HOW IT STARTED
In the quiet town of Pittsburg, Kansas, the year 1964 marked the inception of a modest family-run enterprise that would forever change the railroad industry landscape. Born out of the passion of Larry Seward Sr., a Navy electrician, and his wife, the garage-turned-business began its journey by delivering quality electrical services to the local community. In those early days, it was a struggle, with just a handful of workers along with this son, Larry Seward Jr. met the increasing demands for service.
By the late 1970s, the business added sign work. An encounter with Larry Bogs, the owner of Bogs Signs, set the stage for CDL’s diversification into sign installation. The remarkable journey from setting poles with a 12-foot extension ladder to relamping and cleaning signs across multiple states showcased the company’s evolving prowess.
Larry’s knack for solving problems and innovation opened the door to retail giant, Walmart, leading to a nationwide initiative to standardize and revamp parking lot lighting, a feat that illuminated the brand’s dedication to innovation and cost-efficiency.
The 1980s brought a pivotal moment when Rick Webb, a friend and owner of Watco, sought Larry’s expertise in restoring railroad signals. Amidst disposable DC batteries and trains traversing the rural landscapes, CDL became the go-to solution for signal maintenance. Despite his father’s reservations about growth, Larry Jr.’s determination laid the foundation for CDL’s relentless expansion. It was a choice between established corporations and a journey with a friend and mentor. He chose the latter, leading the company’s charge into railroad and traffic signals, proving to be a visionary move.
As the company navigated the ‘90s, Larry’s persistent efforts saw CDL evolve into a comprehensive service provider, spanning HVAC, plumbing, and more. The acquisition of businesses bolstered the company’s influence. The entry into the generator market, overseeing HVAC and plumbing, and strategic expansion into neighboring states showcased CDL’s commitment to answering diverse industry needs.
Today, CDL stands as a multi-generational testimony to hard work, dedication, and vision. The growth from a garage operation to a leader in the industry was driven by unyielding efforts. The sacrifices made, from working during holidays and traveling extensively, became the foundation of the company’s culture.From humble beginnings to an industry powerhouse, CDL S&S Electric’s journey tells a story of innovation, dedication, and a family’s commitment to creating lasting impact. It’s a tale of wires ignited over fire turning into a legacy illuminating the railroads and beyond.
“The dedication our team has shown over the years is truly remarkable. They’ve put in their heart and soul, working holidays, weekends, around the clock. It’s a testament to their unwavering commitment. I yearn to connect with every face and understand their contributions.
Looking back, the transformation is awe-inspiring.”
-Larry Seward Jr.