Case Studies

MVE Group Inc.

Personalized Service, Corporate Efficiency

The titans of the construction industry get plenty praise and media, but the true heroes of the American economy are the thousands of small businesses that focus on customer service and are always looking for ways to improve clients’ lives. The MVE Group Inc. is one of those companies. Founded in Ephrata, Pa., in 1973, the genesis of the MVE Group was Meadow Valley Electric Inc., a formerly one-man operation that has blossomed into a multi-faceted energy systems and solutions firm that employs 70 people, operates in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, and that projected a gross of around $10 millions in revenue in 2010.

CEO Barry Miller, who has been with the company since leaving trade school in 1977, chronicles the firm’s rise: “We had a total of four employees when I started. We grew because we’ve always been aggressive trying to serve the small business community in our area. First as electrical contractors, and because of the quality of our service, our community asked us to expand our services and so we continued to grow. We introduced ESCO [Sound & Security] Inc. in ’84 to offer home and business security and fire detection systems. When energy-efficient lighting came out in late ’90s, we were one of the first companies in our region to realize that the savings would pay for the installation or retrofit within a short number of years, so we rolled out MVE KWReduction Inc. And when solar finally became established as a viable option we started MVE Solar.”

Solar Energy’s Possibilities are Shining Bright
All four of the company’s divisions have thrived – allowing the MVE Group to offer  design/installation/service of industrial/commercial electrical systems, access controls, audio-video wiring, energy reduction and power quality management services and much more – but Miller is especially enthusiastic about the solar-photovoltaics division’s potential, saying, “I’ve been in this industry for 30 years. The idea of harnessing energy from the sun and feeding it back into the grid is still amazing to me.”

MVE demonstrated to the community the value of solar power on the roof of the company’s own facility in Ephrata, where MVE installed roughly 850 solar panels and three inverters that produce 198 KWs [kilowatts]. This allowed the company to immediately go from being an electricity consumer to an electricity producer, complete with annual payments from the local electric company for energy MVE is producing for the grid beyond the company’s own usage.

Because of the quality of its self-performed services, the firm is in high demand both as the prime customer and as a subcontractor for new construction projects, whether of supermarkets, churches, warehouses or residential. “We’re completely at ease with either situation,” explains Miller. “We just tell our guys that when we’re subs on a project to keep in mind that you now have two clients you need to make happy.”

Safety is Never Sacrificed
Whether working as a sub or as prime, safety is paramount at MVE. Miller details how important it is: “The thing I tell my guys over and over again, is that I don’t want to take a phone call saying someone did something wrong and got someone seriously hurt or killed. Regardless of all the other issues we have to deal with, safety is our number one concern. This is a trade where there are no shades of gray – either you do it right or you die. We have weekly safety meetings every Wednesday morning.” MVE’s dedication to safety has been recognized twice with two gold awards from the Keystone chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

The well being of the MVE Group’s workforce is considered beyond just the safety procedures. Looking towards the future, the senior partners at MVE decided to roll out an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). “I love this job and my partners and I have been in the same partnership for more than two decades, but we’re not getting younger,” states Miller. “We value our employees and want the organization to go beyond us. We’ve implemented the program and employees started purchasing stock at the beginning of 2011.”

When accepting the position of CEO at the end of 2010, Miller gave a moving speech detailing his desire to see the MVE Group develop as “an extraordinary middle-class story.” What Miller meant by this was that a focus for 2011 and beyond is to instill an understanding at all levels of the company [sales, management, warehouse and field crews] that every employee is equally valued and, no matter what position they hold, the MVE Group and its ESOP offers them an opportunity to work hard, to take ownership of their position(s) and the company, to support their families and to retire comfortably.

Another reason Miller and his partners understand the importance of building employee investment in company endeavors is because they want a key component to Meadow Valley Electric, KWReduction, ESCO and MVE Solar to be bringing a team effort to every project.  Miller describes how he believes the MVE Group’s customers should feel when one of its companies has completed a job: “When we walk away at the end of the day, I want our customers to say, ‘I want those guys back.’ That’s what it amounts to. We’ve got a lot of long-term, well-trained staff with multiple licenses, and they are kept up to date on safety and the technical aspects of the trade. We’re always looking for new ways to serve our customers so they have the most efficient building possible.”

That’s exactly the type of attitude that makes the MVE Group Inc. one of America’s small-town heroes, and that will continue to contribute to an organization establishing a sense of pride and a commitment to accomplishment throughout every employee and job site.

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Spring 2018



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