- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Since 1986, Triad Electric has been serving commercial and heavy industrial customers throughout the Southeast with renowned electrical contracting service and union craftsmen skill. Based in Chattanooga, Triad is licensed in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The company has extensive knowledge in all facets of commercial and industrial electrical service, including industrial power and controls, instrumentation, high-voltage and low-voltage installations and more.
Triad was established in 1986 and has steadily grown from just four employees to more than 60. “I purchased the company about 10 years ago in 2005,” says Turner Wood, president of Triad. “We’re a full-service electrical contractor. We don’t do residential but we’re skilled in all commercial and industrial operations. We’re currently at about 60 employees; we’re a midsized contractor.”
As a union contractor and proud member of the East Tennessee Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (ETNECA), Triad deploys a team of highly skilled electricians and journeymen. “Our reputation is in highly trained, experienced staff that provides trusted electrical service,” says Wood. “We are dedicated to keeping our staff forward thinking and trained in all areas of the rapidly changing electrical industry and we’re committed to superior customer service.”
“Additionally, Triad’s highest priority is to furnish our employees with a safe workplace,” adds Wood. “Approximately 80 percent of Triad’s employees have received Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] 10-hour training while Triad has six employees with OSHA 30-hour certification.”
Commercial and industrial experts
Triad has made its way to the top of the eastern Tennessee market and beyond through sheer dedication to service and driven employees. “Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to attract some very talented and hardworking individuals,” says Wood. “Our employees have allowed the company to grow, evolve and successfully compete in some very challenging and complex projects.”
Many of these projects include any number of shopping centers, restaurants, churches, television studios, hospitals, prisons, industrial plants, chemical plants, paper mills, carpet mills, flour mills, apartment buildings, high voltage wiring, data wiring, outdoor lighting, sports lighting, emergency generators, computer rooms, airport runway lighting and now more solar projects.
“Our latest niche is the solar industry,” notes Wood. “We’ve completed about 15 solar projects in the last couple of years, including a 7-megawatt site in northern Georgia for Georgia Power Company.”
Triad has also landed major projects with big names such as Honeywell, Volkswagen and Norfolk Southern Rail. “There’s a large Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga where Triad performed over a half dozen various projects, including site lighting and tank farming, which we completed four years ago,” says Wood. “We also recently completed a $1 million energy conservation project for Honeywell.”
With regard to Norfolk Southern Rail, one of the largest lines on the East Coast, Triad delivered a capital expansion in access of $1 million, including maintaining five miles of rail line. “We do all of the maintenance and high-voltage work for NSR,” says Wood. “In addition, we also do a great deal of smaller medical buildings, offices and retail; the average size being in the $250,000 range.”
Triad is well-versed in industrial power, up to 15 kilovolts and controls, including installation and maintenance. With two ISA-certified technicians, the company also excels in industrial instrumentation. “We’re experienced in overhead and underground high-voltage installations and low-voltage systems such as voice, data, fiber optics, CCTV, security and fire alarm systems,” says Wood.
Capturing more commercial market share
In order to be more competitive on the commercial side, Triad began implementing NECA’s Construction Wireman/Construction Electrician program back in 2011 and Wood says this extra labor has helped boost business in the commercial zone.
“Today, roughly 20 to 25 percent of our workforce is CW/CEs,” says Wood. “The program was adopted by NECA about a decade ago and is growing because it has helped companies like ours utilize semi-skilled craft to compete against nonunion contractors.”
“We use CWs and CEs primarily for smaller commercial projects such as electrical rough ins,” continues Wood. “We use them very little on industrial because these require greater skill for the heavy duty kind of work. But even on a smaller commercial job, our ratio is one journeyman to one CE or CW to one apprentice.”
Wood says when implemented correctly and with the right supervision, there is room for semi-skilled craft in the industry. “It does increase our ability to acquire work that would normally go in favor of nonunion,” he explains. “It’s greatly improved our hit ratio in small to midsize commercial projects – that’s the key sector where it’s increased our productivity. Participating in this type of program is essential to our future as a NECA-IBEW contractor. Although some contractors are still reluctant to accept the program, it’s steadily moving from south to north and east to west, making its way across the country. I think it’s going to be a permanent part of our industry for the long term.”
Being able to adapt to new business practices is essential to sustaining business, whether that means labor or new technologies, and Wood says Triad isn’t afraid of change. “We’re committed to staying abreast of the new systems that are developing out there so we can provide our customers the latest technology and services in our industry,” he says.
By embracing change, Triad Electric is building on three decades of success and creating a viable future in Chattanooga.
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