Case Studies

Harmon’s Electric Inc.

Full-service electrical in Oklahoma's oil fields

After 30 years as an Oklahoma-based electrical contractor, family-owned Harmon’s Electric Inc. (Harmon’s Electric) is taking it to the next level, turning to the oil fields for booming business and big-name client base. Headquartered in Ringwood, Oklahoma, with a satellite office in Dacoma, Harmon’s Electric has grown by leaps and bounds since the company kicked off in 1984.

Harmon’s Electric was established more than 30 years ago by Ernie Harmon, president of the full-service electrical company. “My father was an electrical contractor too, doing commercial and residential work,” shares Ernie. “I started helping him when I was 12 years old and learned everything I could from him.”

Onto the second generation

By the time Ernie was a young man at 28 years old; he was already a Master Electrician and prepared to make a go on his own. He established Harmon’s Electric in 1984. After several years of operating with a small crew, Ernie decided to incorporate the company in 2000.

Today, Harmon’s Electric employs a team of 35 professionals serving the company’s home state and beyond in the oil field, power line, industrial and commercial markets. Although Harmon’s Electric has evolved and expanded, the company remains a strong family-run entity.

Tyler Harmon, Ernie’s son, is chief operations officer and Jennifer Bauman, his daughter is company CFO. The brother-sister team now runs the day-to-day operations of Harmon’s Electric while Ernie focuses on developing new business and maintaining relationships with current customers. “Integrity, excellence and safety -those are the principles we’ve been building on now for more than three decades and we still stand by them,” adds Ernie.

Full-service in the oil field

Over the years, the company has transitioned into a range of services covering everything from power line distribution and full ESP hookups to maintenance; industrial installation and automation to oil field full automation, lightning protection and full tank battery electrical installation and more. “Now 99 percent of our work is in the oil field doing electrical work from start to finish,” says Ernie. “Harmon’s Electric can do everything from putting up power lines all the way to wireless communication, automation and the last little controls that make an oil field outfit work. There aren’t a lot of other companies that offer everything.”

This means Harmon’s Electric works with some of the biggest names in the industry -Midstate Petroleum and Chesapeake Energy Corporation just to name a few. “Our target market is oil company owners,” shares Ernie. “It took a while to build it up but we’ve had good luck keeping customers through the years- we strive to make the customer happy then we worry about the money.”

Ernie says one of the biggest happenings in the oil fields is starting up iodine plants to extract the saltwater out of the product. “We’ve wired four of these iodine plants in the last year,” he tells. “Typically, each plant has an IntelliCenter control room that’s 20-feet-by-30-feet for all of the electrical controls and there are at least 25 pumps, as well as chemical tanks -it’s a very complex system electrically speaking.”

Ernie says most of the drilling and need for such plants are in rural Alva, Oklahoma, but Harmon’s Electric has spanned into Kansas and Texas as well following major clients. “They’ve started doing multiwell pads with four wells on one big pad, which also means there’s four-times the wiring; it’s a complex installation,” he assures.

In fact, there is so much activity in this sector that Ernie says the backlog for Harmon’s Electric is extensive. “As long as they keep drilling, things will keep moving for us,” he says.

Consistent customer service and relationships

It’s quite a change in tune from the challenges of 2008 and the onset of the recession. “We struggled, there’s no doubt about that,” Ernie recalls. “We just cut back and hung in there while taking care of customers. That’s what got us through; our customers stayed with us through the bad and are now with us in the good.”

Labor and materials remain costly expenses for Harmon’s Electric. “Some guys in the field are out there making $30-an-hour, 60 hours a week -that quickly adds up,” measures Ernie. “But quality people are worth the expense. For the most part, we self-perform our work, unless there’s a larger project we may subcontract if we need to ramp up because we don’t want to tell the customer we can’t keep up.”

From direct employees to subcontractors, Ernie says safety is a first-and-foremost mindset for Harmon’s Electric. “We’re around explosives and high pressure material and heavy equipment so safety comes first,” he adds. “We measure it via progress reports, as well as on-the-job performance. There’s a big white board in the office and its full everyday with notes.”

Now, 30 years later, Ernie is looking to retire, to take more time to enjoy his favorite pass times, like watching the Oklahoma Sooners. “I thought I’d be retiring sooner, months ago, but it keeps drawing me back,” he says. “I know things are in good hands though with Jennifer and Tyler. I feel proud to pass the company onto them.”

“My Dads been in the business for more than 30 years,” adds Jennifer. “The transition started to really take place in 2014, but my brother is an electrician by trade and I have a business background, so together, we’re ready to take on the challenge. Dad will still be around to help, but he’s stepping back and letting us take the reins.”

For more than three decades, Harmon’s Electric Inc. has been a trusted family name in full-service electrical contracting -a tradition that continues into the second generation.

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