Kanta Electric Corp.
For more than 25 years, Kanta Electric Corp. (KEC) has been providing New York City with diverse complex electrical projects. Prakash Kapadia established the business in 1991. Today, he serves as owner and president alongside his sons, Parag and Paras Kapadia, who work as assistant controller and project engineer, respectively. Parag has been working with the business full-time for three years; he has been integral in building business relationships and collaborating with clients and strategic partners.
The business stands apart from other electrical companies in New York with leading experience and a reputation for quality and value. “Ours is a known name with larger construction managers and general contractors,” Parag notes. “We do not perform much in the way of design-build. The majority is straightforward, where we work with the engineering team, get the drawings, price it out. When we bid, we are the lowest and get the project. In some instances, we also provide additional value engineering input on a case by case basis. Sometimes, we sit down with the owner and the construction manager to identify from an electrical point of view where we can help save money. We will reroute aspects or change systems so the end-user can realize those savings in the short- and long-term.”
A growing portfolio
Over the years, these relationships have culminated in a strong, growing portfolio of projects for KEC. The vast majority of the company’s work is for public clients at the city and state levels. The team has worked for local agencies, such as the New York City School Construction Authority, the Port Authority (PANY/NJ), the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), The Dormitory Authority (DASNY), as well as several semi-public contracts for higher education institutions, such as Columbia University, Brooklyn College and St. John’s University, to name a few.
The team recently completed the installation of solar panels at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. “This was the smart grid project,” Prakash elaborates. “The owner was the New York City Economic Development Corporation and our construction partner was Plaza Construction. The most challenging component was the procurement of equipment and materials. We had to purchase a special, customized battery to integrate into the building that we had shipped from Hitachi in Japan. We had a lot of long lead items, furnished specifically for this project to be used in this structure. That has an effect on our critical path method and how quickly we can reach milestones. Aside from that, the project was, in general, very different for us. We have experience with alternative energy projects, but they are not something that makes up a huge percentage of our work.”
The crew also recently performed a major electrical overhaul at the Bronx County Civil and Criminal Courthouse. “This was an electrical infrastructure upgrade of the 12-story structure,” Parag explains. “We removed and replaced the entire existing electrical infrastructure, including the main switchgears and an emergency generator installation on the roof. We had to rig the new 2500-kilowatt generator from street level and raise it 12 stories above grade. Our rigging partners performed that work. It was about 60 feet long.”
Parag explains that the team also recently completed work at piers two and three at Brooklyn Bridge Park with Turner Construction. “The park is along the water overlooking lower Manhattan,” he details. “We did all the electrical work for two of the four piers there. The renovated site also includes tennis courts. We installed all the site lighting for the project and we also brought in power from the street.”
In terms of labor, KEC performs more than 90 percent in-house. “We will sub out up to 10 percent of a project for specialty items, such as concrete, structural, rigging and HVAC,” Parag says. With so much accountability on each project, the team relies on a strong management structure to keep operations moving smoothly, efficiently and safely. The business employs a full-time safety manager, which offers peace of mind to general contractors and project owners. Furthermore, all KEC field personnel are at the very least OSHA 10-hour safety-certified.
The full-service company has established a strong reputation for quality public projects. Word gets around in New York and KEC’s services are in high demand. This growing success has attracted more private work, which Parag says will become a larger and larger part of the business. The team has completed several projects for UBS Financial Services and has contracts for maintenance with several of the larger buildings in midtown Manhattan, as well.
Construction is picking up in the city, which means Prakash and his team have boundless opportunities within the service region. The firm was featured on 2014’s Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America, a testament to Prakash’s hard work and vision. The company has several large projects coming down the pipeline, including work for the New York City School Construction Authority as part of its $12 billion five-year capital plan from 2015 to 2019, as well as with other city and state entities. Kanta Electric Corp. is a strong local family business that continues to make connections that will carry success into the next generation.
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