Case Studies

Owen Electric Company Inc.

Keeping Promises

Owen Electric Company Inc. (Owen Electric) takes its position as an employer seriously. Owen Electric keeps its promises on the job and at the office; the goal now is to build back up to pre-recession numbers and keep its team stocked with high-quality jobs, to make money, feed families and feel secure. From its location in St. Augustine, Owen Electric is on its way to that goal, steadily climbing and witnessing the market finally rebounding in northeast Florida.

The company was founded in 1986 by Mick Owen, president of Owen Electric. The company is now diligently managed by Mick’s son, Ryan Owen, who served in the National Guard for six years.

While with the National Guard, Ryan joined the family business. “I took to estimating and never left,” Ryan says, who continues to enjoy the work, as well as the people. “We have a good group of people,” he details. “We couldn’t do what we do without our team.”

Going After It

As pre-construction manager, Ryan has his hands full as he gathers a full plate of work for his team. “We go where the work is,” he says. The company does most its work in northeast Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, but is certified for electrical work in Texas, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee, as well. In order to stay afloat the company casted a wider net; available to go the distance, Owen Electric even traveled with a client to the British Virgin Islands.

Owen Electric’s projects include new construction, renovations, tenant build-outs, additions and rewiring. The company does all the work on fire alarms, security and other low voltage systems, as well as industrial motor controls, including PLCs and variable frequency drive units. Service offerings include warranty and preventative maintenance, as well.

The company completes almost all the work it is called in for as an electrical contractor, subbing out only voice and data system work. When subcontractors are needed, Owen Electric relies on the same trusted network of suppliers. “We’re a team,” acknowledges Ryan. “We’re all in it together. We all have to be able to make money and be happy and go work on the next project.”

Speaking of the economy, Ryan says, “It is bouncing back some, and we’re finally seeing more work come through on the private side, which is promising.” Having weathered the recession thanks to being sought out by repeat clients due to its solid reputation, Owen Electric is now looking forward to securing more work with repeat, as well as new clients.

Staying Strong

The people come first at Owen Electric: employees, subcontractors and clients. While looking out for its team of anywhere between 50 and 70 loyal employees, the motto at the company is to employ the best, use team work and treat everyone with respect.

Owen Electric offers great pay and comprehensive benefit programs for employees and families alike. The company tries to promote from within and provides outstanding promotional opportunities, including support in developing skills and sharing knowledge. Above all, Owen strives to provide long-term, stable employment.

“With a reliable team we’re able to complete a high quality job for our customers,” Ryan continues. “Our reputation speaks for itself.” To win over customers, Owen Electric uses a no-excuses problem-solving technique, which includes jobs getting done the right way, on time… no matter what.

Tackled projects for Owen Electric include a wide variety of structures in many markets: primary and secondary education campuses, government complexes, industrial facilities, grocery stores, prisons, hotels, nursing homes, restaurants, airports, warehouses, shopping centers, offices, churches, hospitals, surgery centers, research labs, museums and condos, amongst others.

“For the last eight to 10 years we’ve been more involved in the larger commercial market,” explains Ryan. “We’ve also been doing more work for the government and military.”

A few recent jobs in these increased areas of concentration are: the General Services Administration/FBI Complex, a four-story building; the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., a three-story, 62,000-square-foot expansion and renovation that included a state-of-the-art surgical suite and physical/occupational therapy addition; and Ocean Towers at Hammock Beach. Projects on a grand scale are the usual for Owen Electric, and the UNF Performing Arts Center is one prime example.

Fast and Flexible

Part of what keeping promises means to Owen Electric is sticking to a schedule – even if it’s demanding. “We have good superintendents and project managers,” says Ryan. “These guys can meet all the schedules, and we’ve never had to not finish a project.” Ryan’s confidence is a result of Owen Electric’s commitment to invest in training and keeping skilled workmen; the company’s team reflects this initiative.

With no true niche, Owen Electric is happy meeting the many needs of its many – mainly commercial – clients. “We have a client base that we call on,” says Ryan. “This helps us out tremendously. We service them the very best we can.”

As the private sector starts to come back, the work at Owen Electric will shift to incorporate this improvement. “We’ve done a lot of state and federal work for the past five years,” Ryan says. Although the type of work will fluctuate, the job has to be high quality with a healthy margin. “We’re not trying to take in too much work with low margins,” continues Ryan.

With a good core base of superintendents and technicians, Owen Electric can afford to be a little picky. The company will travel to where the work is; however, the work is always of a certain caliber. From here, the company is well off to start growing again, to get back up to where it was pre-recession. “We won’t do it too fast,” says Ryan. “But we’re ready to grow.” With a strong team and leadership confidence, Owen Electric Company Inc. is on a steady path to success.

Published on: July 10, 2014

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