Case Studies

Novatny Electric Company

Quality electrical contracting in northeast Ohio for 95 years

Maintaining a strong work ethic while taking care of its employees has kept Novatny Electric Company in business for 95 years. Located in Akron, Ohio, the company was founded by John P. Novatny and has thrived for nearly 100 years as an electrical contracting company serving the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

Diversity has been a contributing factor to the longevity of Novatny Electric. “We don’t necessarily have one particular niche,” says Mark Trudics, owner and president of the company. “Our strength is that we can pretty much do anything to a certain degree. In the residential market we work with a lot of the large homebuilders on new construction projects.” Novatny Electric also works on new construction projects in the commercial and industrial sectors. “This can range from wastewater plants to schools, hospitals and retail centers.”

The ability to complete projects in all sectors proves to be valuable, especially when one market might decline for a period of time. “When one part of the industry is slow, our other divisions will pick up the slack,” Trudics explains. While the economy continues to bounce back, Trudics says the residential market in Ohio has been relatively strong. “It’s not quite where it was before the market crashed but it’s getting better,” he continues.

Trudics has been with Novatny Electric since 1982 and in the industry since 1977. While still in college, he began working for a contractor. “I’ve done everything from being a truck driver and warehouse guy to estimating and project management,” recounts Trudics.

Quality over quantity

With a workforce of approximately 40 employees, Novatny Electric has reached a level where a majority of the company’s work is privately negotiated. “Historically we’ve often been involved in high-profile projects,” says Trudics. “We still continue to do that to some degree but our focus is mainly on private stuff which creates less volume but better margins.”

Focusing primarily on quality of jobs rather than quantity proved to be a major factor in surviving the recession for Novatny Electric. “Our cash flow is good and the banks support us although we don’t need to borrow as much to support the bigger jobs,” says Trudics. “Keeping our volume under control and being selective of who you work for helps to mitigate the risk.”

With the exception of a few trades, Novatny Electric is equipped to perform a majority of its work in-house. With the diverse scope of projects the company performs, there is the occasional need for excavation, lightning protection and concrete work, for which the company will hire subcontractors. “We have a solid network of business partners that rely on in those situations,” says Trudics

As a Local 306 union contractor, Novatny Electric completes projects throughout northeast Ohio. The company recently worked on a project for the J.M. Smucker Company. The project involved electrical work on a brand-new 350,000-square-foot factory. “That project was from the ground up and we did a majority of the work on it,” says Trudics. “In conjunction with that, they also built a new corporate headquarters building which we were involved in. J.M Smucker Company has been one of our great, long-term customers. We’ve been doing business with them for decades.” This has created familiarity for Novatny Electric as the company has performed work on numerous buildings on multiple occasions for the company.

Another familiar customer of is Cleveland Clinic. Novatny Electric recently completed a project for the medical center when it built a new hospital. “It was kind of a fast-track job,” says Trudics. “It had to be completed fairly quickly and we had really good people. The job turned out really well and Cleveland Clinic was very pleased.”

Trudics plans to continuously work with Cleveland Clinic as the nonprofit medical center is integrating into a hospital system in the Akron area. “Cleveland Clinic is very selective of who they work with so once you get on their list you never know what opportunities may arise.”

Looking ahead

For future work, Trudics plans to be involved with rebuilding Akron’s sewer system. “When Akron built its sewer, it was constructed as a combined system,” says Trudics. “Now the Environmental Protection Agency is coming in and telling the city that it has to separate the entire system. So that should create a lot of work for us over the next 10 to 15 years.”

Trudics is excited to see the new talent entering the industry. With a union apprenticeship program, Novatny Electric has a firsthand view of the development of journeymen as older generations begin to retire. As the company moves forward, Novatny Electric Company will continue the business practices that have sustained the company for 95 years. 

Published on: September 30, 2015

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