Harris Integrated Solutions is an established building automation provider based in Columbia, S.C. with offices in Greenville, Columbia, Florence, Beaufort, Charleston, Asheville (NC), and Hickory (NC). The company’s values emulate those of Lloyd Harris who founded the company in 1965. Today President Michael Harris personifies his father’s passion for serving customers with the best planning, engineering, equipment, installation, training and support while treating more than 80 employees like family. For Michael Harris, having seven locations across two states can present challenges for maintaining the company’s culture and family work environment.
“In recent years, weekly video conferencing with each office helps bridge the distance gap and provides a better feeling of being connected,” Harris explained. “Having in-person, monthly breakfast updates with each office also helps bring added continuity. During breakfast we hear from each team member what is going on personally and professionally in their area and how we might help them.”
Harris says character qualities such as integrity, honesty, respect, going the extra mile and a servant’s heart are the core values of Harris and its team members.
“My dad was a living example of a servant as many times he put the needs of the employees before his own. He would sacrifice, even to the point of not getting paid, in order to take care of Harris team members and customers. This left a lasting impression on me at an early age. Dad demonstrated how he wanted us to treat to each other and our customers. He always led by example,” said Harris.
Among the current challenges Harris Integrated Solutions faces is adapting the way the company conducts business during the pandemic.
“Fortunately, we are in the technology business and this enables us to change quickly in response to the COVID-19 situation. We are video conferencing with our management team Monday, Wednesday and Friday to make necessary changes and keep updated on our team and customers,” said Harris.
“Another challenge is finding the right people, putting the right people in the right positions, and being able to train new team members in the Harris culture,” he said.
The Harris Integrated Solutions staff has grown from a handful of employees in the early 1990s to more than 80 today.
“We have developed an in-house evaluation application that is done online and includes a skillset, character profile and comprehension section. The result is sent to the management team for a step-by-step process that culminates in an interview for promising applicants and hopefully, a job offer. These tools along with a new employee orientation and training have produced a shorter learning curve and the ability to attract the right people to meet the needs of our growing customer base,” Harris noted.
He went on to say, “Working for Harris since I was 14 years old has allowed me to see what we do from many perspectives. I started in our manufacturing shop making metal guards that mount over gymnasiums thermostats. I also made labels for control components on a plastic engraving machine. These were mounted on each project.
Further elaborating, Harris said, “In the summers I learned to build control panels and read control wiring diagrams. Later I was able to go with Harris technicians to our jobsites to see what I had learned in the shop on the wiring diagrams firsthand.”
After college, Harris joined the company full time and trained as a control technician. Eventually he moved into Engineering and automated that department using a CADD program.
“As technology rapidly changed our industry in the 1980s, I introduced computers and programming. As I moved into our various departments, we automated them and trained managers to take my place. Hiring managers who can do the job better than I could have ever foreseen is what has made us so successful,” said Harris.
Lloyd Harris passed away in 1992 and Mike assumed the role of President at that time. Together with his mother, Shirley Harris, he has since guided the company to 400 percent sales growth, while increasing the staff size 30-fold. With personal knowledge of each department and how it should operate, Harris has put together a staff uniquely gifted to lead.
Speaking proudly about the staff, Harris noted “My dad taught me everything I know and instilled in me character qualities necessary to serve and lead such a great team of men and women that make up Harris Integrated Solutions.”
“Our managers were all in place and able to run each department and improve on our operation continually,” Harris said. “Harris Integrated Solutions started out with a great man who loved and served the people he worked with, and today we are surrounded by men and women just like him to carry on his legacy.”
Having a heart of a servant and putting others first, Harris explained, is one of the foundational values in the Harris culture.
“The Bible says love is patient and kind, does not insist on its own way but puts others’ needs first. Sacrificially giving to meet the needs of Harris families and our customers is a basic principle shown in everyday life at Harris,” he said. “All decisions are made regarding direction and customers’ needs by the guiding principle Scripture gives. Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Harris has found that these principles allow Harris Integrated Solutions to attract and keep the right people as they live out these qualities toward each other and their customers.
To learn more about how Harris Integrated Solutions can help you control your energy costs and comfort, visit https://harrisintegration.com/.