Family-owned company goes to father & son duo after 78 years
After 78 years of providing electromechanical repair services to West Texas, Lubbock Electric Co. is in the hands of new ownership. On October 24, Steve and Patsy Moffett sold the business to Bill Moran and his son, Riley Moran. Steve Moffett will stay with the company as a senior executive. The continuation of the brand and its core offerings was most important to Moffett in this decision.
The original LECO (Lubbock Electric Co.) building is shown here in 1954.—Lubbock Electric photo
“I have spent nearly my entire career at Lubbock Electric. This company means so much to me and my family, so it was important to us to find a new owner who would keep the name, value our agricultural clientele, and keep as many jobs in Lubbock as possible,” Moffett says. “I rejected offers from larger acquirers who would move some business operations out of this market or replace the leadership team at the onset.”
The company was founded in 1944 by Steve Moffett’s father-in-law, Paul Vernon Bush at the age of 27. Paul Bush launched the business with a rented building, one service truck, and five employees, offering electric motor repair and field troubleshooting. The company quickly became a key ally to the cotton gin industry by providing 24/7 emergency service and adding products and service departments that catered to their needs. Steve Moffett joined the company in 1973 and became the majority owner in 2015.
“This was a good company before I came on board, and it continues to be a good company,” Moffett says. “Part of the legacy of Lubbock Electric is our involvement with EASA, the Electrical Apparatus Service Association. The relationships we’ve had there and the level of expertise that we gain by association has been unmatched. Paul Bush became one of its earliest members in 1948. It’s been an integral part of the business. In fact, I first met Bill Moran at an EASA Southwestern Chapter Convention in San Antonio.” Paul Bush served as the International Chairman of the entire association in 1979-1980, and Steve Moffett served as the Region 6 International Director 2013-2016, representing member businesses from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Louisiana, and Central and South America. Prior to acquiring Lubbock Electric Company, Bill Moran was a partner owner of another EASA-member company called B & M Machinery in El Paso, Texas. After leaving this partnership, Bill became interested in Lubbock Electric Company because of its excellent reputation.
“Lubbock Electric Company is highly esteemed in the electric motor repair industry, and the company is valuable for the considerable customer loyalty it has earned,” says Bill Moran. “Likewise, I admire the goodwill that the Bush and Moffett family has established in this community. On top of that, Lubbock Electric has an excellent management team in place. We aim to build on this legacy.”
Bill and Riley Moran are both engineers with service mindsets. The Moran family brings a long history of running and owning industrial service companies. With Steve’s knowledge of the local industry and agricultural clientele as a backdrop, the Morans seek to modernize systems and processes to improve every customer’s experience and invest in tools and training to enhance the working environment for employees. These qualities are exactly what Steve Moffett sought in his successor.
“I’ve had a good run, and we’ve made considerable improvements to safety, our work culture, and repair practices over the past few years,” reflects Moffett. “However, I am older than people realize, and I did not have a succession plan or heirs interested in the business. I don’t have the energy to continue improving our facilities and processes, so the logical choice was to find a successor. I think Bill Moran is the perfect guy to lead the company. He’s very analytical and possesses a strong business acumen. The more I’m around him, the more impressed I am, and the more I know that he understands the value of this company and its customers.”
Today, Lubbock Electric employs 63 full-time workers in five service departments: electric motor repair, air compressor repair, hydraulic equipment repair, automation controls, and commercial LED lighting. The company serves a 200-mile radius, but its cotton gin technology solutions, such as cottonseed scales, hydraulic systems, and control panels, can be found in cotton gins across the country. Round-the-clock emergency service, especially during ginning season, has been a hallmark of Lubbock Electric’s offering since the 1940s. This service-oriented focus will not change under the new ownership.
“Customers should continue to expect responsive service from Lubbock Electric,” says Moran. “We will work towards even greater levels of transparency and communication with customers. Our services and products will only get better.” One of Bill Moran’s first orders of business has been to visit key clients and gain an understanding of the cotton gin industry.
“What has impressed me most about the cotton gin industry is the spirit of camaraderie and respect that gin managers have towards one another even though they are competitors,” Moran said as he reflected on his first visits to area cotton gins. “At every visit, they’ve asked me whom I’ve met and whom I’ll see next, and they have nothing but kind words to say about each other. In my years of working in the oil industry and running industrial businesses, I never experienced that.”
“I recognize the importance of agriculture to the local and global economy as well,” Moran continued. “Cotton gins and ag processing plants will always be valued customers to Lubbock Electric Company. Their needs will continue to influence our recruiting, training, operational, and product strategies.”
Meanwhile, Steve Moffett does not plan to retire anytime soon. He fully supports Bill Moran’s vision for the company and is eager to remain part of the company’s future. “I intend to continue working for Lubbock Electric for as long as I am viable and producing,” says Moffett. “My focus will now shift to strengthening our existing relationships and developing new ones. I’m not planning on going anywhere!”
Regarding retirement, Steve Moffett remarks jokingly, “my wife Patsy says that I could retire any time. I just wouldn’t be welcome around the house between 8 and 5!”
About Lubbock Electric Company:
Founded in 1944 by Paul Vernon Bush, Lubbock Electric Co. is an industrial equipment services company that provides electric motor repair, air compressor repair, hydraulic repair, automation controls, and commercial LED lighting to industrial plants across West Texas and the Panhandle. The company’s mission is to keep industry running and prevent machine downtime in West Texas. Learn more at lubbockelectric.com.