Chair & CEO, Ideal Electric Supply Corporation
Cora Williams built IDEAL ELECTRICAL SUPPLY CORPORATION and its predecessor (Ideal Electronic Security Company) from scratch, going from a credit-card financed start-up to today’s high-growth business providing custom distribution services to utilities, governments, contractors and others.
Cora Williams was safely ensconced in the federal government as a special assistant to an Assistant Secretary at HUD. But Williams, who comes from a long line of mom-and-pop entrepreneurs, had an itch to go out on her own. She began moonlighting in 1982, selling do-it-yourself home-security systems nights and weekends. Two years later she left HUD, withdrew her federal retirement, withdrew her savings, and went into business. When banks wouldn’t lend her money, she used credit cards.
Today, Williams and Ken Rogers, her husband/partner own and operate a full services wholesale electrical distribution company and employee 30 full time employees. IDEAL ELECTRICAL SUPPLY CORPORATION (T/A IDEAL ELECTRIC) is located at 2230 Adams Place, NE, Washington, DC and has a satellite office in Baltimore. Ideal Electric has 25,000 square feet of warehouse space where many of the products it sells and distributes are inventoried.
Ideal Electric’s success has come by finding and servicing niche customers who need special attention and handling. In addition, to be a one-stop shop for most of our customers, we have also become our customer’s problem solver for many supply chain issues.
Ideal Electric is very much involved in the community. For the last 18 years, we have sponsored a golf outing where all of the preparation is done in-house and all of the proceeds are awarded in scholarships to need inner-city graduation high school seniors. To date, $170,000 in scholarships have been awarded to 40 students. Williams and Rogers say, “It’s our way of giving back.”
Williams still finds time to be active in several industry related associations. To list a few: Supplier Advisory Committee-Utility Purchasing Managers Group (UPMG), Board Member-MD/DC Minority Supplier Development Council and past board member-National Association of Electrical Distributors and DC Chamber of Commerce. She also finds time to mentor start-up businesses when called upon.