Bana Electric Corp.
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 6 mins
In the diverse electrical contracting environment that is greater New York and Long Island, Bana Electric Corp. has been thriving for more than 60 years. From a ground-up hospital and medical research facility to the area’s largest power plant, the Bana team loves to tackle a challenge. “We shine when it comes to complicated projects,” says Stephen Bender, third-generation president of Bana. “I have an electrical engineering degree and so does my father, so we like outside-of-the-box type projects. We don’t really go after cookie-cutter work.”
This family tradition of electrical problem-solving has carried on for more than 60 years at Bana. “2015 marks 60 years in business for our company,” adds Bender.
As signatory contractor with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 25 and Local 3, as well as a long-standing member of the Long Island Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Bana has delivered the highest quality union-stamped contracting since 1955.
Small appliance shop to full-service contractor
The company was formed by Abraham “Al” Bender in 1955 upon his return from World War II. “My grandfather, a member of the Local 3, along with three other gentlemen started Bana,” recounts Bender. “At the time, most of the projects were in the city and Queens. Part of the operation was an appliance storefront called Pearl Air Conditioning and Electric.”
As air conditioning units became more modernized and affordable for average homeowners, the existing electrical systems needed to be upgraded to run the units. “My grandfather started a small electrical business to upgrade services in order to deliver enough electricity for an air conditioning unit,” explains Bender.
Once Bana started performing more electrical service, the company was invited to look at a school project on Long Island. “At the time there was a flood of people moving to Long Island and a big boom in the school market to support the population,” says Bender. “My grandfather’s partners didn’t want to work on Long Island so he bought them out and set up shop.”
The family-run business has been a presence in the Long Island contracting market ever since. “My father, Michael Bender, joined my grandfather after graduating from MIT in 1963,” says Bender. “He worked as a project manager and Bana began to branch from school work to all kinds of commercial and municipal work.”
In 1993, after graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Bender followed in the family footsteps and came to work for his father. “That’s pretty much how we’re here today and we’ve been fortunate to have a great team and business has steadily grown year after year,” adds Bender.
Today with a location in Douglaston and Farmingdale, New York, Bana employs union members, ramping up to 60 employees during peak projects and maintaining a core group of 35, year-round. The team includes highly trained engineers and electricians, putting Bana at the forefront of the industry. “Our entire staff, from warehouse managers to field electricians, takes great personal pride in delivering the best quality work,” adds Bender.
Riding the market demand wave
With a talented team, Bana has completed hundreds of complex projects in a wide range of facilities, including; power plants, maximum security prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, schools, universities, fire houses, libraries, retail stores, churches, office buildings, industrial parks, laboratories, athletic facilities, sewage treatment plants, and even private homes.
Bender says this diversity stems from a greater New York and Long Island contracting market that is constantly fluctuating. “One minute school construction is ramping up, the next nursing homes are being built left and right,” he says. “It comes in waves, all at once. That’s why we’re capable of so many different kinds of work because our market is a shifting target. We have to do a little bit of everything; we’re a well-rounded contractor.”
Currently, Bana has a large presence in the commercial and industrial markets and more recently, has reverted back to its residential roots in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. “After Sandy we got a lot of calls from the residential market and we diversified, adding a generator division,” notes Bender. “This may seem like a backward move for us, but the residential market was a good spot for growth, especially with such a need for generator power.”
As an authorized platinum dealer, Bana now supplies Kohler standby generators. The company is fully equipped with expert technicians who are trained and certified to handle generator repair and warranty coverage. From proper generator sizing to accessing existing electric panels and circuits for the most cost-effective tie in, Bana can meet all residential generator needs.
In-house electrical testing and related services
Furthering its diverse offering, Bana entered the high-voltage testing market in 2006. “We formed BEC Testing to perform high-voltage fault finding, infrared scanning, power-quality analysis, circuit breaker testing, transformer service, equipment retrofit, life-extension programs, ultrasonic inspection, arch-flash studies and more,” details Bender. “This division was formed to support the construction side of our operation and it’s been a good marriage.”
A landmark project under this scope for Bana is the 330-megawatt Caithness Energy Center, Long Island’s largest power plant built in the last 40 years. With an electrical subcontract valued at nearly $32 million, Bana performed a complete electrical installation of the 330-MW combined cycle power plant.
The Caithness installation tasked nearly all facets of Bana’s services, including fire alarm, plant wide emergency communications, lighting, bus duct, welded aluminum isolated phase bus duct, assembly and filling of a 290-MVA generator step-up transformer, power distribution systems, heat tracing for freeze protection and plant-wide digital control systems.
Another milestone for Bana is Stony Brook University’s new 250,000-square-foot Medical and Research Translation (MART) building and new 250,000-square-foot bed tower, located on the university’s academic medical center campus. “We have completed hospital additions and renovations, but this is the first completely ground-up hospital we have been involved in,” shares Bender.
The MART project will house eight floors devoted to imaging, neurosciences and cancer research. Bana is providing an electrical fit-out for the MART tower, as well as a 10-story bed tower with 150 state-of-the-art inpatient accommodations. The scope of work includes electrical systems, such as an uninterrupted power supply backup and emergency systems powered by two 1,500-kilowatt generators, as well as Simplex fire alarm systems throughout the building. The project is slated for completion in December 2016.
Outside of the medical market, the commercial sector is still going strong for Bana, even in the post-recession climate. “We’re working at the Roosevelt Field Mall, one of the largest in the country,” details Bender. “This two-year project consists of a complete upgrade of lighting throughout the mall commons and the installation of a new state-of-the-art Bose sound system and Simplex fire alarm system. We’re also doing complete electrical installation and electric distribution in the new food court.”
Bana is performing a lighting retrofit, with energy-efficient LED lighting in parking garages. “This project is set to wrap up by June 2015,” adds Bender. “With all of the changes the project is worth close to $19 million now in size and scope.”
In the years following the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, Bana has been a go-to contractor for repair service. The company was selected as one of the elite contractors to complete phase one of the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant electrical distribution system improvements. Bana is upgrading the electrical systems at the plant to ensure smooth processing and operations. “We’re proud to be part of Governor Cuomo’s initiative to ensure the plant can withstand a ‘500-year storm event,'” says Bender. “This project will be complete by December 2015.”
Industrial, commercial, health care, institutional and residential customers alike continue to call on Bana for its extraordinary team of union electricians. For more than 60 years Bana Electric Corp has been building a name throughout greater New York City and Long Island, tackling tough projects and elevating the standards of the electrical industry.
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