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FSG 40 | Remembering O.K. Electric Supply

It’s FSG 40 Friday! All year long we’re celebrating our 40th anniversary and the talented folks behind FSG. This week, we’re taking a look at FSG’s acquisition of O.K. Electric Supply Company in 2006.

FSG’s familial values run deep within the culture of the company, as well as the companies that have come together to form one unified FSG. The northeastern operations are a direct result of O.K. Electric Supply, a company that was formed over a century ago in 1919. 

Continue reading below for a full glimpse into the history behind FSG’s northeastern operations.

100 Years of Lighting New Jersey

By Andrew Ghilino, FSG

The date, was December 5, 1919. The Friday afternoon edition of the Daily Home News (New Brunswick, NJ) states that four Perth Amboy firms filed trade names. While the fates of three of those businesses listed that day are unknown, one of them is celebrating 100 years of providing service to customers in New Jersey.

The O.K. Electric Supply Company may no longer exist in name or license, but the spirit of providing a wide range of lighting and electrical products to customers continues as FSG. Founded in 1919 by W. E. Olson and Sol Kaufman, O.K. Electric originally opened its doors in the shopping district of downtown Perth Amboy. Back then, Perth Amboy was an industrial city and its waterfront location proved great for growing business.

The original O.K. Electric location featured a lighting and electrical product showroom that catered to commercial and residential customers. A fire broke out in 1954 and destroyed the original location of O.K. Electric but the company persevered. In the 1960s the company shifted its business focus and moved to 224 Washington Street, in Perth Amboy. The new focus for the company was the thriving New Jersey industrial market.  In 1968, O.K. Electric Supply instituted one of the first System Contracts in New Jersey with the ESSO Refinery, and over the years became a key supplier to Fortune 500 companies around the state.

In 1986, O.K. Electric Supply was acquired by Bernard Erickson Sr., John W. Nesti, and Bernard Erickson, Jr., you may recognize that last name. The new ownership team had a vision and expanded its focus beyond traditional supply distribution. Under the supervision of Bernie Erickson Jr., the company would enter the budding world of energy conservation.

In 1992 Bernard Erickson Sr. sadly passed away. His absence was felt by all and the industry had lost an icon. Eric Erickson, son of Erickson Sr., joined the company and along with Erickson Jr., and Nesti, helped carry on the legacy left by his father, and continued O.K. Electric operations. A new 6000-square foot lighting and automation laboratory “The Power & Lighting Technical Training Center” would open up later that year along with the formation of the Energy Solutions Group. The focus of this division was to perform turnkey energy conservation retrofits. 

A satellite sales office opened in Washington D.C. in 1994 and managed to perform energy conservation projects for The World Bank, The Department of Defense, and Military Sea-Lift Command.

As the world entered the new millennium, Bernard Erickson Jr. and Eric Erickson continued to learn the business and industry. Bernie would become President & CEO of the company and helped transform O.K. Electric from a simple electric supply house to an energy conservation powerhouse. Eric Erickson became the Executive Vice President and managed the overall operations of the company. 

In 2005 John Nesti retired.  Leon Mowadia, Jr. and David Attardi, joined the company as equity partners and became Vice Presidents of O.K. Electric.  Leon headed marketing efforts and operations with Eric, while David worked with Bernie in leading the outside sales force. Both David and Leon possessed more than 10 years of lighting and energy conservation experience from their days with Atlantic Lighting, a pioneering lighting supply company founded by Leon’s father. 

With the new team in place and decades of experience and expertise, the organization was ready to make the next move. In 2006 O.K. Electric became part of FSG.  O.K. Electric ceased operations under that name and today continues as part of the FSG family. Since 2006, FSG’s northeast presence, under the leadership of Bernie, Eric, David, and Leon, has expanded to offices in several major markets including New York City, Michigan, and Baltimore. The team also started FSG Utility Services, a division that focuses on incentive programs created by local utilities across the country to help businesses perform energy retrofit projects. 

The company has not operated as O.K. Electric in more than a decade; but if you wander around FSG’s Perth Amboy office, still located at 224 Washington Street, you can find traces of the past. Hidden amongst the office and warehouse, now branded with FSG’s three-letter logo, are stickers forever stuck to metal filing cabinets, memorabilia hanging from desks of long-time employees, and an original sign mounted in an employee break room. These may just be artifacts of the days of O.K. Electric, but they preserve a proud legacy of the past. 

O.K. Electric/FSG has spent the past 100 years providing lighting products and energy retrofits to customers in New Jersey. The company is proud to mark its centennial year in New Jersey and looks to its young leadership along with the vision and direction still provided by Bernie, Eric, David, and Leon, to continue thriving for the next 100 years.  

If you have a memory you’d like to share with us, let us know here! Thank you for everything you do to make FSG extraordinary! We wouldn’t be the same without you!

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