Working around and with electricity can be dangerous. It is not advisable to carry out electrical jobs on your own whether it is supplying electricity to a new house or any repair. There is a specialized industry to take care of your needs. Gaylor Electric, based in Indianapolis IN, with eleven offices from Indiana to Florida, is one of the top specialty electrical contractors in the country.
Gaylor Electric’s founder, John Gaylor, had ideas on how a business should operate, but could not find a company to work for that shared his values. So, he started his own electrical contracting firm in March 1984. Defining his vision from the very start, John was determined to provide first-class service and outstanding job performance for clients. For employees, he was intent on delivering the best work environment for a career. This included competitive wages and benefits, quality equipment and continual education and training.
John succeeded in fulfilling his business plan - leading the industry in electrical expertise and delivering on his promise to serve both customers and employees - as a merit shop!
Current CEO/President, Chuck Goodrich, will share with us about the Gaylor Electric journey…
Educate us on the history of the company, and transformation over the years.
Gaylor Electric began as an “experiment” of sorts. Could a company merge the best practices from the labor unions and from the merit shop into one company? Both had strengths, and both had their weaknesses. This was the starting point for Gaylor Electric. Education, by way of Gaylor University, became the anchor for our company. “You can only go as far as you have been taught” was the mindset that set Gaylor employees on course for lifetime learning. Our education program became far reaching, well beyond just craft training. Classes were made available that enabled people to become well rounded and prepared for life. This learning atmosphere helped retain crafts persons as well as attract talented men and women who wanted to grow professionally and make an impact. Our educational programs are for every Gaylor employee. We know that the industry is always changing and that we need to stay out in front, not behind. Education keeps us moving and not being stagnate. Our attitude is, “We do not sit and wait for ‘our ship’ to come in; we swim out to the ship!”
What was your initial project? Share about your product developments.
The very first project was a Kohl’s department store. Our founder, John Gaylor, had a relationship with Kohl’s from his time with his previous employer. Having just started the company, John told Kohl’s he would need to be paid upfront so he could hire employees to build the project. They paid him, and Gaylor Electric was off and running! We have remained a relationship based company. Today, over 34 years later, 80% of yearly work is with repeat clients. We treat all our clients like they are the most important one we have – because they are. We have grown due to our attention to detail in building the project and building our relationships. Today, we stand as a premier national design-build electrical contractor.
What is your firm’s modus operandi?
Our modus operandi is “to provide the best you must be the best.” No one prepares, plans or executes better than we do. The ROI of our clients is always in our plans. We provide reliable Resources, Outcomes and Insights for our clients.
What comes first, business or employees? Justify your statement.
Asking “What comes first, business or employees?” is like asking, “Which leg is most important on a three legged stool?” Remove one, and the others are pointless. Too often business is viewed with an “us against them” mentality. Our mindset is always “winning together.” I think having and communicating this mindset has proven to be a key to our success. Having grown from nothing to $250M in yearly revenue with 80% coming from repeat business bears this out. We state the importance of our employees in our mission statement, “…our inspired employees are our most valuable resource.” Our employees know we are a team. Teams win together or lose together. As a team we have been successful in demonstrating to our partners the concept of being “all in, all the time.”
A company is where an employee or employer works together for the development of their professional satisfaction. Is it true with your company?
For most people, the hours spent on the job are their “best hours” of the day. What I mean by that is, they are the most alert, have the most energy, and are the most engaged. With this being said, anything we as a company can do to provide ‘professional satisfaction’ is of paramount importance! Construction is an industry that is plagued with turnover. Our approach has always been to set a clear vision of what a career can look like, versus what just a job looks like. We are fortunate to have many great men and women who have spent their entire careers with us. They have grown up with us. By demonstrating to them their importance, Gaylor Electric has benefited by having professions with the attitude of “working with us, and not for us.”
For a company’s growth, a firm and determined team is essential. How do you motivate your employees?
Our operations group is structured in a team concept. Each team is self-sustaining and has the capability to find work, bid and secure work, and build the work. Having multiple teams at one location can provide a healthy competition among the individual teams and help them to pursue excellence. Even though each team is self-sustaining, there is also the awareness that we are all Gaylor and that when help is needed, it can be provided. You can use how the human body works as an illustration. Each part of the body can function independently, but also aids other parts when needed in order for the body to be successful. Incentive programs for teams are also tied to the overall success of the company. This helps to keep ‘everyone rowing in the same direction.’
Mention the factors that make your organization ‘A great place to work’?
As an organization we know that we are only as great as our people. By never losing sight of each person’s importance, we have been able to stay flexible to changing needs, trends and ideas. Asking our employees as opposed to just telling them, has enabled a free flow of ideas and concerns being shared throughout all levels. Each Gaylor employee knows they have a voice, and it will be heard. Life isn’t “one size fits all.” The work experience needs to be flexible so all can be successful. We consistently survey for ideas and feedback for what can be improved. Fresh thinking is rewarded and recognition is given to those who earn it. Again, I think we have people who work with Gaylor, not for Gaylor.
What qualities of your company have helped to sustain in the marketplace?
There is not lack of electrical contractors in the USA. How we have made our mark and continue to gain market share, is by maintaining the original mindset the company was founded on, it is an experiment. We view innovation and a willingness to experiment as qualities that keep us from getting too comfortable with our success. We know the view only changes for the lead dog…so we intentionally keep ourselves seeking new and improved technology, work practices, and business thought. We are firm practitioners of the adage, “What got you here, won’t get you where you want to go.” There is one practice that we do not change and that is our quality of performance in building projects! We are the highest performing national contractor of excellence – period!
How do you support your employees in their work-life balance?
Of course this is a topic that needs to be defined. I find there is often a difference in what someone means about work-life balance when you talk one-on-one, then when there is group-speak on the subject. We encourage being 100% engaged in what you are doing at the moment! When at work, be fully engaged. When off work, be fully engaged. What needs to be balanced is the degree of engagement. I think in order for there to be personal and company success, there will be times that extra time needs to be spent. Therefore, we promote seeking quality time verse merely quantity of time. Work-life balance is attained with a person learns the importance of being 100% engaged in the moment.
Where do you visualize your company in a couple of years?
I am glad you phrased it, “in a couple of years.” In this ever and rapid changing market of commercial and industrial construction, to try to formulate a strategic plan of 5-10 years would be a waste of time and energy. We have been operating on two year strategic plans, with revisions after the first year. This has provided us with a platform that has proven successful in attaining around a 20% growth rate over the past few years. Our goal is to crack $300M in annual revenue in 2019. That will enable us to provide opportunities for about an additional 300-400 people. For Gaylor, growth represents more opportunities for more people! Our desire is to help provide the “American dream” for as many people as we can.
Chuck Goodrich, President & CEO
John’s dad was an electrician and his mother was an educator. Both played a huge part in shaping his approach to business. John earned a business degree from Ball State University in Muncie IN. After working with an Indianapolis electrical company as a Project Manager, he decided to start his own company. Relying on educating his workforce, Gaylor Electric quickly began making its mark in the local Indiana market. By developing tight client relationships, Gaylor began building projects across the country.
In January 2015, John appointed Chuck Goodrich as President. Chuck began at Gaylor Electric in 1991 as a college intern while attending Purdue University in Lafayette IN. Under Chuck’s leadership as now the CEO/President, Gaylor has enjoyed a growth rate that has nearly doubled the size of Gaylor in the past 3 ½ years. Chuck provides an infectious enthusiasm to the leadership of the company. His “can do attitude” sets the right example for others to follow. Being the highest performing national contractor of excellence is a daily challenge that is excitedly accepted!
“Simple or Complex, Large or Small, if it involves electricity, Gaylor does it all!”
"Gaylor always commits the needed resources in management, manpower and materials to complete the project safely and to the client’s satisfaction."
"Our approach has always been to set a clear vision of what a career can look like, versus what just a job looks like. We are fortunate to have many great men and women who have spent their entire careers with us."