In 1957 my father took a job as a maintenance electrician on the second shift at the newly opened Ford Motor Assembly Plant in Mahwah, NJ. Of course it wasn’t long before he started doing side work out of the trunk of our 1949 Chevy sedan. I was 6 at the time. Within a year or so he purchased a used 1950 Chevy Panel Truck that he got painted at Earl Scheib (“I’ll paint any car for $19.95”). We affectionately named it “The Pig”, mostly because it looked like a pig and took up a lot space in the driveway! I was seven or eight when dad put me on his lap and let me steer, “The Pig”, to the supply house and the occasional job he took me on. I loved the smell of metal electrical boxes, TW wire, BX cable, leather tool pouches and cutting oil in that old truck as much as I loved watching him do electrical work. All his Milwaukee tools had cords on them to!
In 1964 dad quit Ford and went out on his own. I would work for him on weekends and summer vacations into my late teens. We did lots of commercial and industrial work as well as some residential. Dad wanted to expand the business so he became a union contractor, got into some larger new commercial construction and eventually lost everything, including my mother. I quit school in my senior year to help support mom, two sisters and the grandparents who just moved in. Disheartened with electrical work I pursued a career in trucking that would last 15 years. During those years I would work on and off with dad as he would once again give his “own thing” another try. Like many of us that go out on our own he was just not a good employee.
Anyway, in February of 1984 I quit trucking, took a pay cut and went to work for dad full time for five bucks an hour. It didn’t last long. One year later we had a falling out due to a disagreement on growing the company. I wanted to get into new construction. Of course, he wasn’t having any of it, but at the time I didn’t understand why. Duh! That’s when I started my own electrical contracting company an hour away in another state. After all, I was so much smarter than dad. I knew I could do it! How hard could it be?
So in late 1986 after only a year in business, being the expert I thought I was, I became a union contractor and started doing commercial new construction. In 1989 as the economy was tanking and I was being eaten up by my own mismanagement and GC’s weren’t paying I followed in dad’s footsteps and filed for bankruptcy.
Disillusioned, depressed and financially broke I went back on the road in 1990 as a long haul trucker.
Flashback with me for a moment to the early 70’s when my first wife and I got involved in a company called Amway. This is where I was introduced to personal development books like, “Think and Grow Rich” and “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. These books had instilled an entrepreneurial urge and a never give up spirit in me that would now, 15 years later, start to pay off. It prompted me to invest in Tony Robbins’ “Ultimate Power” cassette tape set. I listened to those self development tapes in the cab of that truck for almost three years (1990-1993) while traveling back and forth across the country in an 18 wheeler. I literally wore them out!
Those tapes motivated me to go back into business doing residential service, small renovations and some light commercial work. In 1995 I joined a better practices group called Contractors Success Group where I would learn how to run a business, but not before making every mistake in the book at least once and sometimes twice. We brought on HVAC the same year. A few years later would see a plumbing department, water treatment department, a generator department in 2004 and in 2009 a fire place and stove retail business with a showroom.
Business has been very profitable over the last 5 years with sales north of 6 million. Half of which is in generators and residential electrical service. This business is giving my wife and me a life style that at one time I could only dream of. More rewardingly is the gratification we get from seeing our loyal and dedicated employees prosper and grow. The huge satisfied repeat customer base is the result of their good work.
ET is a great place to keep up with and learn new things and have a little fun at the same time. It’s also a great place to give back, help encourage and hopefully reach someone that wants to make it in this business. It’s a place to help guide aspiring electricians in making good decisions in pursuit of a successful career as an electrician. I’m amazed at the talent here and proud to be a part of it.
So, this bio is absolutely pointless in my opinion if it doesn’t at least help inspire somebody. I hope it did.