Power Partners’ roots go back to 1958, when Westinghouse built a distribution transformer plant in Athens, Georgia. The Athens plant was purchased by ABB in 1990, and two Athens-based organizational consultants expert in lean manufacturing and team-based work cultures, Sherrie Ford and Steve Hollis, purchased the plant from ABB in 2003 and named the company Power Partners. The 8 millionth transformer to have been made at the Athens facility was produced in 2008. In 2009, the company began producing adsorption chillers.
Sherrie Ford died in 2011. She was a visionary and was recognized worldwide as a hands-on leader in manufacturing work culture. While she headed Power Partners, it was one of the ten largest women-owned businesses in the United States. Ford successfully applied a Ph.D. in English to improving manufacturing operations. She found her calling working with manufacturing companies and their employees while working at Athens Technical Institute, now Athens Technical College. In 1991, at the college, she started the Center for Continuous Improvement, whose mission was to help companies in North Georgia develop organizational leadership and vision and adopt lean manufacturing principles. In 1996, she founded Change Partners, a consultancy that helps companies improve their operations by encouraging them to embrace world-class manufacturing techniques and lean production principles. At Power Partners, her deep engagement as a leader and personal knowledge of her associates was a fundamental part of her and of the culture-making she practiced.
Power Partners was one of seven winners of the SJF Institute’s 2011 Green Jobs Award, which honors private businesses that contribute to both the economy and the environment. Power Partners also received the Excellence in Sustainability award at the 2011 Manufacturing Innovations Conference, a national event sponsored by the National Institute of Standards’ Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).
In 2012, Luke Faulstick, whose global operations teams and manufacturing plants at other companies have won numerous awards, became co-owner, president and CEO of Power Partners. Steve Hollis, who had been President and CEO of Power Partners since he and Ford bought Power Partners in 2003, became Chairman of the company and also its Executive Vice President for Development. Hollis and Faulstick established PPI, a corporate holding company, in 2013 and Power Partners is its principal brand.