Page 10 - Scene Magazine 42-07 July 2017
P. 10

Did You Know?
Did you know Andy Sims is an Eagle Scout? I’m getting ahead in this story, so let’s go backwards a bit. Andy Sims owns Sims Electric driving the yellow
trucks, not to get it confused with the other Sims Heating & Cooling with the black trucks. It’s all in the family but a different limb of the family tree. Andy started working for his Dad when he was in junior high and high school after be- coming a Licensed Journeyman (a four year apprenticeship) but left the business to attend college to get a marketing de- gree at Central Michigan University (Fire Up Chips!). He met his wife Pam while there and together they moved to the De- troit area and Andy worked for Whirl- pool. When his Grandfather retired, the business was split between two brothers, Andy’s father and uncle. At the same time
Andy Sims
Andy and Pam had their first of three daughters and de- cided they wanted their “ plant- ed here...” in Bat- tle Creek instead of moving around with the large cor-
poration (Whirlpool). Andy went to work with his Dad and became a Master Electrician (two additional years as an apprentice) while Pam went to work as a Speech Pathologist with the Calhoun Intermediate School District. Together they had three daughters, Angie, Ashley, and Heather who attended Harper Creek Schools.
During this time Andy’s Dad retired so Andy took over the business and grew the business. “At one time in the 90’s we were up to 28 employees,” Andy says, “and then came 2008 and we took a dras- tic cut in the number of employees.” One of the reasons Andy enjoys working in a
small business versus a corporation is the fact he knows all his employees. “In our business family comes first,” Andy says with conviction. “If someone needs time to take a child to the doctor, that’s fine.”
Running a small business has its chal- lenges, but its advantages as well. “We have a lot of long term customers,” Andy says. “And now we are working for the second generation.” He likes working where he can get to know his customers versus working for a large corporation where his contact was a large store. “It’s a totally different mindset,” he says. “It was a culture shock to move back to the small town compared to the large city. My Dad never held me back and with his support we grew the business here in Battle Creek.” A challenge Andy and any of the trade businesses face today is the lack of people who want to be employed in the trades. “If you come to me without experience you need to work four years as an apprentice to earn a Journeyman’s card. But instead of you paying me to learn the skill I pay you while you earn your license,” Andy explains. While his daughters were in school Andy was ac- tive with the Harper Creek Schools and attempted to explain the idea of provid- ing skilled trade opportunities before leaving high school. “Everyone thought kids needed to get a college degree first so now we are experiencing the effect of that which is a lack of people in skilled trades,” he says. “You know, not every- one is ready for college.”
In addition to running a business Andy has also been active with the Emmett Township Planning Commission. “My Grandpa always told us we needed to give back. He and my Dad served on the Planning Commission,” Andy says. He and his wife love to travel and incorpo- rate his passion for history. “Where ever we go I try to involve something about the history of the place. I really like to learn about how people started and grew their businesses like the stories of Ford or Kellogg’s,” he says with a big smile. I’m thinking his marketing degree from CMU might have led him to promoting Green- field Village if electricity hadn’t been in Andy’s family tree.
If you have an idea about getting more youth in the trades Andy would enjoy talking to you... just call him at 963-7910.

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