Doleac Electric Company Inc.
Since forming in 1947 Doleac Electric Company Inc. has grown to become a driving force in the electrical construction industry throughout south Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. With some of the most highly trained International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) field personnel in the industry, Doleac Electric has completed complex electrical projects at NASA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Keesler Air Force Base, Department of Defense, Huntington Ingalls Ship Building and many others that have entrusted Doleac Electric with electrical installations.
With offices in Hattiesburg and Gulfport, Mississippi, Doleac Electric is well positioned to serve the Gulf Coast and south Mississippi markets. The company’s extensive electrical services include: design-build project delivery, health care facilities, commercial retail developments, industries facilities, manufacturing plants, water treatments facilities, educational facilities, institutional facilities, data processing facilities and Depart of Defense facilities.Humble beginnings in Hattiesburg
Now in the second generation of family ownership, Doleac Electric started as a modest residential and commercial contractor in Hattiesburg. Established by Malcom C. Doleac, the capital to launch the business included $500 and a used service truck. The original employees of the company included Malcom and his close friend, Jerry N. Daniel, both journeyman wiremen and charter members of what was then Local Union 1575.
Doleac Electric’s affiliation with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) reaches far back in the company’s history. In 1994 the firm also formally became a member of the Gulf Coast chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
“Although we’ve been a NECA member since 1994, my father and Jerry were charter IBEW contractors with longtime ties to the IBEW” explains Donnie. “We have been with the IBEW for a long time.”
Today, Donnie Doleac and his brother Larry, respectively president and vice president of Doleac Electric, carry on this tradition as equal owners of the company. “Larry and I have been running the company since 1972, shaping it from a small-scale contractor to an industrial, health care and government contractor with two locations,” says Donnie.
Donnie manages the internal operations of the company while Larry manages the field operations. In the early ’80s the company began to make a concerted effort to pursue more commercial, industrial, retail and institutional projects.
Setting up shop in Gulfport
After great success in Hattiesburg, Doleac Electric saw a viable market in the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In 1994, the company opened its Gulfport division office to better serve a concentration of Department of Defense
, military and industrial construction in the seaport.
Doleac Electric began to pursue the military market at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi, as well as the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport and the John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi. “There isn’t a whole lot of large industry in Hattiesburg, so we decided it was time to expand our operations to the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” says Donnie.
After several years of hard work and perseverance, the company was able to carve a niche along the Gulf Coast. “Currently our normal market area is from Jackson, Mississippi, south to the Mississippi Gulf Coast as well as Mobile, Alabama, and south Louisiana,” says Donnie. “We are currently employing about 125 to 150 skilled trades people, and have employed as many as 300.”
Preparing for liftoff
A core of qualified, competent labor is crucial to Doleac Electric’s operation, particularly in the military and industrial arena. “The work we are performing now consists of heavy industrial installations,” explains Donnie. “NASA requires competent well qualified contractors to perform their work.”
Over the years, Doleac Electric has built stands and controls for rocket testing at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. “This is extremely heavy industrial electrical work,” says Donnie. “Much of this work has to be explosion-proof and there’s a lot of power and control work that goes into the project.”
More recently, the company completed the electrical installation for the specialized A-3 test stand for the space center. “Now we’re working on renovating the B-2 test stand,” adds Donnie. “Over the years we’ve earned the trust and confidence of the people who run these major facilities.”
Also out of the Gulfport division, Doleac Electric performs a range of data center, shipyard and critical care work, including the Ingalls Shipyard, the Veterans Affairs Center Medical Clinic in Jackson and Keesler Medical Center in Biloxi. “At the Keesler Air Force Base we’re renovating an entire hospital while other areas remain fully operational,” shares Donnie. “Our portion of electrical work is worth approximately $8 million.”
In Hattiesburg, Doleac Electric has completed several health care facilities. “Highland Community Hospital in Picayune is a full service, ground-up $50 million project with around $4 million in electrical scope,” says Donnie. “We also did the Orthopedic Institute portion of Forrest General with a $3 million electrical portion.”
Safety and service to hang your hat on
Donnie says the reason major clients come to Doleac Electric time and time is again is the company’s reputation for quality installations, service and industry-leading safety. “What we feel sets us apart is our insistence on quality installations by our personnel – to the point where if we don’t like the way something is installed, we’ll take it out and reinstall it ourselves,” explains Donnie. “We’re really conscious of our reputation as a quality electrical contractor. We tell people all the time, ‘we may not be the cheapest, but you won’t find a better installation, warrantee or level of service’ – that’s what we really hang our hats on.”
Safety is another cornerstone in Doleac Electric’s culture. Dennis Stokes has been the company’s corporate safety director for many years. “We’re very proactive when it comes to safety,” says Donnie. “When you work for the government and industrial clients, you’ve got to work safe and we require all of our employees to attend numerous safety trainings.”
All Doleac Electric foremen have, at bare minimum, 30 hours of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training and all journeymen electricians have at least 10 hours of OSHA training annually.
Leveraging a competitive advantage with CW/CE labor
Passing this safety culture on through all employees, even to newly added Construction Wireman/Construction Electricians (CW/CE), is of major concern for Doleac Electric. “Outside of the government and industrial markets, or any Davis Bacon Act project, we have been able to implement CW/CEs, which we tend to recruit directly” shares Donnie.
“This class of labor has been beneficial to us in the private sector, such as a $3 million project at the University of Southern Mississippi,” he adds. “We give them a task we know they can accomplish, and they’re supervised closely by our foremen. CW/CEs typically require more oversight than a journeyman-wireman.”
Despite the discrepancy in experience, Donnie says Doleac Electric and the local Gulf Coast NECA chapter along with the IBEW have spearheaded an effort to encourage industry electricians to be inclusive of CW/CEs. “We encourage our people to be inclusive of everyone because this industry is all about people; you generally have to work with someone you may not see eye to eye with or with apprentices and union-non shop subcontractors,” he adds.
“The program has come a long way in the last couple of years,” adds Donnie. “We’ve had regional meetings with NECA and IBEW officials to discuss implementing the program, and its benefits and pitfalls. There’s a big push to use it because our ability to draw on a trained labor force is huge, especially when it’s been so tight in recent years.”
Donnie says the reality is that CW/CEs are allowing NECA contractors to win more bids and gain more market share in places they normally wouldn’t have been so competitive.
Implementing more competitive CW/CE labor has certainly helped Doleac Electric in the private sector, but whether in the private sector or industrial-government market, the company’s standby is its reputation for quality installations, industry leading safety and time-tested experience.
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