In the early 1900s, a young entrepreneur by the name of A. P. Goulder was looking for business opportunities in his Cleveland, Ohio hometown. He recognized the growing demand for electric lighting, as public electricity was just becoming available in the city, and many businesses and households were in the midst of electrification. Seeing this valuable opportunity, Mr. Goulder opened the doors to his neighborhood lighting store, The Doan Electric Company, in 1915.
Returning to Cleveland after serving in World War I, Mr. Goulder began expanding the business with the help of his siblings and brother-in-law, Bill Heiser. Desiring to sell more than just lighting fixtures, he moved to a larger store where he could also sell the newly available electric appliances. With the demand for electric appliances, homes were in need of full electrical installation services. Recognizing this need, Doan Electric began performing electrical installations in the residential market.
During the post-World War II economic boom, Doan once again moved into a larger office and warehouse space on the edge of downtown Cleveland in the 1950s.
With a strong reputation in Cleveland, The Doan Electric Company would grow to serve major clients including The Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, and complete major projects including Gund Arena and Jacobs Field, (now Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field, respectively), and many other landmark projects. In 2001, Doan merged with another Cleveland area electrical contractor who eventually bought out the Doan partners entirely.
Photo Credit: The Cleveland Press Collection
John’s talents had not gone unnoticed. Before leaving Doan Electric, John was taken out to lunch by Edmund who told him, “If you ever want to start a business on your own in Florida, give me a call.” That call was made in November of 1983 when John Kavula and Jerry Lightner were working together at another local electrical contracting company and desired to start-up a new company in the Tampa Bay area. The new company was named APG Electric in honor of Doan’s founder, A.P. Goulder. With the support of Doan principals from the Goulder and Heiser families, John and Jerry opened the doors of APG Electric on January 23, 1984 - and the rest is history.