Elcon Service ownership passes among friends, coworkers

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Gib Suderman is the majority partner of Elcon Services, which he acquired from longtime owner and coworker Fred David in June.

In 1963, Fred David opened Elcon Services to meet a need in Hillsboro.

Forty-four years later, David sold his shares to his long-time partner Gib Suderman in June.

Most recently, Suderman sold shares to Jonah Gehring, an employee of Elcon Services, in September.

?If I sold my interest, I wanted to sell all of it,? David said. ?I didn?t want to sell a few shares of the stock. If I got out of it, I wanted to get out all the way. Gib had the first opportunity (to buy the stock).?

Since its beginnings, Elcon Services has provided electrical contracting to various individual, industrial and commercial projects around the area.

Before opening his business, David worked for a company in McPherson, but was continually asked to do side work for people in Hillsboro. The requests led him to open Elcon Services.

?There were so many people in Hillsboro asking me to do work for them,? David said. ?They really didn?t want to hire somebody from out of town.

?They didn?t want to hire the fellow I was working for, they wanted me to work on Saturdays and work in the evenings. I didn?t really care to do that, so I ended up starting my own business.?

David recalled that Irv Schroeder?s Motors, a relatively new business in Hillsboro at the time, gave him his first job.

?While I was doing that job, it was a used car lot, and was right across the street from the post office,? he said. ?And after a couple or three days working there, I had so much work lined up, I couldn?t handle it all. And that?s why I hired Gib.?

Suderman first came to work for David after returning from the Navy in 1963. When electrical work in Hillsboro slowed, Suderman left Elcon Services for awhile.

?He worked for me for a number of years, then he left me and went to work elsewhere for a number of years,? David said. ?I told him when he left, I said, ?anytime you want to come back, let me know.??

Suderman took David up on his offered and returned to Elcon Services in 1977, and at that time bought shares in the company.

Since 1977, the partners have continued to provide electrical services to Hillsboro and the surrounding area.

?We?ve worked over a pretty wide area,? David said.

?I gained friends over a large area,? he said. ?That?s a good part about it I think, that I gained so many friends through owning my own business and working for a lot of different people. There?s a lot of good people in Marion County.?

In addition to building friendships through his work, David also said he enjoyed the level of pride that came from owning a business and doing a good job.

?There?s nothing better than to complete a job people are happy with and say it?s a job well done,? he said. ?I would encourage young people that want to be in business for themselves, don?t ever lose that dream. Just drive for it, and you?ll eventually make it.?

Since selling his shares, David has been working on a local ranch, operated by his son.

?It?s always something I?ve always wanted to do,? he said of ranching. ?We get along really well and I love the ranching and I love farming, so that?s what I?m doing right now.?

As for Elcon Services, Suderman plans to continue business as usual.

?I?m most looking forward to basically continuing the service as we have in the past,? Suder?man said. ?When you?ve been in a town (for 44 years) we kind of like to keep the name up.?

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