This year marks the 30th anniversary of Lemman family ownership at North Coast Electric Co., Bellevue, Wash. It also marks North Coast's 91st year in business.

Founded in 1913 by Harry Byrne, North Coast built a reputation for quality products and services, but by the 1970s it struggled to keep up with modern business practices.

In 1974, Bob Lemman, who was then president and chief executive officer of Consolidated Electrical Distributors (CED), bought North Coast Electric. At the time, North Coast logged annual revenues of $5 million with locations in Seattle and Portland, Ore.

“They were still doing things the same way they did in the 1920s,” said Bob Lemman. Since the purchase, Lemman and the folks at North Coast have worked hard to replace its once “stodgy” persona.

And, North Coast Electric has become a Lemman family affair. In 1992, Bob Lemman appointed his sons Peter Lemman and Dean Lemman as president and executive vice president, respectively.

John Carver, Bob Lemman's son-in-law, guides the Puget Sound Group and the new lighting division. Bob Lemman continues to work and serve as chairman.

Under the Lemman family's leadership, North Coast has grown to 27 locations across the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Arizona with reported revenues of more than $200 million in 2003.

“With vision, foresight, hard work and a certain amount of risk, we have built North Coast Electric into one of the most successful and admired independent electrical distributors in the country,” said Pete Lemman.

With a strong focus on technology, North Coast continues to expand with their Automation Group, Tool Division, Supply Solutions Group, Commercial Market Division and the recent acquisition of Alexanders' Contractor Lighting, Seattle.

“It's not just taking orders for conduit and wire anymore,” said Bob Lemman.

North Coast Electric is consistently ranked among the top 25 electrical distributors by EW and the top 100 privately held companies in the Puget Sound by the Puget Sound Business Journal.

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