Tiger Electric Inc.
- Written by: Tiffany M. Griffin
- Produced by: Mike Armstrong
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
As recently as 2009, Tiger Electric Inc. was known almost exclusively as an industrial electrical construction contractor with a background in industrial electronics, motion controls and drive repair serving markets such as the food and beverage, blown film and injection molded plastics, grain/paper milling and material handling systems. Up until that time the company concentrated on this vision, which was created in 1988 when Tiger Electric separated from its parent company after 16 years and was incorporated as an independent entity. Now, nearly 30 years after Tiger Electric’s humble beginnings, the company has acquired an energy solutions group (N2 Energy Solutions, LLC) and has established a new division on alternative and sustainable energy, largely the result of the shifting economy and growing consciousness surrounding “green” living – the company has transformed into a major force within the renewable energy arena.
With two offices in Southern California, projects throughout the state, and a presence stretching throughout the Southwest as far as Utah, Arizona and Texas, Tiger Electric has adapted to the rough industry waters by building positive business relationships and committing to a “non-agnostic approach to the selection and implementation of specific alternative energy sources or technologies,” explains Michael Ditsler, the company’s vice president.
Reinvention as Survival of the Fittest
When the commercial market took a turn for the worse at the end of 2008, Ditsler and the company’s owner, President Stan Longenecker, were faced with a difficult decision. Should Tiger Electric preserve its original focus and try to ride out the recession by doing only what it knew best? Or should the company partially reinvent itself by delving into a new market segment? The company chose the latter, courageously plunging into the alternative, renewable and sustainable energy development and construction while sticking to Tiger Electric’s central directive: to perform all projects in a manner that is sensitive to customer operations and compressed schedules.
In doing so, Tiger Electric has continued to successfully hit its key performance indicators. Laughingly, but with definitive certitude, Ditsler rhetorically asks and then asserts, “What are we here for? First and foremost, to coin a company motto by James Rouse, ‘Profit is not the legitimate purpose of business. The legitimate purpose of business is to provide a product or service that people need and do it so well that it’s profitable.’ And, second, to make the bank happy. If the bank ain’t happy, ain’t no one is happy.”
Grossing annual revenues upwards of $25 million has undoubtedly kept the bank, as well as some 70 Tiger Electric employees secure during a time when nearly 50 percent of the company’s competitors had become consumed by the economic crunch. The company stays very close to its industry peers, and it seems that most everyone is borrowed up on operational credit lines and trying to stay afloat at a time where there will not be key mark ups, and prices will most likely remain the same for some while to come. It’s going to take companies awhile to pay themselves out of the debt they have been racking up, observes Ditsler.
Confidently, however, Tiger Electric anticipates that it will continue to possess a lucrative economic fate. Ditsler asserts, “We are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. The market has weeded itself out of the weak; the strong companies are still here.” Tiger Electric is both proud and thankful to be one of those companies. And celebrating almost a quarter century in business, the company is sending the message to the market that adapting to the times is the only way to survive the ups and downs of today’s economic torrents.
Electrical maintenance and industrial construction remains at the backbone of the company’s means of success, and the company has a long and diverse track record of success with providing design services and value engineering for client undertakings, including new tilt-up “Big Box” construction, tenant improvements, distribution warehousing, retail, food service and institutional projects. The company also has a highly effective TEGG-licensed predictive and preventative maintenance division, offering proactive, customer-tailored services for electrical system analysis and power quality testing. Services include inspection, documentation and testing of both medium and high voltage electrical equipment and, under some circumstances, providing a completely insurable electrical system.
Ditsler explains that Tiger Electric subs out very little, because the company completes its own design and engineering and does most of the drafting in house, providing turn-key services for any developer, contractor or project owner needing anything from site utilities to tenant improvements, high voltage distribution to motion controls, process instrumentation and alternative energy integration and construction, plus more.
Excitedly, Ditsler also exclaims that all of the company’s projects are interesting because “projects mean work.” Particularly notable, however, are projects at Xavier College Preparatory High School, a Catholic High School in Palm Desert, Calif., where Tiger Electric has recently completed the installation of a 300KW AC Solar PV plant that nearly removes the school from the grid – as well as Cardinal Pet Products in Azusa, Calif. – where Tiger Electric has just completed one of the first design-build warehouse facilities in the area that is completely sustainable with a roof-mounted Solar PV plant and has exceed all energy-efficiency standards as set for under CEC Title 24, LEED and/or ASHRAE certification standards by implementing the use of multi-level daylight harvesting systems, LED exterior lighting, as well as state-of-the-art mechanical and HVAC control systems.
Tiger Electric is also currently in negotiation and/or development of an additional 30MW (Mega Watts) of co-generation work and an additional 10 to 12MW of Solar PV and wind turbine projects.
Ditsler, who has been in the industry for over 30 years, comes from a family of engineers and jokingly notes that “he got into the electrical contracting Industry because touring with a rock ‘n’ roll band just didn’t pay.” He admits that Tiger Electric’s success has be directly related to supportive and compassionate ownership, a professional staff, and, last but most importantly, an educated field personnel base that are in on-going training programs. Over the years, numerous Tiger Electric employees have won the ABC Southern California and/or National Craft Training Olympics, as well as Tiger Electric having been decorated with an Associated Builders and Contractors “Excellence in Construction Award.”
As in any business or industry, “A company is never any better than those that surround it.” All of those employees, both past and present, have added to the comprehensive strengths of Tiger Electric Inc., a multi-faceted company that has built on its skills progressively since 1972 and will undeniably remain a key force at the forefront of innovative alternative renewable and sustainable energy solutions and electrical construction.
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