1947 Oct. 31: Edmund O. Schweitzer III is born in Evanston, Illinois. His father, Edmund O. Schweitzer Jr., is an inventor who formed his own company and would hold nearly 100 patents.
1965 A major blackout strikes the northeastern United States and Ontario, Canada. More than 30 million people across 80,000 square miles are left without power for 13 hours. The incident makes a big impression on Schweitzer, who is now an 18-year-old electrical engineering student at Purdue University.
1968 Schweitzer earns his Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue. He begins work for the U.S. Department of Defense at Fort Meade, Maryland.
1974 Schweitzer goes to work for a small Bay Area defense contractor. After a few months, his father convinces him to go back to school. Schweitzer chooses Washington State University.
1977 Schweitzer earns a doctoral degree, writing his thesis on digital protective relays. He begins two years on the electrical engineering faculty at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
1979 Schweitzer returns to Pullman to become aprofessor of electrical engineering at WSU. He’ll work there six years.
1982 Schweitzer founds Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories — which will become better known as SEL. He begins manufacturing his devices in his basement in Pullman.
1984 Schweitzer ships his first product — the SEL-21, a multifunctional digital relay — to the Otter Tail Power Co. in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, which buys three SEL units for $6,500 apiece. Later that year, SEL will move its seven employees out of Schweitzer’s basement and into a new building on Merman Drive in Pullman.
1988 SEL has now grown to 34 employees. It moves into a new building on what will become its permanent campus.
1992 SEL reaches 100 employees.
1994 Schweitzer begins making company stock available to employees. Employees are eligible to participate in the stock ownership plan after one year on the job.
1997 SEL begins several years of international expansion by opening an oce in Canada. It will open oces in China and the United Kingdom a year later, one in Australia a year after that, and oces in Mexico and Brazil in 2000.
2001 SEL opens its Government Services Division.
2003 SEL opens a manufacturing plant in Monterrey, Mexico. The plant will move to San Luis Potosí five years later.
2004 SEL buys Schweitzer’s father’s company, E.O. Schweitzer Manufacturing.
2005 SEL surpasses 1,000 employees.
2009 SEL becomes 100% employee owned.
2010 SEL begins publishing its quarterly “Journal of Reliable Power.” Also that year, SEL publishes its first textbook: “Modern Solutions for Protection, Control and Monitoring of Electric Power Systems.”
2012 Schweitzer is awarded a medal in power engineering by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
2015 Fortune magazine names SEL to its list of 15 Best Workplaces for manufacturing and production.