- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
With its top priorities centered on safety and customer satisfaction, ESI Electrical has become one of the leading electrical contractors in the Midwest. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio, ESI provides the entire spectrum of electrical installations, including wiring, control systems and telecommunications.
Diversification throughout the industry is an asset that has created a wealth of success for ESI over the past 50 years. Founded in 1966, ESI completes numerous electrical projects in multiple facets of the industrial and commercial electrical sectors. “We do a lot of health care, industrial wastewater and research development work,” says Matt Hartshorn, vice president of ESI. “We also perform a fair amount of utility work as well.”
Relying on experience and expertise, ESI has become well-known for meeting the wants and needs of its clients with its ability to offer design-build services. The company’s value-added engineering provides a cost-saving method for clients and helps to ensure that projects meet budget expectations. By providing AutoCAD and building information modeling (BIM) CAD image drawings, ESI is able to finalize conceptual designs for a project and provide an engineer’s stamp for any project.
In focusing on the safety and well-being of its workers, ESI follows and trains all of its foremen in the Human Performance Initiative and takes part in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Challenge. The three stages of the OSHA Challenge guide employers and workers through the initial planning, development and implementation of an effective safety and health-management program. “All of our workers often tell us how they have never worked for a company as safety-conscious as ESI,” says Tom Schroth, president of ESI.
Application to the industry
Recently, ESI has incorporated a prefabrication division into its operation. “We’ve always dabbled in prefab on certain projects,” Schroth explains. “Within the past year we have made an initiative to find as many opportunities as we can to do it.”
ESI is currently involved in the construction of a residence hall at Miami University, in which it has been able to showcase the talents of its prefab division. “We are prefabricating all of the overhead racks,” says Schroth. “We’re doing it all here in our warehouse, which is a controlled environment and makes for a quicker and safer workspace.”
Another recent job completed by ESI was the Wright-Patterson Medical Center at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn, Ohio. This three-year job entailed the construction of a $30 million research and data center that was built as an addition to the facility. “We did all the electrical, lighting and lighting controls,” says Hartshorn. “The voice data system was the only thing that we subbed out.”
NECA and the use of CW/CEs
In an effort to make full use of construction wiremen/construction electricians (CW/CEs), ESI is utilizing new associates in its prefabrication division. The company is using CW/CEs almost exclusively in its Dayton location, where ESI is indoctrinating workers into the trade with training and experience. “Many people in the CW/CE program are coming in right out of high school,” says Hartshorn. “This is a very effective method to train them in the tools of the trade. It also gives them a chance to decide if this is what they want to continue with as a career.”
With the ebb and flow of the industry, ESI has established an effective method of employing CW/CEs according to its workflow. “We get the work first and then hire the CW/CEs,” says Schroth. “They’re in good hands when they come to work for us and the good ones typically become apprentices within a year.”
Schroth feels that embracing the CW/CE program is important for all contractors in the industry. “It’s a really good program,” says Schroth. “I would advise people to use CW/CEs for what they are because it’s going to help our companies in the future as a screening process for our apprenticeship programs.”
In addition to his 38 years in the industry, Schroth has been a member of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) for 28 years. Although he does not attend every NECA convention, when he does make the trip, Schroth finds numerous aspects about the show that are beneficial and educational. “I enjoy attending the classes and reconnecting with people that I have met throughout the industry over the years,” says Schroth. “It’s important for the networking aspect and to see all of the new products on the market.”
With the use of CW/CEs and the expansion of services, such as prefabrication, ESI is well-equipped to move into the future. As the economy bounces back from the recession and the construction industry rebounds, ESI Electrical will remain a leading electrical company in the Midwest.
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