In the dynamic world of electrical distribution, Agilix Solutions stands tall as an innovative and dependable partner in the markets we serve. As we delve into the annals of history, we uncover the roots that have grown into this formidable entity. The Agilix story is an interwoven tale of two family-owned companies who experienced great advancements over their hundred-plus year histories before coming together in 2021 to form a regional distribution powerhouse across six states.
Today we shine the spotlight on the 100-year anniversary of the founding of French Gerleman. This momentous milestone marks a century of dedication, innovation, and progress. From its modest inception as French Electric, a humble motor repair shop in St. Louis, to its current standing as a leading player in electrical distribution and technology, French Gerleman’s journey exemplifies a commitment to growth and customer-centric excellence.
1923 – 1930s: Evolution Built on a Foundation of Expertise and Partnership
In 1923 French Electric, founded in 1914 by Albert O. French as a motor repair shop in St. Louis, acquired Electrical Machinery Company, giving birth to French Gerleman Electric Company Inc. Navigating through the turbulent waters of the Great Depression, the company capitalized on the demand for 25-cycle motors driven by the construction of the Panama Canal, showcasing strategic foresight. In 1935, a pivotal partnership was forged with Allen-Bradley Company, laying the groundwork for French Gerleman’s future successes.
1940s – 1950s: Steady Growth and New Leadership
The 1940s marked the achievement of surpassing $100,000 in sales. 1954 saw a pivotal leadership transition, with Charles C. French passing the torch to Albert E. French, who assumed the presidency, leading the company into a new era of expansion.
1960s – 1970s: Milestones and Innovation
The 1960s and 1970s witnessed remarkable achievements, including crossing the $1 million sales threshold in 1974 and embracing internal systems integration that complemented industrial automation. Innovation became a cornerstone of French Gerleman’s identity.
1980s – 1990s: Diversification and Expansion
The 1980s and 1990s saw diversification unfold with the formation of a construction division and new branches. Venturing into data communications and networking positioned French Gerleman as a comprehensive technology solutions provider and paved the way for the company to assume a leading role in industrial automation.
2000s – 2010s: Technological Advancement and Growth
Embracing technological advances and expanding into power transmission, French Gerleman solidified its market presence. The company demonstrated sustained growth and endurance in 2006, achieving annual sales surpassing $100 million for the first time.
2020s: A Vision for the Future
In 2021, French Gerleman merged with IAC Supply Solutions to form Agilix Solutions. This resulted in a strong, regional distributor serving more than 8,000 customers from 13 branches spread across six states. Marking a century of achievement, Agilix Solutions pays homage to its roots while embracing a future brimming with innovation and customer-focused excellence.
As Mike Stanfill, CEO of Agilix Solutions, aptly puts it, “French Gerleman built a long and successful history. This year marks an important milestone and opportunity for us to pause and recognize our past.”
“Successful fifth generation family companies are no longer commonplace,” continued Stanfill. “French Gerleman and IAC’s commitment to strong, independent distribution in our respective markets led to our merger. Both companies shared common values, a customer first philosophy, extensive local market knowledge, and financial stability. Together, as Agilix Solutions, we will continue to drive growth with respect for our past accomplishments.”
We are excited to celebrate this milestone with our customers, employees, and partners. We look forward to continuing to provide our customers with the products and services they need to succeed for the next 100 years and beyond.
“When IAC Supply Solutions initially discussed the merger with French Gerleman, we were looking for a like-minded business that shared common values and a rich history in distribution,” said Darrell Smith, President of Agilix Solutions. “I’m proud to join the entire Agilix team in recognizing French Gerleman’s 100-year legacy and look forward to building upon our collective momentum as we continue to write our new history and future as Agilix Solutions.”
As we celebrate this monumental anniversary, Agilix Solutions continues to be driven by the core values of adaptation, resilience, and innovation, positioning ourselves to continue to shape the distribution landscape for decades to come. To learn more about this remarkable history, visit www.goAgilix.com/history.