Ed Tangel, Founder
It all began in 1975 in a small garage in Chillicothe, Illinois, when five men (Ed Tangel, Bill Rogers, Bill Steele, Bill Phelps, and Diz Small), with the support of their families, saw the writing on the wall at their current company and decided to band together and do what they love – provide help and security in the world of power.
They enjoyed what they did, and when you like what you do, you can do it well – always the goal – to act with passion and commitment while fulfilling one’s ambition.
These men staked their family’s future on the vision of a company where everyone enjoyed working together in an atmosphere of fun and wonder for all they might achieve. Now, 44+ years later, Enercon continues to be a place where people have fun, are passionate, and are in action to capture their futures.
Enercon started as a ‘family business’ – the Tangels and the Rogers – with many friends, relatives, and life-long acquaintances. Today, Enercon is a ‘business of families,’ meaning that the focus is on producing a successful business, which is accomplished by making highly-valued offers, with superior margin utility, so that all the families in the company can earn a living and live a good life. “We think of ourselves as a business of families,” says Larry Tangel, CEO, “Because we want to stay connected to our WHY! Which is to care for our families by actualizing our skill in a community of people, providing help and security to our customers in their need for secure power.”
Ed & Bill had a worldwide vision for Enercon and were focused on the international marketplace from the very beginning. Within three years, Enercon was exporting over 50% of its products into growing markets and in need of simple paralleling controls and low voltage power. Enercon’s export focus helped them progress, separating themselves from the competition, as most of the US paralleling switchgear suppliers were not focused on the international market.
Another early success factor was being selected by Caterpillar to be their outsourced switchgear partner. From 1977 – 1995 paralleling switchgear branded Caterpillar was built by Enercon in their East Peoria facility. This connection to the Caterpillar factory was key to their early success; as the factory would promote Enercon’s offerings to the dealers when they needed complex paralleling switchgear and controls. The factory would tell the dealers, “…we use Enercon!” That was priceless!
Enercon’s success from its inception had much to do with their culture, one of commitment to each other, the customer, and having fun! This along with their high-volume export business, allowed Enercon to build a strong balance sheet that helped them thrive in the deep recession of 1982-83, so much so, that they were able to expand in that recession by acquiring a small packaging company, Custom Engineering.
The logic behind the Custom Engineering acquisition was multi-pronged. For one, the company’s customer base – engine dealers and distributors – was the same as Enercon’s. Second, often the same projects would need both paralleling switchgear and a genset package. Third, the owner of Custom Engineering, and their staff, were friends and/or relatives of some of Enercon’s employees, so the integration of the two companies was seamless.
The Adventure Continues
Today, under the leadership of Ed and Larry Tangel, Enercon has been restructured into three different business units. Each business unit serves separate markets, with different customers, different concerns, and different strategies. The three business units are Integrated Energy Solutions (IES), Integrated Defense Solutions (IDS), and Engineered Systems (ES).
Additionally, Enercon has adopted the Entrepreneurial Operating System EOS, a system created by Gino Wickman, detailed in his book called “Traction”. It is a system that has been implemented in over 7,500 companies worldwide, and it provides a common language and strategies to allow everyone on the team to work in greater coordination. It helps clarify your ambitions, your core values, and your vision, to ensure the right people are on the bus.
The future looks bright for Enercon with the success of the THAAD system in the military division, the renewed growth in their electrical paralleling switchgear division, and the new opportunities they have produced with industrial control panels in their Engineered Systems division.
Whether the need is custom or standard, Enercon’s purpose and passion are to have Customers for Life. It is this drive that has kept Enercon going these past 46 years, keeping focused on how they are able to help so that customers want them around… for life!
Enercon will be celebrating its 48th year in business this year.