Business is in Marion electrician's blood
Recently, a Marion resident asked Lin Slifer where he was moving. Slifer was baffled by this question — he was not moving anywhere. He is still going to live at Marion County Lake; he is still working as an electrician.
“I still want to do electrical work,” he said. “A lot of people have trusted me to do it for years.”
Some things have changed. Slifer sold his building on the east side of Main Street in December of 2012. He still operates his business out of one-half of the garage, his panel van parked perpendicular to the owner’s recreational vehicle. The terms of the lease agreement included clearing the north wall and keeping his side as tidy as possible.
Slifer also merged his two companies together. What was once LinCo, Inc. — the electrical company — and LTJ, LLC — property management — have now been folded under the LTJ, LLC umbrella. Slifer decided to abandon any property management responsibilities.
These two decisions were part of a three-year process of downsizing. Imagine having a pinky finger infected with gangrene and being forced with a decision to amputate.
“It’s a tough decision after building it from scratch,” Slifer said. “There comes a time when you either walk away and sell it or slow down.”
At 50, Slifer has spent more than half of his life, 32 years, in construction. He started in the business before he had a driver’s license. He has been an electrician for 24 years.
During LinCo’s peak years, 1990s and early 2000s, Slifer had five to six employees during any given summer. Four employees made up the regular LinCo work force, taking jobs during their busiest time in the winter. Two of those electricians worked almost exclusively in the Wichita area, performing wiring jobs for commercial companies.
Slifer decided to start downsizing in earnest when two of his employees took jobs contracting for a large company. He decided not to replace them. In truth, he tired of the weeks where commutes between Salina and Wichita were commonplace.
Now, Slifer is a lone wolf and he only works in and around Marion County. To limit his driving radius, Slifer had to eliminate some go-to assignments — wiring for security and phone systems.
Here’s the question: why didn’t Slifer walk away?
The answer is two-fold. First, Slifer loves electrical work.
The passion was evident when he began discussing the intricacies of electrical code. He lit up when discussing the reason a cable needs to work with any electrical head or why the electrical boxing needs to be secured and in the right place.
“If it explodes, it’s your fault,” he said. “Electrical code’s sole purpose is to protect people.”
Second, downsizing was the right business move. Slifer said there has been about a four-year lull for construction demand in Marion County — not the best climate to sell an electrical company.
In his soul, Slifer is both a construction man and businessman. He has a second business he operates a product brokerage company out of his home. He is one of hundreds of thousands of shopping consultants for an international company. Slifer’s personal web address is www.linslifer.com. His objective is to connect people to products they already use. His focus is health and nutrition.
“People like service. People hate to be sold but love to buy,” he said. “I’ve never had anyone not thank me when I call to check up on them, see if they need anything.”
Both Slifer’s lust for discipline in his electrical work and mind for finances come from his father: John Slifer.
John Slifer was a doctor in Florence, one of five physicians in town when he started his practice in 1934. Lin Slifer originally wanted to be a veterinarian before he landed in construction.
“My dad was never pushy with where he wanted us to end up,” Lin Slifer said. “He believed in discipline and good education.”
John Slifer originally got his degree in economics. He started working for a financial company in Michigan before they asked him to move to New York City. Faced with a move east, he elected to attend medical school.
He left the financial industry behind, but a love of numbers remained. He even approached words mathematically, breaking down a word’s origin into its Latin components as if he was solving an algebra equation.
“I called him a walking dictionary with all the Latin he knew,” Lin Slifer said.
Lin Slifer may not have chosen business as his primary career, but business lives deep in his blood.