20 Years at CES: Don Corbett Follows in Family’s Footsteps
Talent can run in a family, and City Electric Supply (CES) District Manager Don Corbett is a perfect example. He comes from a family of skilled electricians, and now he’s 20 years into a thriving career at CES.
After high school, he followed in the footsteps of his cousins and uncles and joined the industry as a contract electrician in South Florida. He spent 20 years in the field before switching to the other side of the counter.
“Contracting is hard,” Corbett laughed. ” In the field, you’re thinking about building inspectors, weather, the actual work you have to do. Suppliers have it a whole lot easier because you just have to get the material out there.”
How did Corbett make the switch from being an electrician in the field to a district manager in a branch? Turns out, he followed his family’s footsteps there, too.
“My mom, Pat Larsen, started with CES in 1991 when they first opened Port St Lucie,” explained Corbett. “She worked at the branch and then moved to the district office.”
The Big Move
The district manager met Corbett through his mother and was immediately interested in recruiting him. Eventually, Don accepted the offer after a hard day in the field. His very first assignment was to relocate to North Georgia and start a new branch.
“We moved up here sight unseen,” said Corbett. “They gave me keys and a truck and said, ‘Here’s the branch.’”
The move happened so quickly that before his family joined him at the new location, Corbett slept in the branch office and showered in a nearby YMCA.
But the sacrifice and hard work paid off. The branch became successful, and Don went on to open more branches in Toccoa and Greenville.
The Career Highlights of Don Corbett
Throughout his long career at CES, Don has seen many highlights, from trips to CES Headquarters in Dallas to meeting the late CES founder and former CEO Tom Mackie in South Florida.
“It was like 8:00 at night, and he showed up looking like he could outwork every one of us,” recalled Corbett. “He looked as dapper as can be, and I wondered how many miles he had in him that day. He was just a worker. It was always good to hear him talk about what he was going to do next to build and grow the company.”
Meeting Mackie was an important moment for Corbett, and he’s collected plenty of other meaningful memories since then. For example, Corbett has enjoyed watching and helping many others grow around him in his time at CES.
“I just would like to be known as someone who helps people have a better life for their family,” said Corbett. “Part of my job is to provide opportunities for young folks. I believe in the three-legged stool of success — talent, ambition, and opportunity. Talent and ambition are what people bring to the table, and opportunity is what CES provides.”
Corbett plans to continue this trend of providing opportunities — and he has other plans, too.
“I would like to open another branch or two,” Don laughed.
We can’t wait to see it happen.
Congratulations, Don, on 20 years in the CES family! We are so glad you’re here.