- Written by: Ivy Carter
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
B&B Companies (B&B) is an electrical contracting company doing work in the industrial and commercial sectors up and down the East Coast. B&B strives to provide the best solutions for customers through its two divisions: B&B Designed Systems Inc., based in Orbisonia, Pa., and B&B Electrical Systems LLC, based in Harrisonburg, Va.
“A lot of contractors will do electrical construction, some design-build and some automation,” says Bob Parsons, president of B&B Designed Systems Inc. “We do all of the above.”
Bob represents one “B” in the company’s name, while the other “B” symbolizes Brian Miller, president of B&B Electrical Systems LLC. Though the two operated separate successful organizations, Bob and Brian partnered to found B&B in 1987.
While the duo makes great business partners, the two couldn’t be more different. Bob was raised in Orbisonia and is a graduate of Williamsport Community College. After earning his degree, Bob ventured out into the construction industry to work for a few different companies before deciding to move home and open his own business.
Brian, on the other hand, was raised in Shade Gap and served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1980 to 1986. Upon his return, Brian and Bob got together and discussed the possibility of starting their own company and created B&B.
However, the business partners do have some similar traits, as both men hold master licenses – of which Bob holds in multiple states – and both are very active in their local communities. Brian has served on numerous boards, including the Huntington County Consortium for the Southern Alleghenies, the Workforce Consortium Initiative and the Government Affairs committee of Technology Council Central Pa. In addition, Bob is the current chairman on the Southern Alleghany Workforce Investment and Executive Boards and has previously served as a local school board member.
Together, the business partners oversee a team of anywhere between 80 and 160 employees. Both Brian and Bob wholeheartedly believe in B&B’s capable staff. “It is our employees that set us apart,” says Bob. “We have a really great workforce. They’re professional. We’re known for our integrity, workmanship and confidence in meeting deadlines. We have a good name going for ourselves.”
A Broad Range of Experience
With a management team and diverse crew, B&B can offer a broad range of services to the industrial and commercial sectors. The company is able to provide design-build services to optimize all facets of electrical infrastructure, including power distribution, commercial and industrial lighting and power, energy management systems, industrial controls, PLC programming, UL listed control panel design and fabrication, systems, data and communication.
Bob explains B&B works in a range of sectors that often require confidentiality agreements and secret clearances required by the federal government. Bob details that some of B&B’s clients include federal and local government, Army Corps, food, beverage, glass, rubber, manufacturing, private operations, pulp and paper, education, warehousing, water and wastewater treatment plants, wood and plastic entities.
In order to provide the best work for its clients, B&B is a certified distributor of many high-end products. Vacon is B&B’s go-to option for AC drives, which can be used in controlling electric motors or to generate power from renewable resources. The company uses LMI manufactured intercom systems, as well as central and industrial vacuum systems.
While most work Bob can’t divulge, he provides one example of the scope of jobs for which B&B is hired. Located about an hour south of Pennsylvania State University, the company recently finished a job for AT&T to install a wireless network in the university’s stadium. “We still do work for almost every customer we’ve done work for except one,” says Bob.
Sights on the Future
While many contracting companies suffered through the recent recession, B&B thrived. “We keep growing in size every year,” says Bob. “A lot of contractors are going out of business and we continue to keep growing.”
Much of the company’s success is reliant on its excellent staff and will to travel to the different sites. B&B also is working within an industry that is ever-growing and wants a single contractor. “A lot of the companies we’re going into are mostly industrial-based,” says Bob. “We want to do turnkey projects. They want one contractor to call on to do the work. And it is one of our philosophies that we don’t say no.”
Bob certainly didn’t say no when his daughter expressed interest in the company, either. “She just started as an apprentice,” he says. His daughter originally left for college intending to receive a degree and find work as a biology teacher. However, she recently switched schools and majors. According to Bob, his daughter is working to finish a degree in human resources and business management while working as an apprentice at B&B.
“It’s a challenge to find a quality, skilled labor force,” says Bob. “We have a certified apprentice program to give an option. A lot of people pushed their children to go to a four-year college and get some type of degree. It’s killing the trade.”
It is exciting to both partners that Bob’s daughter is interested in joining B&B and Brian’s son, who is majoring in business management at college as well as working in the apprentice program. With the next generation ready to assume leadership roles in the business, B&B Companies is poised to realize continued growth for years to come.
For more information about B&B Companies, please visit: www.bbsystemsinc.com.
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