Sir Raleigh Electric Inc.
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Dave Gushee
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Since 1994 Sir Raleigh Electric Inc. (SRE) has been making a name for itself in the Raleigh-Durham area as a standout union shop. “Union electrical contractors are hard to come by in this area; there’s only two or three companies like us,” says Michael Cribbs, co-founder and president of SRE. “We’ve built our reputation as big believers in high-quality manpower and doing things right the first time.”
SRE offers area commercial and industrial customers complete electric service, including lighting and protection, security camera and card-access integration, thermal imaging, blackout services, prevention services and day-to-day design, build and maintenance of electrical systems.
Based in Garner, North Carolina, SRE has positioned itself for growth in the economic upturn by adhering to the values of honesty, integrity and trust. “Much of our success is due to honesty in decisions, integrity in relationships and trust in people,” says Cribbs. “We consider these non-negotiable responsibilities of doing business and thereby we are committed to providing the highest quality of service to our customers.”
Making Raleigh home
Cribbs established SRE in 1994 with his longtime partner, Dan Herndon. “Dan and I went through the IBEW apprenticeship program together and we were both living and working in south Florida,” recalls Cribbs. “Dan worked on the service side and I was running work for a large electrical contractor in Miami. We were both frustrated with the conditions in Florida and thought it wasn’t the best place to raise a family.”
After a trip to Raleigh, the pair decided the city was a better fit for their families and a good place to start a business. “We moved to the area without knowing anyone, but we did our homework and saw the local construction market was healthy and it was a great place to raise our families,” explains Cribbs.
On the up again
Since relocating SRE has focused on a successful track record of providing top-notch electrical service, weathering just about anything, even one of the worst recessions in history. “Our success is a direct reflection of our team and not a single individual,” stresses Cribbs. “We have a great group of dedicated employees working for us, which allows SRE to provide exceptional service to the customers we have built over the last 20 years.”
Cribbs says SRE is a medium-sized shop, averaging 35 to 40 electricians on staff and occasionally ramping up to 70 tradespeople. “We work primarily in North Carolina but we hold unlimited electrical licenses in most states in the Southeast,” he says. “It’s taken us a number of years to get to this point and today we’re a pick-and-choose contractor; most of our work is negotiated and we shy away from public work.”
SRE performs a large amount of installation and card-access integration services for big names such as Amtrak, Verizon, AT&T, Duke Energy and Tyson Foods, to name a few. “During the downturn we were extremely fortunate to stay busy due to our relationships with longtime customers,” says Cribbs.
With the recent completion of a new headquarters and warehouse, SRE is mapping its future with growth in mind. “We have positioned ourselves so that with the upturn in the economy, we can take advantage of the opportunities that come our way as SRE grows, but our integrity and customer service will always remain the most influential aspect of our business.”
SRE offers a level of quality control others cannot match by completing more than 90 percent of its own work, subbing only concrete or boring services. “We just recently were approached by Citrix, a local software company, with concerns in completing the change-out of their main service switchgear in their new headquarters in Raleigh,” says Cribbs. “SRE was awarded the project and completed the process of refeeding the building with two generators while the building remained completely operational with less than an hour of downtime.”
SRE removed the damaged gear and set the new system in place. It was online under 48 hours. “Citrix was so impressed with our team’s approach and effort that they awarded SRE the remaining portion of the building, as well as a maintenance agreement,” says Cribbs.
Based on its reputation and licenses as alarm registrants, SRE has also negotiated numerous Homeland Security projects at Amtrak stations from New Haven to Washington, D.C., Miami and Orlando. “This avenue of work has also landed us projects at the majority of Duke Energy facilities and plants across the Carolinas,” adds Cribbs.
For the greater good
In a region where union contractors are few and far between, Cribbs says one of SRE’s biggest obstacles is finding enough skilled labor. “This area isn’t big on union contractors so it has taken quite some time to get the apprenticeship program up to standards,” he notes. “I’m very active in the program and I’m also the first vice president of our local National Electrical Contractors Atlantic Coast Chapter (ACC-NECA).”
Cribbs says with the addition of a new apprenticeship training director and help from other area ACC-NECA contractors, the program is now better than ever before. “It’s from us working as a team, putting forth the effort for the good of the industry and the workforce,” he says. “Our apprenticeship has made great strides over the last decade.”
SRE has also reaped the benefits of NECA’s new class of labor, the non-union Construction Wireman/Construction Electrician (CW/CE). “We’re big proponents of the program because we can use CW/CEs as a training ground, giving them a trial run so to speak and indenture them if they meet the requirements,” explains Cribbs. “Operating in the commercial sphere, CW/CEs allow us to use a competitive composite rate by using these lower skill level guys to be more viable on jobs.”
But it’s a solid core of skilled journeymen that make SRE known for trusted service. “In today’s complicated business environment, technology has never been more important to success,” says Cribbs. “Reliable power, grounding, cabling, task and security lighting all play a vital role in employee productivity. Companies can’t afford to take chances with their electrical systems.”
“Our service is number one because we take great pride in what we do and what we have done through hard work,” adds Cribbs.
For complex systems integration, access and more, East Coast companies have entrusted Sir Raleigh Electric Inc. for the union standard of excellence.
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