SEMAC Electric Company Inc.
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: John Carioti
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
For SEMAC Electrical Company Inc. (SEMAC), based in New Britain, Conn., it’s not about being the largest electrical contractor in the state, but being the best in terms of service and reputation. Since 1946, family-owned SEMAC has been providing professional, reliable and cost-effective electrical contracting services covering the commercial, industrial and government markets.
From new construction to renovations, design-build planning to state-of-the-art photovoltaic systems, SEMAC is synonymous with exceptional service, delivering peace of mind in the most critical components of a facility; the electrical system. Salvatore Solimene founded the company in 1946 and his son, Michael Solimene, has been running the business for the last 40 years.
“We’ve grown from four electricians when I started in 1971 to over 200 and we’re now one of the largest non-union shops in the state, but size isn’t what we focus on,” says Thomas Scanlon, current president of SEMAC. “First and foremost, we have a strong core of project managers, estimators, quality foremen and field workers. We strive to do first-rate work. We also have a full CAD department with the latest 3-D CAD and BIM software used for MEP coordination on all projects. That’s why we have a good reputation with general contractors out there and that gets us our fair share of work.”
SEMAC is among the largest non-union electrical shops in Connecticut today.
While Scanlon is now president, he started at the bottom of the company ladder. “I started out as an apprentice in 1971 and worked my way up through the ranks,” he says. “Now, my 29-year-old son, Chris, is doing the same. He was an apprentice and then a journeyman and now he’s one of our estimators.”
SEMAC’s portfolio spans the commercial, industrial, government and even residential sectors. Despite the broad scope of work, the company self-performs nearly all aspects of electrical construction. “We only outsource tele data and when we do so, we hire our sister company, American Network International [ANI], to do the work,” explains Scanlon.
ANI provides copper network solutions in voice and data, audio-visual, fire alarm, paging, surveillance systems, testing and certification. On the fiber optic front, ANI offers fiber installation, fusion splicing and termination, testing, troubleshooting and emergency repair.
“We also supply and install generators and battery UPS systems that provide reliable energy during power failures,” adds Scanlon. “We keep crucial systems, such as lights, security, tele-data and computers operational.”
In the T.V. sports spotlight
One of SEMAC’s most outstanding projects is ESPN’s $175 million Digital Center 2 (DC2). With 6 million feet of fiber optic cable, 25,000 square feet of studio space and a huge glass wall that looks out onto a glass cube with graphic artists projecting images onto the screens, the new DC2 is twice the size of ESPN’s old building.
The operation went live in late June 2014, producing ESPN’s flagship show, SportsCenter, which covers staggering 18-hour days with 42 anchors. Highlights of the studio include two giant vertical video screens, dynamic backdrops for studio anchors, reporters and guests and stations where on-air talent can move around.
The bold build is a standout for SEMAC, which contributed nearly $20 million in electrical construction alone. “DC2 is a highly visible project for such a big-name client as ESPN,” says Scanlon. “We have installed many miles of conduit and wire and it’s by far one of the more unique jobs we’ve completed.”
From the entertainment world to health care, SEMAC also just completed the Central Utility Plant for the new Stamford Hospital. “We are now working on the $20 million electrical project for the new Stamford Hospital,” Scanlon continues. “This is going to be a two-yearlong project, which should be completed by mid-2015.”
Also part of SEMAC’s extensive portfolio are major projects for the University of Connecticut, including the School of Business, the bio-physics building, south campus dorms, the School of Pharmacy, the new student union, the arts and drama building and many other projects.
Other notable clients include: Quinnipiac College, where SEMAC is finishing the new School of Law, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceutical, Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University.
For the past 15 years, SEMAC has been maintaining the state of Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Incident Management System, consisting of hundreds of variable message signs and cameras along the states’ interstate highways. The system allows the state police to monitor traffic flow and accidents, as well as alert traffic to accidents, road closings and slippery conditions by posting notices on the highway message signs.
“Things have picked up this year; sometimes it comes in spurts, but it’s been a steady start to the year,” assures Scanlon. “Through the recession, it was a matter of tightening the belt and trimming the unnecessary expenses. It comes down to keeping your core business and trying to run jobs as lean as possible.”
Now that the economic storm has passed, SEMAC can focus on growing its market share, but Scanlon assures it’s not all about being the largest out there for the family-owned company. “We want to be the best, not necessarily the biggest,” he compares. “We’re known for our good work, good crews and a quality product; we’ve learned once that’s all in line, the rest takes care of itself.”
SEMAC Electric Company Inc. continues to connect Connecticut, wiring critical systems for a range of industries.
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