Celebrating our centennial milestone has been a lot of fun! We have especially enjoyed the stories shared throughout the year from family and friends of Williams, and want to thank everyone for taking the time to do so. Here are some of our favorites!
Do you have a favorite Williams memory?
I have had the good fortune to be hired twice at HEW. The first time was May 1983. I was hired for Customer Service, one of only two in the department. Our mail was delivered once in the morning, which contained orders and quote requests. Any immediate needs were handled by phone. Bea Cooper was the sales receptionist and handled the typing and mailing of the quotes (in emergencies, she used a Telex machine). At the time, we still weren't represented in the entire US yet.
I left HEW in 1986 to work for our rep in Dallas and saw that end of the business. After a few years there, I went to work at a distributor that stocked our fixtures. I would always push someone towards Williams fixtures no matter where I was (sort of a Miracle on 34th Street scenario). I returned in 1992 and immediately started over where I had left in '86, even using the same desk!
I've always seemed to have HEW in my blood. My father worked at Russell Belden Electric in Joplin, so I grew up listening to stories about the industry at the dinner table. It seems I almost always had a Williams notebook or pen of some kind to carry to classes with me when growing up in school.
Chuck Edds, H.E. Williams, Inc.
Every project experience with H.E. Williams is a positive one. I appreciate the people who consistently work hard to provide good service and the high-quality products that continue to give H.E. Williams the great reputation they have always been known for.
Kristin McGill, The Lighting Project
I have been very lucky and honored to be in my 22nd year of representing H.E. Williams Lighting. The honest and hard-working ethic that is shown by the employees, no, family at H.E. Williams is very evident in the level of service provided daily and quality products that leave the factory. If you are not considering using H.E. Williams for your business, you need to re-think that position. You will be happy that you made that decision.
John Hodkin, Jr., Bell & McCoy Lighting and Controls
I was thinking about HEW's 100-year anniversary. That is a truly amazing feat to span 100 years in so many challenging ways. They have seen the Great Depression and more recently the Great Recession, not to mention countless other economic headwinds. They have produced items for World War II and supported the war effort. It is a huge feat to make it into the 3rd generation of ownership. H.E. Williams does make a visible difference with their lighting fixtures. I have been in several businesses in the area, where what is considered retro now were the original Williams fixture. These fixtures are 80-100 years old and still operational. It is a testament to the quality that H.E. Williams puts into their product.
I have had the privilege of being an H.E. Williams employee and a supplier. The improvements the company has made in the past 20 years to remodel and improve the facility to what it is today have transformed it to a modern manufacturer. Mark Williams had challenged me to do something different with assembly when I was there. He did not accept the status quo. Just because it has been that way for the past 50 years does not mean it is the best way. He really took that to heart when he remodeled. It is a beautiful facility both on the manufacturing side and the offices. The improvements have fostered an environment of excellence and have facilitated a spirit of teamwork and innovation.
I also appreciate the heart of the team members that work for HEW. They have supported and blessed our team many times by adopting different families at Christmas time. They not only allowed them to have a Christmas they also provided a Christmas meal for them. Williams has also employed our team to provide offline jobs to support them in many areas. This was an enormous benefit to Innovative Industries when we were needing work to keep us afloat. I cannot tell you how much their support meant. It allowed us to survive as a company. We have been in business now for 52 years. The team at H.E. Williams has gone above and beyond to work with our developmentally disabled crew. They recognized that their ability is greater than their disability and provided meaningful, productive work for our group was a win for both organizations.
Congratulations on being in business for 100 years!!! I hope the next 100 years are as profitable and exciting as the past 100 years. Thanks for all you do for your team and our community!
Jeff Jones, Innovative Industries
My first trip to the H.E. Williams factory took my breath away. I had never seen a fixture be pressed out of a roll of steel, painted and then have all of the components. I walked around with a huge grin on my face the entire time prompting Danny Lambeth to ask me what was so funny. I just smiled and said, "This is the coolest thing I've ever seen!"
Elizabeth Monts, The Schneider Company
I really enjoyed my first visit to H.E. Williams. The whole local and made right here are American History still thriving in this little town of Carthage, MO. The pride the employees carried with them as you toured the factory and showroom was definitely a great vibe! Proud to represent this line.
Kevin Brockman, Stevens Sales Co EST 1914.
To me, Williams is quality and innovation. While visiting the factory, everyone I met had a strong sense of pride!
Kevin Berg, Western LEC
H.E. Williams has quality products and people to back those products. Jim Fisher always steps up and delivers when needed. I visited the factory a few months back and it was a great experience to see how the products are manufactured with quality in mind. I will continue to specify H.E. Williams on all of my projects. Thank you for all you all do!
Nick Whitchurch, HP Engineering, Inc.
Congratulations on your 100th anniversary, Williams team! The support you provide to us agents is first class.
It was late August 2019, and I was scrambling to get ready for LIGHTSHOW WEST 2019 in September at the Los Angeles Convention Center. As our agency event coordinator, my stress level was through the roof. One of many tasks: Lutron had just rolled out an in-fixture sensor. The challenge was that there were no manufacturers with readily available in-fixture sensor luminaire samples to showcase at the tradeshow. It took one e-mail to Williams, and my search was over; I received a tracking number in just a few days. This is just one of the many examples of the level of support we receive as an agent.
Thank you for all that you do, Team Williams.
David Martin, Western Lighting & Energy Controls
It’s been my pleasure to have been doing business with 40 years of their 100.
Over that time, I have had many stories of the type of company H.E. Williams is. This is one of my favorites. Williams – being a very customer-oriented company – called on me to help get them the steel needed to get a hot order accomplished. On this occasion, they called the Tuesday before Thanksgiving for something they needed ASAP. I jammed the order through and shipped it the next day to arrive the Monday after Thanksgiving. For some reason the truck driver ended up showing up at the plant on Thanksgiving Day, then somehow got the number for Ron Snyder to get unloaded. Well, Ron went down to the plant on Thanksgiving Day and unloaded this man. PS: Ron was the president of the company at the time. That Monday morning, I got a call from Ron thanking me for getting the hot item to them but recommending not to deliver on a holiday again. This is just one example of the type of company H.E. Williams is and the kind of caring employees that work there. I have many more similar stories about many others that make Williams what they are today and have always been.
It’s been an honor and privilege to have the partnership of being part of their 100 years. Congratulations to the Williams family you’ve built one great company.
Brad Pagel, Esmark
Being a Partner with H.E. Williams instills a sense of pride. Pride in having a partner that is capable, reliable and trustworthy as well as the satisfaction of knowing that they are a true U.S.-based manufacturer. Congratulations on your first century of success and assuredly to the next as well.
Clint MacKeen, Apex Lighting Solutions
Always Solid! I haven't been around for 100 years but know Williams has been solid for 100 years!
John Melloy, The Lighting Project
Art Rice's (former shop foreman) famous line when Weldon Wells (former plant superintendent) wanted a job finished more quickly...."Well Weldon....people in hell want ice water too!"
And Ron Snyder's when he heard someone talking about how excited they were about it being Friday. "Yep...just one day closer to Monday!"
I've been retired for over 3 years now and still say "we" when I talk about something going on there. HEW is way too much a part of me to ever leave completely. When I started, folks told me not to stay too long or I'd get white paint in my blood and never be able to go away. Turned out to be a very true statement!
Mark Duncan, Retired, H.E. Williams, Inc.
The management and the employees of Stanion Wholesale Electric Co. would like to congratulate H.E. Williams for their 100 years in business. Your great products and wonderful service make you an outstanding partner for the supply of lighting products. Wishing you all the best for another 100 years.
Michael Romme, Stanion Wholesale Electric Co.
When I used to work at Bell and McCoy in San Antonio Texas before I was at ERW, I fought to rep Williams for years before we officially became their rep. The first day we acquired the line, I flipped a 300K order from another manufacturer to Williams because the pricing was just so good. And throughout the years, that's what I've come to expect and love about Williams. Always incredible service at an extremely competitive price. Thrilled to still rep you after moving all the way out to Washington.
Chase Martin, ERW Lighting and Controls
100 years is quite an accomplishment. Having witnessed more than one-third of, it's amazing to think back on the changes in both technology and in the way we've done things over that time. I remember playing frisbee the night we finally paved the parking lot.
Dean Vandergriff, H.E. Williams, Inc.
Williams is synonymous with traditions, quality products and genuine people who want to do good in our industry.
Eric Fournier, Avi-on
Everyone I have worked with at Williams has been approachable and helpful. I have felt like part of the family over the years. Working with Lora, Debbie, Missy, Patrick, Dean, Eric and others has been a positive experience. I know that I can pick up the phone for help and the employees at Williams care.
I remember the fluorescent Blade fixture and how popular it was in our market. I also remember when the Infinity downlight brand was launched.
We have had the privilege of representing Williams for at least a quarter of the last 100 years. Now on to the next 100!
Karina Newell, ERW Lighting and Controls
H.E. Williams is a true American manufacturer that puts service and innovation first. I love working with them.
JP Bedell, SDA Lighting
Congratulations! H.E. Williams has been a long-time customer of ours that has remained steadfast through the ups and downs of the Lighting business long before our 41 years in the business. It is always a pleasure to work with these folks and we look forward to the next 100 years to come!
Michael Lenherr, Pendant Systems
Having known Mark Williams and his dad John Williams personally, it has been an honor to be a supplier to H.E. Williams for over 30 years. HEW has grown into an outstanding company, that represents the highest quality of product and service. Their staff is always friendly, fair, and professional. This is a great American company with an amazing family legacy.
Bob Heiniger, Covert Electric Supply, Inc.
Congratulations on your 100th Anniversary! What a testament to your business and your people! Not to mention how much H.E. Williams has meant to the families of your employees and the whole community in Carthage.
Records on how long Arrow Box Company of Joplin has been a supplier to H.E. Williams go back a long way. Back further than our electronic records, over 40 of those 100 years, to the days of handwritten orders and invoices.
With a long history of doing business, it is difficult to avoid the cliches that describe business relationships. In this case, the cliches are accurate. H.E. Williams has been a good business partner, a good fit, and we have made a lot of good friends over the years.
As H.E. Williams has grown, Arrow Box has grown as well. At every step of the way, you have always been a very important customer to us. Those that we have day-to-day contact with have always been professional, thorough, courteous, and easy to do business with. That means a lot and we look forward to continuing to work together for years to come.
On a personal note - When I was first starting out as a young adult in Carthage, John Williams and his wife would walk their dog in front of a house that I was desperately trying to get remodeled before I got married. Most evenings he would stop in the yard and ask how the work was going and how much was left to do. Toward the end of the remodel, they both came inside to see what we had done. They were very nice, asked questions and gave compliments. I thought at the time, for someone who was such a pillar of our small community, they were very down-to-earth and neighborly.
Mark Hoskins, Arrow Box
H.E. Williams is so easy and pleasant to work with. Everyone is very friendly and helpful. Thank you for all you do.
Teresa Deetman, Western Lighting and Energy Controls
When we first were given the opportunity to represent H.E. Williams, I didn't know much about them other than what I heard from our customers and clients. They spoke to how professional they were and how great the product was. After my first visit to Carthage, I was simply blown away by what I saw. Their attention to detail and the performance and construction of their products was something I was not used to. Every employee of H.E. Williams has so much passion behind what they do and it simply shines over their competition. After nine years of representing them, some people have come and gone from Williams, but the passion and professionalism still are strong each and every day. It is an honor to represent such a great organization!
Sean Donnelly, Team Lighting Charlotte
I remember the first few years working here, there were big floor fans, box fans, pedestal fans, even fans mounted on the I-beams. Even when all the fans blowing in all directions, when standing there running a machine, sweat was running down your back. It has been a true blessing to have A/C throughout the building. No more sweat running down your back.
Walter Biss, H.E. Williams, Inc.
Congratulations on the major 100-year milestone. We are proud to have you as a partner and hope for another 100 years of success!
Melissa Deutsch Stein, SDA Lighting & Controls
Congratulations on 100 years of being in business. It is understandable based on the quality of product produced and associated customer service provided.
While I have been specifying lighting products for over 55 years, I have been fortunate to have met all 3 generations of this company and understand their success. I wish them success for the next 100 years.
My first trip to the factory was in 1969, and I have watched the company grow with new technologies and adding downlighting (Infinity which was located in the caves), parabolics, exterior lighting, induction, LED and ever-changing lighting sources, expanding painting, ovens, air-conditioned factory and nationwide distribution, understanding the shipping and contractor problems in the field, prepainted metal products, to damage to shipment to providing their own trucking system. As an Owners representative (Design Engineer) I have found Williams products to be at the top of the list when reviewed with other manufacturers. The company was also one of the first to provide IES files for engineers to do lighting calculations. They have done custom fixtures for lighting designers and engineers, one of the first to install acoustic material on side of fixtures.
The company also has had the best support employees over the years, which made the company that much stronger. Customer service and engineers were there if any problems would occur, they would be worked out. Through the contacts made at the factory, some of these employees have become good friends over the years. With the ever-changing shutdown going on today, it is harder to compare products based on listed information from websites, Williams still provides sample fixtures for comparing product, and fixtures are made in the USA.
History: On a trip back to the factory, we arrived on Sunday afternoon only to find John Williams mowing the grass at the front yard of the factory, He stopped what he was doing and greeted us and thanked us for coming to see his lighting fixture company.
Gary Stefan, Integrated Consulting Engineers
After 22 years, I feel we really are a family. I've seen my co-worker’s children grow up, move away and become parents of their own. The laughs and tears we have shared are priceless!
Lora Wacker, H.E. Williams, Inc.
Customer Service - The Best.
Website - Incomparable.
Fixture Quality - Amazing.
Finishing a project on time with full support from H.E. Williams... Priceless.
Megan Buganski, The Lighting Project
I started my career in this industry in the Lawrence, KS branch of Stanion Wholesale Electric Co. in 1978. When I moved into the position of doing quotations, I spent quite a bit of time quoting projects, which always included lighting. I was in frequent contact with people from the Mercer-Zimmerman agency, which represented H.E. Williams lighting products. They came to our branch quite often to provide product training and help us in whatever way that they could. The thing that I remember the most about H.E. Williams products from my time doing quotations and from the training that they provided to us is the emphasis that they put on the quality of their products. They knew that they would not have the lowest priced products, but they emphasized the value of the quality of what they manufactured. That high level of product quality continues to this day.
Bill Keller, Stanion Wholesale Electric Co.
I have worked at H.E. Williams for many years and have quite a few great memories. My best memory is Christmas of 1980. Mr. H. Williams catered dinner for all of us. He had the lines covered with table cloths. He brought in the high school choir and a piano that my friend Mary Rose played. We all sang songs and were like family. I'm very grateful to the Williams family for my job that helped me provide for my family and also for their kindness through the years.
Kenna Agan, H.E. Williams, Inc.
Our first large school project we landed with H.E. Williams in East Tennessee (around 2010), I received a call from Danny Lambeth (VP Sales at the time for HEW). Danny said, "Man, nice order! With an order like that, we'll send our own trucks and let you know when they'll be there." I thought, "Oh, ok...we'll see" and then I didn't think much more about the conversation after that. Three weeks later Danny calls me on my cell phone and says, "Be at the job site tomorrow morning. We're delivering." Sure enough, 7AM the next morning I'm on the job site with the electrical contractor and two tractor-trailers pull into the mountains of East Tennessee loaded up full with fixtures. I'll never forget the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains, the fog behind the trucks and the contractor's reaction. I just said to the contractor, "I told you." It was the first example for me of the personal touch that Williams has long built their business on, going the extra mile, often times when they didn't have to in order to ensure a project goes smoothly for the contractor, specifier and end-user.
John Douglas Palk, SESCO Lighting
Over the years I have had the pleasure of visiting many manufacturer’s facilities. I can say the visit to Williams provided a true sense of what the company is all about. From eating lunch at The Woodshed & the community in Carthage, which it is an integral part of, to the close-knit family-like atmosphere throughout the facility. Seeing Mark Williams, the head of the organization, shooting the breeze with the people on the shop floor just doesn't happen everywhere. Even though we have just gotten to know each other, it is pretty apparent you have something special! How refreshing to see a company that recognizes its past, without being stuck in it. Happy Birthday Williams! Here is to the next 100!
Scott Hill, Visual Interest
H.E. Williams helped me put my right foot forward by helping me get "my foot in the door" at my new accounts in a new market!
Katie Kennedy, SESCO Lighting
H.E. Williams sets the standard for quality and customer service. It's been a pleasure to work with them all these years.
Christopher Loyd, Loyd's Electric Supply
During the best and worst times, Diversified has always been able to count on Williams to come through. Exactly what you count on from a trusted partner of over 30 years.
Lance Hollner, Diversified
Having represented H.E. Williams since 1981, Repco II has been fortunate to work with so many fine people that have graced the HEW halls. I joined Repco II in 1986 and my very first factory trip was to H.E. Williams. I remember being picked up in a red van with no running boards and a cooler in the back. Being 5ft tall, it was a challenge just to get in. Gene Fain, Gary Fagg & John Quade were our hosts for the visit, and what a crew that was. At that time John Williams hosted a reception at his home and I remember Mark Williams showing me the antique car collection his family had. What a great first impression.
In the 40 years we’ve represented them, it always amazed me how H.E. Williams consistently put out a great quality product and always had such great people working for them. I’ve been blessed to work with some of them over the years - Sherrie Frye, Jeanne Enderle, Missy Harris, Rhonda Price, Pam Johnson, Steve Downing, Chuck Edds, Danny Lambeth, Bill Gray, John Riggan – just to name a few. Great employees reflect great companies and H.E. Williams is one of the best. We are so happy to have been a part of it for the last 40 years.
It’s a great accomplishment to celebrate 100 years in business. Congratulations on this incredible milestone and much-continued success.
Angel Casciato, Repco II
When I first started here many years ago, we received a turkey call over the intercom on the last day of work before the Thanksgiving holiday. It was loud and bold and expected every year. No one knew who was doing this year after year until one year we lost one of our own and we never received another turkey call again.
Carla Hutchins, H.E. Williams, Inc.
The ability to get good solid USA-made products has been a key to many projects over my +25 year career. H.E. Williams has been my go-to brand the whole time due to the quality and the people there.
Tristan V Baranov, Alaska Pro-Sell Agents
Well, I would like to say thanks for the opportunity to have worked for the Williams Company for 48+ years. I've seen many changes and worked for three generations of Williams and I've met lots of great people, all of them who feel like family. I've been blessed. Again thanks.
Robert Cowan, H.E. Williams, Inc.
Just about 14 years ago I first visited H.E. Williams, it was the second lighting company I had the opportunity to visit. Being new to the lighting industry I was amazed at how awesome the factory was. It really was awesome to see product being made from start to finish. The other thing that struck me was the amazing people. Everyone that I have ever met at Williams feels like someone that you have known your entire life, and they make you feel like you are part of the family. For me being a Marine Corps Veteran I feel an immense amount of pride when I am able to sell Williams, and I know our customers feel the same way. Looking forward to the next 100!!
James Reifsnyder, Western Lighting & Energy Controls
“WE ARE SIMPLY EASIER TO DO BUSINESS WITH.” This statement was taken straight from the H.E. Williams website. Such a true statement and one that makes doing business with everyone at H.E. Williams such a pleasure. An American Company with 100 Years and 3 generations is quite an accomplishment to be proud of. It is a pleasure to be doing business with such an honorable and “easy” company for all these years.
Congratulations and all of us here at Esquire Wire wish H.E. Williams 100 more years.
Esquire Wire, Inc.
We are happy to represent a family-owned company that still makes products here in America. They stand behind their products. It is very nice to be able to pick up the phone and talk with a real person. I dearly hope they continue with this for the next 100 years
Tom Craver, Northern Rockies Agency
The H.E. Williams Showcoach recently rolled through Colorado for a week of product display and fun! Visual Interest and all of our clients really enjoyed the unique experience of checking out installed product and chatting with Eric and Bryan.
Bryan Klammer, Visual Interest
All of us here in Alaska appreciate and admire you for staying in the USA all these years. Cheers to another 100!
Jan Brunz, Alaska Pro-Sell Agents
I remember when the rest of the industry was racing overseas and Mexico and Williams was working hard to stay competitive. I toured the plant and saw a brand-new press in the back that was lowering the cost of lensed troffers so we could compete without going overseas! Mark Williams invested millions to be competitive instead of just outsourcing. I tell that story to customers all the time to explain why Williams is better.
Bob Martin, Myriad
I would like to thank H.E. Williams for their support over the years. They have been my primary lighting distributor and have been able to get products delivered to us to make our jobs successful.
Lewis Cable, C & C Electrical Service, Inc.
100 years... Looking at my career with HEW, it is hard to believe I have been here for almost a quarter of that 100 years. *Insert bone-cracking, popping & snapping here*
There are so many memories in my short tenure here at HEW. I remember the first time I stepped foot into the building, everything was so massive and moving at a blinding fast pace, I was overwhelmed and awestruck with it all. And then, like our universe, It expanded in a brilliant flash. Warehousing was added. Realignment of the factory and production processes was implemented. Things just got bigger and faster (and for some wild reason, they decided to keep a rag-tag bunch of cave dwellers, myself included, and throw that into the mix)!
Fast forward a few years and I found myself heading to Colorado for training and what would be my introduction into a completely different aspect of the lighting industry. Lighting design and technical support. Coming from the shipping dock where profanity is the commonly used language, I was now in a position to talk photometry, luminaires, & foot-candles. Yes, you can probably picture it without me describing it. But here it is anyway. I truly was the deer in the headlights. Or the ant under the high-bays (this one fits better :))
So, here we are, 24(ish) years later and you'll find me leading customers, agents and visitors on tours to show off this awesome facility, its equipment and capabilities. And most importantly, its incredible workforce. This facility and everything under the roof is really one of a kind. However, it is the family, the workforce, that I hold nearest. I am so privileged to have met so many friends, coworkers and professionals over the years here at H.E. Williams.
I will end this with a little quip that I blurted out one morning when someone asked me where I was going. Without skipping a beat, I turned and looked directly at the gentleman, and I said: "I'm going to make the world a brighter place." The room erupted in laughter, most of them knew where I worked and what I do for a living. But all joking aside, that is what we do. And H.E. Williams and its workforce is damn good at it.
Cheers to 100!
Travis Howell, H.E. Williams, Inc.
éclairage HITECH is extremely proud of our long-standing partnership with H.E. Williams. Happy 100th anniversary. Wishing you all many more years of success.
Philippe Goyet, éclairage HITECH
I love the interactions I have had with everyone at Williams from the receptionist Kailey who calls me by name whenever I call; to Patrick and Debbie who now field my calls when the customers ask for the impossible. Kaylee and Taylor previously in customer service who helped with the demands of Park Hyatt Aviara. To the fun time with Michelle Peak doing the 5X5 videos and the podcast. Enjoyed the time Eric W. spent with us on the West Coast and all he has done to help us. Happy to work with Williams.
Joseph Lagor, Western Lighting & Energy Controls