Over the last three years Aurora Electric has enjoyed unprecedented progress on its journey to becoming one of New York City’s leading commercial electrical contractors. Specializing in the installation of intelligent systems, Aurora’s recent success comes as more and more clients look to integrate the latest in smart technology into their buildings and public works projects.
Based out of JFK International Airport in Jamaica, New York, Aurora serves clients throughout New York City and the surrounding area. A proud union shop with an owner who is actively involved in the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) chapter, Aurora Electric has built a reputation as for quality and experience which has allowed the company to land work for some of the city’s highest profile clients.
Aurora’s rise can be tied to increased demand for integrated electrical systems that control not only fire systems and building management, but security and safety. “We do the wire work for the very expensive components you have to put in a project where the sole purpose is to keep you safe or improve your working environment,” says Veronica Rose, founder and president of Aurora.
“The greatest blessing and what has kept us in the highest demand is that we specialize in intelligent installations, one of which is security, so when 9/11 happened and the TSA and other agencies came in wanting people to work with them on the security projects, we were one of the very few companies that had all the credentials and experience needed in order to pursue the security market and this has remained one of our favorite markets,” says Rose.
Aurora’s presence at the forefront of the intelligent systems movement will come as little surprise to anyone familiar with the company’s founder. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Veronica Rose entered the electrical trade at a time when female electricians were unheard of and became the first woman accepted into the IBEW.
After graduating first in her apprenticeship class in 1983 Rose began working in the New York City market, steadily gaining experience through the early 90s before making a crucial pivot in her career. “Work was slowing down in New York, so I made the decision to become a contractor. I took all the necessary classes and I and two other women were the first women in the history of New York City to earn their Master Electricians license,” says Rose.
A big footprint in the Big Apple
Aurora has completed projects at some of New York City’s most recognizable sites, including a recent project at One World Trade Center that ranked at the company’s largest effort to date. Today it’s the company’s work with NYC’s Mass Transit Authority (MTA) that is driving growth.
“We have recently started working with the MTA and NYC transit on a lot of their intelligent systems. In transportation it has been inspiring how technology has improved and increased and at Aurora Electric we update and install that technology,” says Rose.
Aurora is working with the MTA to build-out what Rose describes as the stations of the future, bringing the intelligent fire, security and communications systems to the city’s entire transportation network. “That includes the Metro North, Long Island Rail Road, bridges, tunnels, buses and subways,” she says.
These new intelligent system will ease the everyday commute of the average New Yorker by allowing disparate systems and networks to communicate with one another.
“For example, they want the bus driver to know that a train just arrived at a subway stop and he just has to wait 50 seconds for hundreds of people to come up the steps,” says Rose. “It also includes digital signs at bus stops that will let you know if your bus is three minutes away or five minutes away so if there is a Starbucks right there you know you have time to grab a cup of coffee while you wait.”
The system will also alert subway and bus passengers as to upcoming stops and include a full Wi-Fi and cellular service build-out which will allow commuters to enjoy a high-strength signal even while underground.
Giving back and looking forward
Throughout her career Rose has continued to be an active member of her local IBEW chapter. As a trustee for IBEW Local 3, the Aurora president has been a vocal supporter of the union’s apprenticeship program which brings electricians from the U.K. and Australia to the NYC area to facilitate collaboration and the sharing of best practices. In the last two years, Rose has shown her support for the program by acting as a host family for the international apprentices.
“It benefits the entire industry because the purpose of the exchange is for us all to learn each other’s best practices on engaging, training and creating the finest electricians in the world,” she says.
Rose’s commitment to ensuring that the electrical trade continues to attract fresh talent is not limited to her involvement with the apprenticeship program. While many in the construction industry bemoan the work ethic and attitudes of younger, millennial employees, Rose sees them as a vital asset to the future of the company and industry as a whole.
“I thought it was going to be hard, but it’s turned out to be just the opposite,” says Rose. “Us baby boomers still do things the way we were taught, so when I need something I exert a lot more effort than I noticed the millennials do because they’re so wired in and they have access that is quicker and more efficient. What take me a week to research and find, if they don’t have it in 20 minutes, it probably doesn’t exist; they are going to make us look like the dinosaurs,” she says.
Looking ahead, Rose is confident that ongoing work with the MTA will see the company remain very busy for the next three to four years. In anticipation of that steady slate of work, Aurora is currently eyeing an expansion into a new facility located next door to its current location. “It will double our footprint, which is important because we’ll need significantly more warehouse space for racking and stacking the intelligent system components,” she says.
Strong union involvement and a steady stream of work for one of the world’s busiest mass transit systems should see Aurora Electrical achieve unprecedented success over the coming years.
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