Leading his family’s company alongside his brother has brought Dixie Electric President John Yelverton personal fulfillment and professional success. Today, he’s committed to paying these positives forward: to his employees, Dixie’s clients and his hometown.
Are you from Montgomery? I was born in Montgomery in 1962 and other than spending four really good years in Tuscaloosa, I have lived here all my life. I love Montgomery.
How long have you worked for Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air? Full time, 36 years, but I started working summers when I was 15 years old as a Warehouse Assistant, which meant I was basically doing everything that no one else wanted to do.
How many employees does Dixie have in the River Region? About 100 in Montgomery and 60 in Auburn and Opelika.
What are the Dixie Electric’s primary services and who are its primary clients? We have an array of services including residential electrical, plumbing and air conditioning replacement and repair; commercial electrical service, commercial plumbing service, commercial electrical construction, industrial electrical and commercial overhead door and warehouse supply business (Dixie Warehouse Solutions).
What are the duties and responsibilities of your position as president? My brother Noble and I run this company together. He handles all the residential electrical, plumbing and air services. I’m in charge of the commercial services, construction department, industrial services and Dixie Warehouse Solutions.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? Definitely the people. We are about serving our clients and empowering and helping our employees. I want to make a difference in people’s lives. We want to help everyone who works with us be better, and by better, I mean better craftsman, better husbands, better wives, better parents, better friends, better partners, better people. We do a lot of personal growth and leadership training. We also have a large in-house technical training school. We feel that better people provide superior service to our clients and that will encourage clients to call us again and again.
How much has your job and your industry changed in the last decade? As with most industries, technology has changed almost everything. It has increased the pace of construction and increased our speed of serving the customer.
What is the main challenge facing your industry right now? Skilled labor
What is your impression of Montgomery’s current business climate? Good. Public education in Montgomery is holding us back in many ways. The Chamber, City, MPS and the County have built the right team to greatly improve our education system and results.
Why do you and Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air choose to be so involved with and supportive of the Chamber and its work? My grandfather believed in giving back and giving to the less fortunate. Montgomery is the reason for my success and Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air’s success. It seems natural to help Montgomery, and I believe the Chamber is a great way to do that.
What are your interests outside of work? My two daughters, my wife, tennis, working out, reading and hanging out at the lake.
What’s an accomplishment you are particularly proud of? My family, of course. Also, Dixie Electric Plumbing & Air’s revenues have grown by 40 times since Noble and I have been running the company. We were also awarded the Best Small Business in 2020 in the state by the Business Council of Alabama and Alabama Chamber of Commerce Association, and we were named the Most Ethical Company in the River Region in 2019.
Family Affair Dixie Electric was founded in 1908 by John’s great-grandfather, Peter Crump. He died while John’s grandfather, Noble Crump, was at Auburn studying electrical engineering. His grandfather came home to run the business, which he did for 60-plus years. John graduated from the University of Alabama in mechanical engineering in 1984 and came home to work with his grandfather, who retired a few years later. John talked his brother Noble into joining him in 1989, and the two have been at it ever since. “While we skipped the third generation in the business, we are proud to be the fourth generation,” John said.