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Carmen Fosick
34 years old
Vice President and Owner
Elmstar Electric Corporation

Elmstar Electric Corporation is an electrical contracting company in Northeast Wisconsin (USA) which specializes in electrical contracting for the Industrial, Commercial, Institutional, and Municipal Industries. The company was founded in 1979 by Carmen's father Gus Fosick.

Bringing New Leadership to the Family Business
"I started in the business in 1990 when I was still in high school. I was the Safety Coordinator. I didn't like making phone calls to wives after someone got injured."

"When I was in college my father told me to be sure to take business classes. He invited me to join the business in 1997 as General Manager as a way to groom me. I knew everyone and they knew me."

"We had no formal policies and practices regarding things like vacation time. Every decision took so much effort because there were no policies in place, and it left employees feeling resentful. But when I started to try to improve things, there was retaliation. I was 22 years old and some of the employees were in their 50's. As long as I was fair and honest, I could see who was loyal to the company and to the family. That's a rule I can live by."

"My father had built a superb company. The employees and customers love the company because of what he did. With the decline of the economy in 2001, I was ready to know what changes to make. If I had not made those changes, I don't know if we would still be around."

"We had many projects with the State of Wisconsin, but after September 11th, 2001 there were no more large state projects. We had all of our eggs in one basket. It had been our niche for more than 20 years. My father felt that the economy would come back, and he did not want to layoff electricians. I eventually felt that after three years of losses we had to change things in order to sustain the business. I found software to be more efficient and cut our office staff in half. It was an extremely difficult decision. I restructured the shop, estimating and accounting. I took over a Division and grew the business in that Division larger than it had ever been."

Carmen's younger brother Ron is a co-owner and works in the business focusing on business process development. An older brother no longer works in the business. Carmen's father Gus holds the title of President but is no longer active in the business.

Ms. Fosick was nominated for the "10 Under 40" Award by Janice Stark

Family Business Wiki Town Square Profile: Carmen Fosick

Categories: 10 Under 40 Award