Dane & Associates Electric Company
Founded in 1976 by Mike Ridgell, Dane & Associates Electric Company has grown into a leading electrical contracting company serving the entire state of Oklahoma. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the company specializes in the industrial and commercial sectors and offers a 24-hour emergency service department.
NECA Oklahoma chapter
“Mike has built a great name and reputation for this company,” says Jeff Lewis, president of Dane & Associates. “One of the most important things that he has taught everyone in this company is to not just look within the four walls of your company, but to look at how you can be an industry leader.” Lewis says that the best example of this philosophy is the company’s involvement in NECA. “NECA is there to not only benefit Dane & Associates but to also benefit the industry.”
Ridgell, who is currently the owner and CEO of Dane & Associates, has served in numerous positions of NECA, including president and governor, allowing him to mentor Lewis as a former president and currently governor of the Oklahoma Chapter. “I’ve really learned all about the benefits of NECA from him,” says Lewis. “I consider Dane & Associates one of the leaders of the industry alongside the other contractors involved with the association.”
As a member of the Oklahoma Chapter of NECA, Lewis says that it’s important to remember that the association is good for your industry. “Obviously you are in the presence of your competitors,” says Lewis. “It still presents a great opportunity for everyone to sit at the same table and work together toward a common goal.”
Adapting to change
One thing remains constant in the electrical industry and that is change. As an IBEW union contractor, Dane & Associates changes and adapts to the market which can be exciting and challenging. “We always want to remain relevant in our industry,” says Lewis. “That means that every few years we have to reinvent ourselves.”
Lewis has been with Dane & Associates for 28 years. As president of the company, his path was somewhat unconventional for a company in the electrical contracting industry. Graduating from college with a degree in business administration, Lewis was just what Dane & Associates was looking for in terms of business development. “I did not come up through the apprenticeship program but I have always surrounded myself with people that did,” Lewis explains. “Sometimes I will hire someone in the business management side of things that was never an electrician and didn’t go through the local apprenticeship program and it usually works out great because you get a fresh set of ideas.”
The separation of preconstruction and project management are among the adaptations that the company has made in the changing industry. “I now have a guy who only has to think about estimating, as well as a guy who has a couple construction managers under him and we divide up what we get,” says Lewis. “This is just the best way to utilize the people that I employ. We’ve even opened a prefab shop.” Lewis says that the success of the transitions the company has made is due to the positive attitude of his employees. “Everyone that works here sees the potential and wants to continue on with what Mike Ridgell brought to us,” he continues.
After running the company for more than 40 years, Ridgell is happy to see the changes that Dane & Associates has had to make to remain a leader in the industry. “We all appreciate him embracing that because that can’t be easy,” says Lewis. Although Ridgell is retired, he still remains heavily involved in the company. “He’s still here three days a week and I hope he stays here for as long as he wants to,” Lewis continues.
Ridgell completed the local IBEW apprenticeship program and began his career in the service department for the previous owner of the company when it was called Dane Electric. Showing potential, Ridgell was offered part ownership of the company until he became majority owner and renamed it Dane & Associates Electrical Company.
While the future is bright for Dane & Associates, Lewis says embracing technology is going to be a key factor of success for the company. “Computers and iPads are on the jobsites now and if you’re not ahead of the game then you’re behind,” says Lewis. “I’m really excited to see where we’ll be five years from now with our prefab shop.”
As the company continues to grow, Dane & Associates Electrical Company has the right team with the right attitude and ability to adapt to the constant change in the industry.
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