By: Roger Kauffman, Chairman of the Board/Immediate Past President
EMR is a leading provider of service, installation, and sales to the commercial kitchen, refrigeration, industrial motor, elevator and marine industries. Founded in 1927 in Baltimore, Maryland, we are a third-generation family-owned service company that operates multiple locations in the mid-Atlantic region, including Maryland, D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
When we first started out, EMR’s primary operation was simply electric motor repairs. Then, in the 1940s, our portable household appliance department was formed which allowed us the opportunity to service blenders, mixers, toasters, irons, radios, televisions, and clocks as well as small electric motors. The shift into commercial kitchen equipment came in the 1960s after my father, Harry Kauffman, acquired ownership and took on the presidency. During this time, EMR hired our first technician to service these commercial products at customer sites, resulting in the birth of our outside service division.
I have worked at EMR since I was 16, taking over the presidency from my father in 1985. During that time, we were still struggling with trying to keep the household appliance operation alive and profitable. However, it soon became clear that it was time to close that chapter of the company and focus our attention on the Commercial and Industrial divisions. It was an emotional shift because I had grown up in the household operation and gotten to know many of the long-time employees personally, but it was a good move because it made room for the burgeoning Commercial operation. We grew to the point where the facilities in Baltimore could no longer hold the corporate offices, the Industrial division, as well as the Baltimore Commercial operation. Splitting up this triad was another significant turning point for EMR that has had very favorable results. The corporate office and the Baltimore Commercial operations are now in a 40,000 square foot space that has allowed for continued expansion and growth that otherwise would have been stymied in the old facility, and the Industrial division has absorbed the space left behind allowing it to improve and expand as well.
EMR’s history is not all about the business, however. We pride ourselves on being a family-owned and operated business, which is why when I started planning for my retirement about 10 years ago, I selected one family member to be groomed to take my place. My daughter, Caroline Kauffman-Kirschnick, has worked in the company for 15 years, working her way up the ladder to her current position of president, which she was appointed to in January 2018. Caroline has demonstrated her abilities to lead and a passion for the business and I am proud to watch her succeed while influencing this company in so many positive ways.