Home Learning Center Articles Harold Leviton: Electrical Industry Innovator and Icon
August 24 th, 1917 – September 8 th, 2007
CableOrganizer.com would like to pay tribute to the life and accomplishments of Harold Leviton, late Chairman and CEO of Leviton Manufacturing Company. For 42 years, Mr. Leviton sowed hard work, diligence and goodwill into his family business, and transformed the small gas mantle-tip company founded by his father at the turn of the 20 th century into a worldwide leader in electrical components. In addition to being a brilliant businessman, Mr. Leviton is remembered by many for his electrical safety advocacy and philanthropic contributions, as well as dedicated service to his community. In honor of Harold Leviton, we’ve assembled a timeline to highlight significant events in the life of this electrical industry icon and his company.
- Harold Leviton was born to immigrant parents in 1917. As a child, he often spent Saturdays with his father, Isidor, at the family’s factory in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. During these visits, he interacted with – and learned from - a large number of employees in all levels of the company. As a result, Leviton gained an understanding of all phases of the business at a very young age.
- In 1940, Leviton graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in business. He moved back to New York to join the family business, advancing through the company from the bottom up: from his start in the stock room, Harold Leviton moved to the purchasing department, and later the Director of Personnel. While working in personnel, Leviton was far ahead of his time: he is noted for hiring a diverse staff long before US anti-discrimination laws were put in place.
- In 1965, Harold Leviton became President, CEO and Chairman of Leviton Manufacturing Company, following the passing of his older brother, Bernard, and father, Isidor. During the next 42 years, Mr. Leviton would lead his company through a period of astounding growth, turning Leviton Manufacturing Company into a global force, with a product portfolio of over 25,000 different items!
- Mr. Leviton made great progress as an advocate for electrical safety: he served within NEMA as Chairman of its Wiring Device Section and Building and Equipment Division, and was also an honorary member of its Board of Governors. In addition, Mr. Leviton was Vice Chairman Emeritus of the National Electrical Safety Foundation (NESF), and an honorary Board of Governors member and Chairman of the Electrical Manufacturing Council.
- One of the most memorable and defining moments in Harold Leviton’s career came when he received a letter from a grateful parent, whose child’s life had been saved by a Leviton ground circuit interrupter (GFCI). The mother wrote that she had found a plugged-in hairdryer submerged in her unharmed child’s bath water. As it turns out, the Leviton GFCI that the dryer was plugged into had tripped, cutting off the device’s power supply and saving the child from electrocution.
- An active philanthropist, Mr. Leviton was a founder of Israel’s Institute of Technology, Technion; as well as the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He also instituted the Leviton Industrial Arts Award, which benefits New York City high school students who are studying electrical trades.
- During his lifetime, Harold Leviton was honored with several distinguished awards, including the National Electrical Association Falk Award, the Wire and Cable Club of America’s Charles D. Scott Distinguished Career Award, and the Anti-Defamation League’s Torch of Liberty.
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