Celebrating 40 Years with Lori Verhagen

Earlier this year, Lori celebrated 40 years with Electroline and EDCi! We are so thankful for the role she has played in helping create the company we are today. Join us as we look back and reflect on the last 40 years with Lori.

What was it like when you first at Electroline started vs. today? What roles have you held?
I’ve always found myself in various customer service and administrative roles throughout my career journey: receptionist, handling payables, receivables, collections, inventory, EDCi purchasing, HR assistance, and more recently, in 2021, managing Electroline purchasing, wire sales, and Vertiv support contracts.

When I joined Electroline, our team consisted of just five members – Eugene Higgins, Glenn Higgins, Peter, and a part-time warehouse worker. With such a small crew, I wore many hats over the years. My primary responsibility involved generating paperwork on 3-part carbonless forms, purchase orders, and invoices to our customers. All payables were handled via typed checks, and we personally drove our deposits to the bank. I still remember the thrill of using Glenn’s bag phone to call my mother while waiting in the drive-through line one day.

I often found myself pitching in to handle inventory management, including receiving and shipping goods and maintaining inventory records in a card file. As you might have guessed, all this was done the old-fashioned way, with a typewriter and paper, since computers weren’t part of the office landscape 40 years ago.

I remember one amusing incident when one of our customers, Larry W., aware that I was the new gal in the office, jokingly gave me a bogus part number he needed ASAP. Glenn couldn’t help but laugh after reading it from the paper memo, “While you were out”.

Why Electroline? What do you enjoy most about your job?
Our managers have open doors. Right from the beginning we were friends that turned into family, watching each other’s children grow. One day you might be in tears over work while the next is Glenn offering us many parenting tips.
When fellow employees brought their newborns in, Glenn would carry them around like his pride and joy. Another fond memory is the many parties held at the office and we mustn’t forget Frosty Fridays from Wendy’s and company charity walks. Since then, the parties have continued and so has the passion to support local charities.

What has been your Favorite Memory?
Back in the day, while Glenn left to visit a customer, we kids decided to play… which resulted in fireworks landing in the back seat of my new car. Long story short, two employees paid out $600 to repair my car!

Do you have any Life Lessons or Advice?
Wise words from Glenn that I carry yet to this day, “treat fellow employees as if they too are your customers.”

What are your Favorite Activities Outside of Work?
My family often retreats to our cottage in Three Lakes, WI, where despite the name, there are 28 lakes accessible via boat, including the Eagle River Chain of Lakes. Camping with my family has also been a cherished pastime. I also enjoy acquiring vintage items and relish reminiscing on the past and adding my latest findings to my “She Shed” and yard.
Fostering dogs satisfies my occasional urge for a pet, having cared for 6 pups over the past 3 years, as my parakeets just don’t fill the void. In the quieter moments, I enjoy water coloring, and rock painting, along with puzzles, Hallmark Channel movies, and karaoke. Lately, I’ve found interest in various other crafts, a reminder that hobbies evolve over time. Keep in mind that this could be you someday!

Reflecting on the Past 40 Years
Reflecting on the past 40 years, I must admit that I’m not a fan of change. While I embraced my first office computer and its software, the advancements left me less enthused, likely due to my fear of failure. But look at me now, 40 years later and I’m living the dream.

Our managers have always kept their doors open, fostering a family-first culture from the beginning. We’ve grown from colleagues to friends and as time has passed, the camaraderie and dedication to supporting our community has continued. It’s a reminder that even as things change, so much remains the same.