Thompson Electric Inc.
- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Whether installing an outlet in a home, wiring an entire factory or building a 138 kilowatt transmission line and substation, Thompson Electric Inc. is able to tackle all scopes of work in the electrical field. Headquartered in Munroe Falls, Ohio, Thompson Electric is a diverse full-service electrical contractor working in industrial, commercial and residential markets.
Founded in 1977, Thompson Electric has grown to employing more than 300 people. With the business boasts a spacious facility, fully stocked warehouse, a large fleet of well-equipped vehicles and the best-trained workers in the industry. Thompson Electric is comprised of two divisions: the inside division deals with local unions that predominantly complete work in commercial buildings or on private property; the outside division works primarily with utility companies.
“The outside infrastructure work consists of transmission jobs, overhead high-voltage lines and substations,” says Larry Thompson, president of Thompson Electric. “It involves highway lighting and traffic signalization. It also includes overhead and underground distribution work.” With approximately 60 percent of its work stemming from its outside division and 40 percent from inside construction, Thompson Electric expects its revenue to reach approximately $70 million in 2016.
While the inside and outside divisions make up the primary structure of Thompson Electric, the company manages numerous departments, each with a niche focus. The different areas of expertise within its inside group consist of commercial-industrial, small commercial jobs, commercial service, residential service, new homes and condominiums and temperature control. Thompson Electric’s outside group is made up of four divisions consisting of overhead transmission and distribution, substation, storm restoration and heavy highway.
Building the team
When Thompson Electric first opened its doors, the company functioned primarily as an inside contractor completing residential, commercial and industrial work. In 1991, Thompson brought aboard Bill Anderson, who was skilled in high-voltage work on industrial substations. “Bill brought us into the high-voltage side of the industry,” says Thompson. “We’ve been growing and expanding since then to get to where we are today.”
Anderson retired from Thompson Electric Jan. 1, 2016. Starting out as a service truck driver for the company, he brought some clients with him and began putting crews together to work on substations. After helping the company to establish a new market Anderson eventually became vice president of the company.
Throughout his tenure with Thompson Electric, Anderson recalls numerous memories and achievements with the company, one of them being a job with Sea World when the theme park was in Aurora, Ohio. The job involved three phases of replacing cable throughout the park. “It was one of the first jobs I did,” says Anderson. “Sea World wanted the job done in three years and I told them that I could do it in one.”
As the low bidder, Anderson came in $100,000 under the next lowest bid, which concerned Thompson. “We were a much smaller company then so $100,000 was a lot of money,” says Anderson. “Larry told me that he would give me a percentage of the profit of the job as a bonus if I was able to pull it off. We went ahead and started it and the crew didn’t like me too much because of how driven I was to get it done.”
After completing the first phase before Christmas, Sea World awarded the next two phases to Anderson and Thompson Electric without requiring a bid. “They already knew what our time and equipment rates were,” says Anderson. “The job ended up being very profitable and I got a nice bonus that year.”
Thompson Electric has utilized the CW/CE program offered by the local union for several years. As a member of the labor management committee for the Northern Ohio Recovery Agreement, Thompson feels that the CW/CE program offers a dynamic opportunity to recapture some of the small commercial work that the company used to complete years ago. “A lot of that work went to the non-union sector,” he says. “We’re gaining strength in that arena and for that I am a strong advocate for the CW/CE program.”
While many electricians have feared that CW/CEs could replace them, Thompson feels that the program helps the industry as a whole. “It has actually increased the work hours for regular members,” he shares. “Gaining this work has employed several CW/CEs but has also employed additional existing commercial electricians and apprentices who wouldn’t necessarily have had the opportunity to work on those types of jobs. That shows that the program is working.”
Thompson Electric continues to build upon its tradition of quality and expertise. Whether it is constructing or maintaining substations, providing emergency storm restoration or lighting the highways and controlling traffic flow, no job is too big or small for the experienced crews at Thompson Electric Inc.
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