Growth of family business fueled by Georgia’s film industry

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Rick Harris did not begin his career on a movie set, but Georgia’s film industry has provided a powerful platform on which to build his successful family business.

After spending 10 years as chief electrician at the Georgia World Congress Center and 10 years at Cobb Galleria, Rick decided to go out on his own to create Harris Diversified LLC.

Located in Dallas, GA, the company is family owned and operated. Rick is the CEO, his wife Delores the co-owner and bookkeeper and daughter Lindsey Morrison the office manager. With 14 full-time employees, the company will only occasionally bring in extra part-time help.

“As the movie business grew here, so did ours,” says Rick. “Film production has been good for Metro Atlanta and I believe the whole state has benefited. It has helped so many small businesses. It’s amazing.”

Harris Diversified started as a business supplying temporary electrical equipment power rentals to local festivals, weddings and events, but it now counts on Georgia’s film industry for the majority of its business.

In 2009, Harris got its big break in films when the production of “The Blind Side” began. What was to become a smash hit with Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw was the first production to which Harris rented air conditioning equipment.

“One thing led to another,” says Delores Harris, Rick’s wife. “First we provided generated power for Catering and Extra’s holding tents. Pretty soon we were also furnishing portable air conditioners and heaters, light towers and power distribution equipment for movie location sets and then for their production stages as well.”

Currently Harris Diversified is working on productions of a TV remake of “MacGyver,” a new Fox show called “Star,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul,” the movie “Quad,” and a remake of “Jumanji.” According to Rick, the company can work on 10-12 productions at the same time.

To accommodate the growth of the movie business, Harris Diversified established an equipment rental company to maintain inventory. Rick’s certification as an electrical contractor adds to the flexibility. The company can pull any electrical permits needed anywhere in Georgia for film productions. This puts the company in a league of its own — a total turnkey company providing services ranging from pre-site filming consultations to furnishing electrical permits to renting any equipment needed for temporary power.

The Harris family’s favorite movie? “The Blind Side” is special because it gave them their big start in the business. Others on their list of favorites are “The Walking Dead,” “Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Allegiant,” “Fast 7 and 8,” “42,” the story of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, and “Miracle from Heaven.”

“We feel very fortunate in having the movie business here,” Delores says. “It’s been a blessing and we love it.”