- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
With three generations of electrical excellence, Electricraft Inc. (Electricraft) isn’t afraid of a challenge. “We like projects that people say: A. cannot be done; or B. are too high risk,” shares Jon “Wes” Treder, president and co-owner of Electricraft. “Those are the kind of jobs we go after, not just standard, run-of-the-mill projects. Over the years, we have tried to stay diversified in all aspects of the electrical industry so that we can handle any type of project.”
A Lifelong Career
This drive to be the best-of-the-best traces back to Treder’s father and grandfather, who founded Electricraft in 1984. “My grandfather was an electrician by trade working as an estimator and project manager for a large contractor in the Los Angeles area in the early 1980s,” recalls Treder. “My grandfather’s boss passed away. At the same time, my father was just getting Electricraft started, so they decided to team up and form a family-run company.”
Treder followed in his family’s footsteps, joining the IBEW Local 639 electrical apprenticeship program after high school in 1996. “Even through high school, I was cleaning up the shop and pulling material to get an understanding of the business,” he reveals. “I’ve been doing this for almost half of my life, but I’m only 35 years old and my brother, Jake, who’s my partner, is only 33 years old, so we have long careers ahead of us.”
Though the team has a long career waiting ahead, each member has much to contribute. “We’re electricians by trade and we have gone through the apprenticeship program,” continues Treder. “We have been out in the field, doing the same stuff our guys are doing and we won’t ask them to do anything we won’t do ourselves.”
Electricraft focuses on treating its employees like family and maintaining family ownership. “We’re truly a family-oriented business,” claims Treder. “My father is still involved to an extent, along with my brother and my sister-in-law who’s in accounting. My sons will eventually join as soon as they can push a broom.”
Today, Electricraft remains based in San Luis Obispo, Calif., the same town where Treder was born and raised. “We currently have about 50 employees,” he shares. “We work throughout California, going anywhere a project demands. We do a lot of military projects so we’re always traveling between various bases.”
But for the most part, Electricraft works within the fairly small San Luis Obispo market. “It’s a small community around here with pretty much the same players bidding on projects,” explains Treder. “We’re all friendly, though. We go to NECA events together, one of the local chapter organizations we’re a part of, but we compete day-to-day.”
Putting Experience to Work to Keep Pace
Electricraft’s in-house staff, along with field foremen and electricians, offers more than 240 years of combined general electrical construction, service, project management and turnkey design-build expertise, giving the company a leg up on the local competition.
“Our foremen and journeymen have completed or attained state-approved apprenticeship program standards and attend training and technical conferences on a continuing basis to maintain their skills, as well as training to stay current with the progressive electrical industry.” – the company’s website reads.
“The technology in our industry is changing almost day-to-day,” reveals Treder. “That’s why we have partnered with the California Lighting and Technology Center [CLTC] to test new products.”
Treder explains how CLTC gets manufacturers to provide new products and customers to implement them in case studies. “We have been involved in a great deal of LED lighting research and development for the past five years,” he reveals. “We’ve helped manufacturers make products more user-friendly from an installation standpoint, while in turn, getting valuable firsthand experience that has put us ahead of the game with new technologies. When competitive projects come along, we know we can go in and install in less time and that gives us an edge.”
This knowledge comes in particularly handy when upgrading 10,000 light fixtures as Electricraft did at Vanderburgh Air Force Base. “We have been doing a lot of retrofits at military bases because that’s a big part of the market now and we’re geared up for the change,” adds Treder.
Aside from retrofits and energy-saving lighting upgrades, Electricraft has performed a range of other unique jobs. “One of our most interesting projects was for the U.S. Department of Interior at the Bradbury Dam on Lake Cachuma,” shares Treder. “We had to float cables, keeping them 10 feet below the surface by developing specialized buoys.”
According to Treder, the company performed a similar project for a security job at Folsom Dam. “Power and water obviously don’t mix but we had to protect the face of the dam from a potential terrorist attack by designing and installing an alarm system,” he explains.
No matter the project, Electricraft implements years of trusted experience while incorporating the newest industry-leading technologies. “Having young ownership is a benefit,” says Treder. “We stay up-to-date on emerging technologies and that’s helped to keep us busy and growing in tough economic times. While others have struggled, we have grown significantly over the last five years and I think that’s one of the biggest reasons why.”
It is evident Treder is proud of how far the company has come, as 2014 marks nearly 30 years in business for the family-owned and -operated company. Electricraft Inc. continues a family tradition and a long line of trusted electrical contracting, while keeping pace with modern efficiencies.
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