Kelly Generator & Equipment Inc.
Kelly Generator & Equipment Inc., one of the nation’s largest distributors of Generac Power Systems, was busy recently meeting some of the nation’s most urgent needs for electricity and power reliability in Texas and Florida after those states were devastated by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The eventful year also marks KG&E's 25th year in business. Overcoming the challenges of a quarter century of technological and economic upheaval has lifted KG&E from modest beginnings to being one of only 30 Generac major centralized industrial distribution centers in the U.S. and Canada. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years,” President and CEO John E. Kelly Jr. said. “The time has gone by so fast.”
Kelly first opened the enterprise in 1992 with a modest fleet of stand-alone Generac generators based in a small house that also was home to two other unrelated businesses founded by his brothers. KG&E grew steadily in those early years as Kelly and the crews honed their skills providing their best sales, service and support to customers at competitive prices. Kelly and his team didn’t realize it at first, but a powerful event in the company’s history was hurtling toward them on the calendar.
“Y2K was the big surprise,” Kelly said. Businesses, governments, programmers and ordinary people worried that because computers at the time identified 20th-century years by their last two digits only, many of them would crash irreparably because they wouldn’t know if the coming January 1st fell in 1900 or 2000. The fear was that markets, power grids, traffic lights and the economy would collapse as a result.
That didn’t happen, but what did happen at KG&E, Kelly recalls, “is that the fears of the collapse created so much demand for generators that we were able to grow our business enough to buy a large rental fleet.” The enterprise quickly stretched facilities to capacity and, in 2006, Kelly Generator broke ground on their current, expandable 28,000-square-foot location in Owings, MD. That site includes 3.5 acres of previously undeveloped land and is now an even bigger rental center. KG&E can now provide up to 9.5 megawatts to a common bus in addition to many smaller units.