R.K. Bass Electric Inc.: Bringing Light to Central Texas
- Written by: R.K. Bass Electric Inc.: Bringing Light to Central Texas
- Produced by: R.K. Bass Electric Inc.: Bringing Light to Central Texas
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Robert Bass became interested in the electrical industry when he was just a kid. Throughout high school and for nine years after he graduated Robert worked for an electrical contractor. By 1985 he decided to go off on his own and founded R.K. Bass Electric Inc. (Bass Electric).
Bass Electric, based in Harker Heights, Texas, specializes in public sector work for education and medical facilities, as well as military operations and commercial buildings. The company designs, furnishes and installs complete electrical systems in the central Texas area.
Robert continues to be heavily involved in the business’ daily operations and is joined by his son Andy, vice president of Bass Electric. Together, the father and son duo employs an average of 75 apprentices, journeyman and master electricians. Bass Electric also participates in an apprenticeship program to help train the next generation of electricians and ultimately enhance the business’ operations.
Bass Electric is a member of the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) and participates in the network of national electrical and systems contractors. Through this association, Bass Electric has received recognition for energy-efficient work, and was named commercial contractor of the year for electrical work completed on 183 Toll Road near Austin, Texas, and the LCRA Red Bud Center in Austin, Texas.
The company also has a number of employees who have completed a 30-hour Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) course. This helps Bass Electric remain dedicated to providing a safe atmosphere for its employees on construction sites.
At Bass Electric, the team strives to keep employees safe, as well as those employees of other contractors. “We desire to provide a safe work environment for our employees on the construction site,” says Andy. “We have several employees that have completed their 30-hour and 10-hour OSHA trainings and are looking forward to see others complete this same program.”
Andy reports that Bass Electric has as many as a dozen projects going on at one time with between eight to 18 employees on a jobsite. Each site has a licensed journeyman electrician on-hand, in addition to Robert along with four other master electricians to oversee the ongoing projects.
Current projects for the company include elementary, middle and high schools, renovations at a local airport and hotel on Ft. Hood, as well as a three-story medical facility and buildings for Temple College and Central Texas College.
Much of the company’s work relies heavily on the school-year calendar with tight schedules to get students back into school on time. Despite that, Andy doesn’t see huge seasonal fluctuation in work flow. “We have a pretty regular flow of work,” he says.
Robert admits that, since the economic downturn in 2008, competition for jobs has increased. “We started to see it get more competitive as people moved out of the private sector and trying to do work in the public sector,” he says.
Bass Electric has beat out a lot of competition because of its outstanding reputation in the public sector. Andy also mentions a big help has been the company’s strong relationships with a network of general contractors.
“We have a lot of good partnerships,” he says. “There are a number of general contractors we’ve done work with and we’re sticking with them. We rely heavily on our strong business ethics and past project performance to continue work with existing customers and general contractors as well gain new customers based on these values.”
In addition to larger projects, Bass Electric has a service department available for a variety of calls. The company sets itself apart from other service electrical contractors by being aware of work surroundings. Technicians on service calls are both licensed and trained, and wear shoe covers to protect flooring. Bass Electric strives to arrive on time and with a fully stocked vehicle to limit any trips to the supply store.
While the business as a whole is dedicated to commercial and public work, the service department can also cater to residential and small commercial building and homeowner needs. Services range from a simple fix of a switch or a plug to more extensive projects like a home remodel, rewiring or electrical service rebuild.
The economy hit Bass Electric like any other business in the construction industry. Between 2009 and 2011 the company saw a drop in contracts and made vital employment decisions, Andy reports. “We reevaluated the workforce,” he says. “We just buckled down and watched our cost and went after jobs we knew would be profitable.”
By the end of 2011 things started to turn around, and 2012 proved to be a successful year. “It’s been flat the past couple of years,” says Robert. “Next year, we’re going to grow a little bit more. I see us gaining ground in 2013.”
The company is located near Fort Hood military base and both Robert and Andy see potential for job growth there. “We’re getting more and more into the government sector,” says Robert. Project potential includes work like the machine gun range the length of eight football fields that Bass Electric worked on, as well as potential area growth due to the military base.
As the company continues to look for work in new sectors, the management team is prepared and set for positive growth. “I grew up in the business,” Andy says. “RK is still involved. We couldn’t get him out of the business if we wanted to. He will always be very much involved.”
Between Robert’s years of experience and Andy’s education in business management, the father-son team will continue to run R.K. Bass Electric Inc. as a successful electrical contracting business for years to come.
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