Electrical Contractors Inc.
Since 1971 Electrical Contractors Inc. (ECI) has served Connecticut and western Massachusetts with certified, full-service electrical contracting and professional assistance in preconstruction planning, coordination and project management. “Our diversity sets us apart,” explains Lou Bona, president and co-founder of ECI. “We can do almost anything, from our 24/7 service department to traffic signals and everything in between.”
Lou entered the electrical contracting industry in 1966 at a previous firm where he met his business partner. “I was working for another contractor and my former partner and I started doing some side work,” he recalls. “Things began to grow and we made the decision to start our own business.”
Fully Equipped for Full Service
Several years later, in 1971, the pair founded ECI. Since then, the ECI team has been providing a variety of electrical services throughout Connecticut and western Massachusetts with more than 120 professionally licensed electricians and registered apprentices.
“We offer fast, dependable service,” adds Lou. “Our team has the knowledge and skill set that really makes the difference. I have guys that have been here for more than 36 years; that’s almost our entire run as a company.”
Lou is also proud to note that ECI has all it needs to succeed. “We have all of the necessary equipment to do all kinds of jobs: bucket trucks, backhoes, dump trucks and road-cutting machines,” he continues. “We deliver projects on time and on budget for hospitals, schools, office buildings, telecommunications and data, institutional facilities; you name it… we do just about everything.”
Shedding some Light on High-profile Projects
For years ECI has been connecting clients, wiring each for success. “Back in 2002, one of our most highlighted projects was the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame [Naismith Memorial] in Springfield, Mass.,” reveals Lou. “We completed a 90-foot diameter dome with a striking 180-foot-tall lighting spire that can be seen from far away in surrounding area towns. We illuminated the exterior roof with 812 computer-controlled fixtures capable of producing 16.7 million colors in any array of patterns and designs.”
The exterior of the Naismith Memorial features a three-story, 196-foot pedestrian bridge that links the Hall of Fame to the revitalized riverfront, crossing more than two sets of Amtrak rails. ECI incorporated theatrical building lighting systems with high-tech dimming and lighting controls for the entire complex, backed by a multiplex fire-alarm system interfaced with the lighting controls.
That is not the only high-profile client the team has secured. Cabela’s, one of the nation’s most well-known outdoor sporting retailers, hired ECI for a complete installation of its comprehensive electrical, data, phone systems, fire and safety, security and lighting of its East Hartford store. Throughout the six-month, $2.8 million job, ECI worked in cooperation with Cabela’s designers to achieve the retailer’s signature hunting lodge-style store.
“The lighting portion of this project was intensive, because it plays a crucial part in the impressive visual experience at Cabela’s stores and captures a feeling of outdoor recreation for shoppers,” explains Lou. “We completed detailed wiring and special lighting for unique interior features, including a 40-foot conservation mountain, two massive 8,000-gallon aquariums under the mountain, an original 1960s bush pilot plane hanging from the rafters of a 60-foot atrium entrance, also an exterior bronze statue, themed restaurant area and more than 300 taxidermy animals, such as deer, elk and moose.”
ECI’s team of 36 fully licensed electricians completed the job within six months, self-performing more than 85 percent of the work. The company only subcontracted specialty services, such as data and lighting protection.
Lou adds that ECI also completed the large-scale headquarters for the Hartford Insurance Group in Windsor, Conn. “It was about a $15 million, brand-new, ground-up building that took us two years,” he shares.
Nonetheless, Lou admits ECI has faced some challenges in recent years. “Before the recession, there wasn’t a lot of money to be made … now there’s really not a lot of money or work out there,” he notes. “We’re just trying to stay competitive and be as efficient as possible. Back in our heyday we were up around $40 million in annual sales, and now I’d say we do about $20 million. We’re definitely in a conservative mode, but we’re starting to see a bit of an upswing.”
However, he and the ECI team remain optimistic, and Lou says the best thing is to take it one day at a time. “We’re going to take it as it comes; after all, this is a cyclical business, so we just need to ride it out and control our overhead and we’ll be OK,” he adds.
No matter how tight the financials are amid the economic downturn, Lou says he’s always trying to give back to the people who matter: his employees. “We like to keep the money in our company and reinvest in ECI,” he says. “I give back to our employees, because without them we wouldn’t have the opportunity for growth or success.” For 42 years Electrical Contractors Inc.’s trusted team has connected clients throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts, wiring each for success.
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