Roger Harris started his electrical business in 1960 out of his home in Arthur, Illinois. This consisted of mostly farmstead electrical wiring and some residential wiring. His wife Glenna assisted Roger by doing the book work. In 1961, Roger and Glenna moved to Atwood where they continued to operate the business out of their home. Roger worked by himself until 1965 when he hired his first employee, George Fombelle.
Roger purchased the building where he operates his business today from Paul T. Quick in 1969. Many changes have been made to the building. In 1970 Wanda Long was the first hired office employee. Roger, with the help of Lloyd Lowder, started Harris Industries, Inc. in 1977. Harris Industries, Inc. was established to provide a service within the grain industry to repair old wooden “manlifts”. He later expanded this service to include special purpose personnel elevators and belt manlifts.
In 2003, Harris Companies expanded their operation by forming Harris International Elevator, Inc. (formerly Viola Industries and International Elevator Co. Inc.) In March of 2005 Harris Industries, Inc. and Harris International Elevator, Inc. merged to form one company retaining the name Harris International Elevator, Inc.
In 2012, R. Harris Electric Inc. and Harris International Elevator Inc. formed one company, Harris Companies Inc. with two divisions; Elevator and Electric. Though the names have changed throughout the years, the ownership remains the same.
The sales and service department of Harris Companies Inc. Elevator division specializes in the sale, installation, repair, and safety surveys of special purpose personnel elevators, manual hand powered elevators, freight elevators, residential elevators and church elevators. This enables us to provide a “turn-key” installation from the planning, ordering, steel erection, electrical, testing and instruction of personnel as to the proper use and maintenance of the equipment.
Scott Harris (Roger’s son) manages the Elevator Division. Jeff Wright, Ted Gandy, Bill Erb, TJ McCutcheon, AJ Tyler, Graeme Stewart and Dustin Walker make up the other members of our service crews. They make an extra effort to make sure all special purpose personnel elevators, hand powered elevators and freight elevators are properly installed, repaired, and maintained to meet ASME A17.1 standards. Our crews travel worldwide. Scott Aubert, Ryan Aubert and Phillip Fiala manage fabrication, making sure the fab shop is running smoothly. Harris Companies Inc. Electric Division, remains committed to its agricultural roots, but we have expanded to become more specialized in our field.
Stan Harris (Roger’s son) manages the Electric Division. Todd Randolph,Curt Harshbarger, Josh Bates, Myron Gingerich and Eddy Pulliam are the electrical crew. Roger’s electrical work soon expanded to grain elevators. The crew has experience and has been trained to install and maintain explosion protection systems, hazardous monitoring, PLC hardware and updates, Generac generators, Kohler generators and temperature cable systems. These systems are installed in grain facilities, aerosol-filling companies, anywhere the occurrence of dangerous, destructive vapor and dust explosions are a possibility. The crew has worked throughout the United States. Roger in his association with grain facilities began to stock parts and service commercial grain dryers. During the fall Roger services customers throughout all of Illinois and central United States.
Alex Harris (Roger’s grandson) assists with proposals and parts. Sandy Fiala(Roger’s daughter) acts as secretary. Beth Harris(Scott’s daughter/Roger’s granddaughter) is controller. Rick Fiala (Roger’s son-in-law) manages shipping and receiving. Together, they maintain an efficient headquarters.
An operation of this size has several vehicles and various pieces of equipment that need maintained and kept clean. Ron Wallace keeps our fleet running smoothly. He inspects safety equipment, and tools and replaces those not meeting safety requirements.
Harris Companies Inc. celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2010. Roger takes pride in what you see today. What started out as a one-man electrical business operated out of a home, has expanded and continues to expand into a multifaceted business which takes him and his employees worldwide.