It is with a heavy heart that we share with our supporters the news that Huen Electric Inc.’s (Huen Electric) founder, mentor, and friend Michael F. Hughes passed away on April 27, 2020, with his partner in life, Madeline, at his side.
Mike was a visionary leader, committed humanitarian, and devoted husband and father.
Mike started his illustrious carrier in 1960 as an electrical construction apprentice with Ace Electric. In his first year with the company, Mike was nominated and awarded the Apprentice of the Year. His sharp business acumen quickly allowed him to take a position with Premier Electric as an Estimator and was eventually promoted to Vice President before he decided to follow his dream to start his own company.
In August of 1983, Mike founded Huen Electric. The first project that Huen Electric completed was an office plaza in Deerfield, IL. For nearly thirty years, Mike led Huen Electric to become one of the five largest electrical contracting firms in the Chicago area through organic growth and by acquiring International Electric, Benson Electric, West Town Electric, and Alliance Utility in Utah. His vision for growth outside the Chicagoland area extended when Huen Electric established offices in Syracuse, N.Y. in 2001 and Columbus, NJ in 2007.
In a career spanning more than 50 years, Mike helped construct some of Chicago’s highest-profile projects including Wrigley Field, Trump International Hotel and Tower, Sears Corporate Headquarters, Cook County Hospital (John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital), Soldier Field, University of Chicago, Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and Chicagoland Speedway. His leadership guided successful VA hospital projects in Cleveland and Lima, OH; Walla Walla, WA; and New Orleans, LA.
Mike was committed to serving his business and the communities in which he lived and worked. He served as the President of the Chicago Area Council Boy Scouts of America. During his tenure as President, he was honored with the BSA Silver Beaver Award in 2008. He served on the boards of ACE Tech Charter High School, Lewis University’s Board of Trustees, President’s Advisory Council, Mount Carmel High School, and the Advisory Board for Misericordia. Mike was an active supporter of Off the Street Club, Mercy Home, and Mercy Housing Lakefront.
Mike proved that a person can be a successful businessperson as well as an exemplary humanitarian. The same energy that he put into his business was channeled into his boundless enthusiasm for the many causes that were near and dear to his heart.
If food was left over after a company function, Mike with the help of his superintendents would distribute the leftovers to the homeless population on Lower Wacker Drive and many city soup kitchens. He helped more people than one could ever document and he sought no credit or recognition for his charitable deeds.
Every year, Mike could be seen in his hardhat at a busy intersection in Broadview during Misericordia Candy Days, rain or shine, to fundraise for the community. He never asked his employees for more than he was willing to do himself and he firmly believed our mission on Earth is to help people in need, as he did.
Mike was a graduate of Mt. Carmel High school and attended the University of Illinois. He and his high school sweetheart Madeline Kennelly were married for 59 years. Mike is survived by his wife, Madeline, and his daughter, Peggy. He is preceded in death by his son Matthew who passed away several years earlier.
The lives Mike touched were blessed. We will all miss his love and enthusiasm for the industry he thrived in for over 50 years and for the community he lived in. The world is a better place because of Michael Francis Hughes.