On April 4, 1988, Mike Criste left McJunkin and founded Criste & Company Inc., a manufacturer’s representative firm, to focus exclusively on West Virginia and surrounding markets. His first and, at the time, only product line was Carol Cable Co. This focus proved successful as he gained several new manufacturers and purchased a commercial building as his office and warehouse space in 1989 in Scott Depot, WV. Criste continued to grow in lines represented and employees throughout the early-to-mid 1990s until a downturn in the chemical valley, as well as customer and factory consolidation, slowed the company’s growth. It was then that he realized that he must take on a larger geographic area to sustain the ups and downs of West Virginia’s chemical, steel, and mining industries.
Criste hired his first Pennsylvania-based salesperson in the late ‘90s. A sales rep change soon forced him to merge with a competitor. HERCO HE Ransford, a Pittsburgh agency since 1936, was in need of succession for their agency. Soon after the merger, Criste entered into, and subsequently completed, sole acquisition of HERCO stock and assets, and operated the business as Herco-Criste until 2004. Among the accomplishments was Herco-Criste attracting Pass & Seymour Legrand, a major wiring devices manufacturer, as its representative for Western Pennsylvania. Criste & Co. had represented P&S in WV since 1990. Herco-Criste, at the time, was the only electrical manufacturer representative firm to have fully staffed and owned offices, with principals in each office, serving Western PA and WV.
In 2004 another opportunity for growth came in the acquisition of Cardel Sales. Cardel had been in business for over thirty years in Pittsburgh as one of the largest stocking reps in its territory. Since August 1, 2004, the agency has been doing business as Cardel-Criste and continues to represent several of its founding factories including Cantex (15+ years), Carol Cable Co. (now owned by Prysmian), which was Criste’s first line in 1988.
Michael J. Criste CPMR – Criste began his career in the electric industry in 1978 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania working for the Gordon F. Stofer & Brother Co., a regional manufacturer’s representative firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. The Stofer Co. promoted him to outside sales and transferred him to Charleston, West Virginia in 1978 where he worked for two years calling on electrical distributors, contractors, industrial plants, and coal mines. He then accepted a position in marketing with McJunkin Corporation’s electrical division, one of his largest customers at the time, where he then worked for over nine years in outside sales and management.
Mike is a graduate of Penn State. He earned his CPMR certification as a Certified Professional Manufacturer’s Representative and has served on the NEMRA Board of Directors. Aside from his business successes, Criste has 3 grown children, resides in Pittsburgh, PA and enjoys his family, business acquaintances and farm in WV.
Childers is a 20+ year veteran in the Electrical Industry. He started in electrical distribution and has been was in Purchasing, Inventory Management, Marketing and Product Management. His time in the Electrical Industry allowed him to gain experience in working with Marketing Groups and with many manufacturers. Eric’s experience led to relationships with Electrical Contractors throughout western Pennsylvania, and end-users in the Industrial and Institutional sectors. He offers solutions incorporating knowledge from his 35 plus years of experience in Logistics, Operations, Purchasing, Product Management, and Sales.
Dieter is a 30 year electrical industry veteran. He started his career with Graybar as a customer service rep. moved into project quotations and supported electrical contractors as an outside salesperson for 20 years. He graduated from Bloomsburg University. He resides in Huntingdon, PA with his wife Suzette and two children. And don’t forget to ask him about his golf game! Chris serves western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia distributors and contractors.
Inside Sales Administrator
Kukuruda has been in the electrical industry for twenty years. With fifteen years spent in inside sales and five years of distribution in her background, she brings a multitude of experience to the agency. She is well-known throughout the market for her punctual response time and attention to detail. Kukuruda is the point person for many lines the agency represents, making daily contact with factory personnel. She serves as a great compliment to our outside sales staff.
Western Pennsylvania & West Virginia
Office Administrator and Inside Sales
Ferguson has nearly thirty years of experience in the electrical industry, working solely with Cardel-Criste for the past 25 years. She is an enthusiastic sales representative with strong product knowledge, particularly with electrical wires and cables. Ferguson often demonstrates her remarkable ability to build and manage customer relationships, multi-task, and motivate salespeople to aggressively promote and sell company products to achieve the desired results in a fast-paced, highly competitive environment.
Customer Service and Inside Sales
Ireland has been with Cardel- Criste for over 5 years and brings a great deal of enthusiasm to the team. Frequently she will go the extra mile to engage with the customer. Ireland is responsible for maintaining customer goals—acting as a liaison between customers and companies—assists with order, account questions, billing, and other queries. She always makes the customer feel they are the top priority.
Reeves began his electrical career in 1988, starting with Sylvania Lighting and covered parts of 4 states (PA, OH, WV & KY) calling on over 30 electrical distributor locations sell lamps, ballasts and fixtures. In 2014, he joined Tri State Electrical Supply as the Lighting Specialist and developed their lighting sales staff and converted industrial accounts to energy efficient lighting products. He was responsible for training Tri State’s outside and inside sales staff on new lighting technologies. Reeves joined Cardel-Criste fall, 2020.
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