Young Electric Company
Founded in 1994 by Mike Young, Young Electric Company has grown into a leading electrical company in the Southeast. Located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Young Electric provides a full range of electrical contracting services to the commercial and industrial sectors of the industry.
Young began his electrical career in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers apprenticeship program. After working for a local contractor, Young felt confident enough in his abilities to set out on his own and start his own company. “I knew I was a good technician,” he says. “Luckily, I was smart enough not to make any fatal business mistakes.”
Young’s business sense proved to be a major asset when the recession hit the country in 2008. Young Electric experienced its best year during the economic downturn until 2009. “In 2009 our sales dropped but we recovered the next year,” recounts Young. A majority of Young Electric’s clientele involves grocery store chains and although many cancelled construction of new facilities, many were still in the need of remodeling and renovation. “We’ve been fortunate to be in the niche that we’re in because there was still a lot of work for us during that hard time.”
The reputation that Young Electric had established over the years helped to pull the company through the economic crisis. “We were prepared for any situation that might throw us off balance,” says Young. “We’re kept to our own policy of keeping our debt very low.”
A multitalented company
As a union contractor, Young Electric employs approximately 70 people and utilizes the availability of construction electricians (CE’s) and construction wireman (CW’s). “We use CE’s and CW’s to be more competitive in the commercial sector,” Young explains. “Out of all of our employees about 15 to 18 of them are CW’s and CE’s.”
The use of CW’s and CE’s has enabled Young Electric to complete projects on a larger scale. “It’s given us more manpower,” says Young. “It’s also provided more workers who are willing to travel for work, for which makes us more competitive in the national market.”
When Young Electric began using CW’s and CE’s seven years ago, the process was not without bumps in the road. “Initially, a lot of the people I had working for me did not understand the CE/CW concept and did not like it,” says Young. “They came around once we got them on the jobsites and my employees got to see that they were capable of performing the jobs that we hired them to do.”
Young notes that the company does not manage a job any differently due to the presence of CW’s and CE’s. “There is normally a journeyman electrician on the job anyways,” says Young. “There really isn’t any difference between managing an apprentice or a CE and CW. It’s still a lower classification. It really depends on the project. If you’ve got a job with a tremendous amount of light fixtures then you can use CW’s all day long.”
Through his experience with CW’s and CE’s, Young can speak to the process of integrating the craftsmen into a company for those business owners who are considering the use. “You have to take it slow and at first hire just a couple of guys that you know are good,” Young elaborates. “Incorporate them into your company and show that they are not a threat to the jobs of your employees but an asset to help the company gain even more work.”
Advantages of NECA
As a member of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Young acknowledges the many benefits the organization brings to his company through networking and education. “I think NECA brings a huge value to us as contractors,” says Young. “The resources that it provides can really help any business.”
The networking that NECA provides has helped Young Electric establish strong relationships throughout the industry. “We consider several of our competitors friends of ours,” says Young. “We all feel we can call one another if we have a question about something on a job that we’re not as familiar with as someone else might be. We even share tools sometimes. We’re all trying to do the same thing, which is to do a good job and make a profit. By having access to NECA, resources such as knowledge and equipment we have all become more competitive and received more work so NECA has been very good to all of us.”
As Young Electric Company moves forward, it will continue to utilize resources and be a leader in the Southeast market.
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