In Carlsbad, California, Rowan Inc. dba Rowan Electric has been building on a family tradition for 17 years. The commercial design-build electrical contractor specializes in tenant improvements, ground-up construction and in-home service and maintenance in greater San Diego County and surrounding areas. Rowan now has 120 professionals working on major commercial projects throughout the region, but maintaining a family-like company culture has always been important to Rowan Electric’s business model.
Preserving a family feel
Second-generation electrical contractors Paul Rowan, company president and Mark Rowan, vice president, co-own the business with a 60/40 percent split. “We started Rowan Electric in 1998, but we have family ties to this industry,” says Mark. “Our father started Paul’s Electric in 1970 in Mammoth Lakes, California, which is actually still in business and our middle brother now runs it.”
“In 1984, our father followed a developer down to San Diego and that’s how this branch started,” continues Mark. “Paul ran the company while he was playing minor league baseball and then when I graduated from college, I joined him. Over time, the challenge of insuring commercial work in San Diego and condominium work in Mammoth became a burden, so we separated and started Rowan Electric in San Diego. Our other brother still runs Paul’s Electric at the Mammoth Lakes location.”
Mark and Paul take great pride in the fact that Rowan Electric still remains family oriented. While Rowan Electric is an entirely separate entity, the company was founded on the principals that drove their father’s success: relationships, service and a high-quality product.
“We run a lot of large projects in terms of in-house design and preconstruction, so we can’t really look like a small mom-and-pop shop,” explains Mark. “We likely wouldn’t land large jobs if we came off that way, but if you ask our employees, they’ll tell you that we’re very focused on maintaining a family feel. We don’t have a corporate atmosphere here.”
Powering major commercial construction
Although Rowan Electric has the ethos of a mom-and-pop shop, the company’s capabilities in the commercial contracting market are extensive. Rowan Electric is well versed in: electrical design and consultation; ground-up construction of retail, office, medical and industrial installations; tenant improvements; computer and phone applications; outdoor design and installation; as well as solar, wind and standby generation. “We have a robust service department, but our niche is really in tenant improvements and ground-up construction,” details Mark.
Rowan Electric’s proficiency in design and layout allows the firm to customize electrical applications to best suit the special requirements of each project. “We just finished Sea World’s latest ride, The Manta,” says Mark. “We completed this along with the new main entrance and we’re currently helping budget the Shamu addition for Sea World in San Diego.”
Rowan Electric also just completed Legoland’s Land of Friends theme park, including a design-build water park project. In the hospitality sector, Rowan Electric has completed installations for Hyatt, Holiday Inn, the Carlsbad Inn and more. Operating in all channels of the commercial market, Rowan Electric has worked with restaurants such as the Hard Rock Café, Joe’s Crab Shack, Olive Garden, Peter Piper Pizza and many more.
Stronger from lean times
This diversity gave the company a leg up through the recession, but Mark says the firm’s size and commitment to honest business practices also saw Rowan Electric through tough times. “When the recession hit, we weren’t too top heavy and we had just landed two major contracts that helped boost business,” he recounts. “But we really knew that if we maintained honesty and integrity in our work, when times improved, we’d be remembered as a strong company. That has definitely come to fruition post-recession.”
In fact, Rowan Electric has seen significant internal growth year over year since. “We’ve grown by 20 percent every year,” says Mark. “Taking care of our people was important then and still is. Even through the recession, we made sure they had good health insurance and 401(k) benefits. We wanted to treat our employees right and knew that if we did, they would be loyal to us. As a result, we have very little turnover.”
Mark says Rowan Electric genuinely cares about its employees and their families. “That’s why we’re in business, to help others be successful too,” he says. Looking ahead, there is plenty of room to grow for Rowan Inc. as the company builds on 17 years of family-based business and trusted service in greater San Diego County.
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