Case Studies

O’Mahony & Sons Electrical Inc.

Growing business, based on family values and exceptional service

Running a small business is more than a full-time job. More often than not, it means spending countless hours outside of the office, working from home and making many sacrifices. As the head of woman-run O’Mahony & Sons Electrical Inc. (OME), nobody knows this better than Stephanie O’Mahony, CEO of the Boston-based full-service electrical contracting firm.

Stephanie and her husband, John, started OME out of the basement of their home in 2001. Over the last 13 years, she says the company has grown well beyond their initial expectations. “We started renting a space and after about a year we made plans for our own building,” recalls Stephanie. “We’ve split into two companies to accommodate growth; OME and O’Mahony Electrical Services (OMES). OME, the construction division that concentrates on new construction, does the contracting work with the majority of our employees; about 55 professionals. OMES launched as a dedicated maintenance and emergency service company.”

As the company’s reputation has blossomed, so has its client base and now OMES works on a lengthy list of ongoing maintenance contracts. “With service and maintenance expanding so rapidly, we found that we were pulling electricians off construction projects for service and maintenance work,” tells Stephanie. “This was affecting the large jobs. So, I made the decision to create two separate companies with dedicated employees for each. It has been working out great since. It’s growing, growing, growing; it’s almost overwhelming, because I have so many things to do every day.”

Hands-on ownership

For OME, it’s all about family, from its employees to second-generation ownership. “We’re a family-based operation,” says Stephanie. “John is the general foreman in charge of our field operations and I handle the finances, payroll, taxes – you name it. Technically, I own and operate the company, but we do it as a team.”

“I’m always working, sometimes 12-plus hours a day,” adds Stephanie. “I know what’s going on with the union and what’s going out to bid.”

Despite a laundry list of tasks, Stephanie says she likes to keep it old school. “We don’t have a website yet and people tease me about that, but I like to pick up the phone and talk to a customer or see them in person over emailing or connecting online,” she explains. “We’re always heading out to see customers directly and if there’s an emergency, the calls are directed to our phones. I’m involved 100 percent.”

A model standard

Stephanie says she wouldn’t be able to do it without the help of a high-quality union workforce. “We’re a proud union shop affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers [IBEW] Local 103,” she details. “We currently are running at about 55 union employees and most of the guys who are with us have been since we opened the door in 2001. We slow down from time to time and have to cut back, but we know we can always call on them.”

In keeping the family tradition alive, Stephanie says her son, Christopher, has recently graduated from college and has joined the Local 103’s outstanding apprenticeship program. “My middle daughter, whose 16 years old, is also going to school at Whittier Vocational Technical High School to be an electrician and plans to join the business and we have one more child coming up through the ropes,” she reveals.

Stephanie emphasizes the importance of union apprenticeship programs and attracting people to trade professions. “There’s this misconception that if you go to tech schools you can’t go to college and that’s simply not true,” she says. “The union is fantastic; you pay into it, but you’re taken care of and there’s a five-year apprenticeship program of free education. Where else can you go and get that?”

She says this makes her job easier at the end of the day. “If we call up Local 103 and say we need five journeymen to start Monday, we know we’re getting qualified professionals,” she shares. “We know we’re getting a top quality person.”

It’s this quality workforce that has a growing number of commercial clients in the Greater Boston area and big-name general contractors calling on OME and OMES. From Bulfinch Companies Inc. to Elaine Construction, Commodore Builders, Metropolitan Construction to Jones Lang LaSalle, Broadway Realty, MJA Construction, Coresite and Internap, more large builders trust the O’Mahony companies for tried and true electrical contracting.

Repeat relationships

Through many years of dedication working closely with Robert Schlager of the Bulfinch Companies Inc., OME has had opportunities to provide electrical services at many Bulfinch properties. Over the years the company also has helped construct many of the Bulfinch Companies’ commercial office and retail buildings, including the current projects underway at Cambridge Discovery Park in Cambridge, Mass.

According to Stephanie, the continued success of OME comes back to the kind of service that fosters a good relationship – and at the end of the day, if clients and employees are happy, it’s a job well done. “We’re very proud of our company and its family atmosphere,” she says. “We have a great team of people working for us.”

The team continues to push for the best and highest quality electrical service, allowing O’Mahony & Sons Electrical Inc. and O’Mahony Electrical Services Inc. to stand out in a crowded Boston marketplace.

Published on: April 10, 2015

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