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Taylor Electric Company celebrates 95 years as Black owned firm

Taylor Electric Company is celebrating its 95th anniversary in the construction business this year. Founded in 1922 by Sam Taylor, Taylor Electric performed light industrial and residential work on the south and west sides of Chicago. Sam Taylor’s philosophy, that a man’s word is his bond, and that only a company that performed quality work would survive—proved the test of time. Today Taylor Electric, one of the oldest African American owned and operated construction firms in Chicago, is a multi-million-dollar corporation performing work throughout the Chicagoland area.

In 1958 Sam’s son, Rufus Taylor, became active in the company, starting as an apprentice working in the field under his father’s mentorship and transitioned into managing the company in 1969. Sam’s daughter Jessie Dinkins joined the company to run the office, including accounting and payroll. Rufus continued to run the business until his death in 1995. In 1995 Rufus’ daughter Martha Taylor stepped up as President and CEO and Jessie’s son Kenneth Dinkins supervised and oversaw all field operations. In 2015, Sam Taylor’s great granddaughters Kendra Dinkins and Karen Michele Dinkins took over as President and Vice President respectively.

The company has always seen itself as one of the top electrical contractors in the Chicagoland area working in new construction and rehab. They attribute their success to providing consistent quality and excellent customer service. Although the company had to downsize its services during the recession, Taylor Electric has grown beyond its pre-recession capacities and is researching expansion options within the Midwest.

In 2011, Taylor Electric moved from the west side of Chicago to the south side. Taylor Electric joined the South Shore Chamber of Commerce and continues to look for opportunities to make an impact in their local neighborhood. They also have a long-standing history of servicing some very iconic Chicago customers, including providing electrical maintenance for both Soldier Field and Guaranteed Rate Field for over 25 years, as well as Northerly Island.

Taylor Electric Company’s success has been following the principles of the founder – quality work and integrity. Kendra and Michele are committed to honoring these principles and leading the company looking towards the 100th anniversary. “It is an honor and a privilege for the opportunity to uphold the legacy of Taylor Electric Company,” says Kendra. Michele agrees, “We have big shoes to fill but are up to the challenge.”

Taylor Electric Company has succeeded where many family-owned businesses have failed in transitioning to the next generation. Only 30 percent of businesses survive the transition from the first generation to the second, and less them half of those family-owned businesses or 12 percent will survive the transition to third generations. Taylor Electric says the key is not to make assumptions or push family members into positions out of obligation. They found that allowing family members to serve various temporary and permanent positions throughout their life span, exposing as many as we can to all aspects of the business is key. Through that exposure, we attract family members that can serve in ways they may not have ever imagined, and can be better groomed for growth in the business. Other markers for the company’s success are tied to providing long lasting employment and community advocacy.

Taylor Electric Company will formally celebrate their 95th anniversary on September 8, 2017 with a reception for employees, customers and of course, family.


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