the start of its humble beginnings, and it built upon the foundation of integrity that was set 50 years ago by Al. By always keeping an eye on future trends and never being afraid to take a chance in new and exciting markets, Karlen-Elecom has forged its own path and walks boldly upon it.
To learn more about Karlen-Elecom and its diverse products and services, visit www.elecom.ca today.