Behind Every Great Man, There is a Great Woman
On November 27, 2013, the City Electrical Factors (our sister company in the UK) family lost its matriarch. Many of you know the Tom Mackie story, but as the saying goes “behind every great man, there is a great woman” – my grandfather was no exception. His great woman was Georgina Margaret Mackie (or “the Boss” as my grandfather would call her), born Nov. 3, 1922, in Leamington, Spa, Warwickshire.
At age 14, she ran away from an abusive household. Four years later my grandmother joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) during WWII. During her time in the WAAF she served as a radio operator in the Royal Corps of Signals where she met Tom Mackie.
My grandfather often said Georgina was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and no doubt from the stories there were many others who felt the same way, but in typical Tom Mackie fashion, he was determined and in 1944 married the woman of his dreams.
Georgina was not your typical woman. In 1951, my grandfather, Tom, married with three children at the time, wanted to risk it all and leave a comfortable job as a salesman at GEC in Birmingham, to buy an almost bankrupt wholesaler trading out of a horse stable in Coventry.
My grandmother not only supported him, she also put up 15 percent of the purchase price herself. This was an all-in bet, which left them just nine shillings and six pence (less than $2) in their bank account.
During the early years, Georgina made many sacrifices to allow her husband the time and money needed to grow the business; no vacation for the first eight years, aside from an annual day trip to the beach with a packed lunch. No household appliances made their daily chores easier and they had not even the money to buy the large loaf of bread at the baker.
Georgina, just like Tom, will be missed terribly, but their legacy will live on through their incredible achievements and the fantastic company they built together. To permanently honor the lesser-known founder of City Electrical Factors, we have renamed our head office in Kenilworth, Georgina Mackie House.
-President and CEO Thomas Hartland-Mackie