By Nicole Davis
Greg Schaub, co-owner of E.M. Company, Inc., says he was taught early on that, “you’re only as good as the people that surround you.” He said he has a great team surrounding him and the proof is in longevity.
E.M. Company celebrated its 50th business anniversary Feb. 24 with an employee luncheon. Owners Greg and Peggy Schaub were joined by their family, work family and other guests to kick off what is planned to be a yearlong celebration. Southport Mayor Russell McClure read a proclamation congratulating E.M. Company on its anniversary, while Greg and Peggy’s sons, Patrick and Paul, read a proclamation sent from Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett declaring Feb. 24 as E.M. Company Day.
“It was a special day for us,” Greg said. “It was a chance for all of the people currently working for us plus the ones that were with us from early on to realize that we’re a part of something special. It was a humbling experience. By the grace of God, we can still put our E.M. Company key in the door and the fact that we’ve been able to do it so long, we don’t take that lightly.”
Three men started E.M. Company in 1969: Rocky Rockwell, Wayne Loy and Jim Carvin. They purchased the old Southport State Bank, where the business still exists today, and renovated it. The business offers commercial electrical, mechanical, refrigeration, food service equipment, plumbing services and more.
Greg came to the company in 1973.
“I showed up in black wingtips, black dress slacks and a red and black plaid dress shirt to work for a construction company,” he said. “Let’s just say, the next day was different. I started by sweeping the floors, sweeping the gutter out front and cleaning the restrooms. I still do that today,” he said.
Greg intended for it to be a summer job, but after a year of college with the goal to become a priest didn’t pan out, he returned to E.M. Company and asked Rockwell to teach him the electrical side of the business. He took every opportunity he could to learn and work his way up.
“The only thing I knew was what a straight screwdriver was and a Phillips screwdriver,” he said. “The rest, I learned over the last 45 years. I was taught how to do the trade. I had a good work ethic from my grandfather and father, but my mentor taught me this is how you do it, this is how you act, this is how you go about the business that we’re in. Every aspect of this company, I have done. It’s important to me and I take pride in how I started. I’m still the best broom pusher there is. I think that’s critical for anybody. Start anywhere and work your way up, but never forget your beginnings.”
In 1983, he began to run the daily operations for his mentor, Rockwell, after he retired. In 1985, Greg and Peggy purchased E.M. Company. Since then, they’ve focused on growing the business while maintaining the work/family culture that was important to the Schaubs’ predecessors.
“We always had a different culture here,” Greg said. “My mentor treated me like a son. I loved the E.M. Company work family culture. At one time, I had 11 of my family members in the business. Right now, we have nine. We have two husband/wife teams and brother teams. We truly are a work family.”
E.M. Company currently has 55 employees with a combined total of 592 years work of E.M. Company experience.
“That’s something we’re really proud of,” Greg said. “We have a lot of really good people and it’s critical for us to retain our work family. They know our culture, they know how we take care of our customers and they do it on a daily basis. Our people, I truly believe, don’t work for a paycheck. They work for a company and they work to give good service to our customers. I believe that’s what makes our folks different. They truly care.”
That consistency is something E.M. Company’s customers also appreciate. Jeff Townsend said his company, Townsend Business Forms, has done business with E.M. Company since 1975.
“We bought an old building at 1234 N. Pennsylvania St.,” he said. “It was pretty dilapidated and had a lot to do to get it up to snuff. Greg was the guy involved in that. He was real instrumental in getting it up and started.”
Consistency in service
Through the years, E.M. Company has worked with the Townsend family on numerous projects.
“One of the things I like about them, the service industry as a whole, there is so much change in the people that you deal with,” Townsend said. “With E.M. Company, we’ve had the same team of technicians for 40 years.”
Townsend attended the Feb. 24 celebration and said he wanted to thank the company “for all of the wonderful service they’ve done for us. I sure wish them well over the next 50 years. They’re great people and nobody deserves the success more than they do.”
The 50-year celebration will continue March 30, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., with a community blood drive. Giving back is another part of the E.M. Company culture, and something it is incorporating into the anniversary celebration. The business regularly sponsors little league teams, local school events, contributes to nonprofits and many of the city of Southport’s endeavors. Plans for events this year include a day at an Indians game, company picnics, Christmas dinner and even a community CPR class next January.
“We want to share this with every aspect of our work family, our customers and our community,” Greg said. “Fifty years of trying to do something as best you can, and believe me, we’re not perfect, is a big deal. We’re treating it as it’s a big deal.”