Projects spark business for electrical contractors – Business Journal Daily


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – With the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheater scheduled to open in mid-June, electricians from Tri-Area Electric Co. Inc. were at work at the project site on a sunny morning in late April. .

With concrete poured the next day, roughing and grounding had to compete for the main stage. Then an excavator would start digging for the installation of utilities along a road near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge.

“This is drawing to a close,” says electrician Greg Voytilla of his company’s work on the site’s electrical assembly.

Voytilla, who has worked for Tri-Area Electric Co. for 15 years and has been working on the amphitheater site since last June, was installing an electrical service panel with fellow electrician Ryan Wallace that would provide lighting under the bridge and behind the center. Covelli adjacent, as well as for the food trucks.

Wallace, a nine-year-old electrician, says his uncle and grandfather were electricians as well. “You do different things every day,” he says. It’s not like you go to work sitting at a desk every day. You are in the field in different places.

The main challenge at the amphitheater site is that the work mostly takes place outdoors, “so we have to face Mother Nature,” says Michael Johnson, chief estimator at Tri-Area. “Fortunately our guys are highly skilled and very adaptable. ”

Overall Tri-Area activity this year is up about 30% from last year, according to Johnson. He attributes the increased spending on private sector projects to a greater comfort level in the US economy.

“People are spending more money on their facilities now,” says Johnson. “People saw the economy doing better and felt like they could loosen their purse strings.”

The work on the amphitheater is part of several projects that occupy Tri-Area and other electrical contractors in the region. In Tri-Area, these jobs include a new spine and pain center at the Southwoods Health complex in Boardman and the Campbell City Schools Community and Wellness Center.

“All electrical contractors are overwhelmed by what we can say,” says Dominic Donofrio, director of business development at Enertech Electrical Inc., Lowellville.

One of the major local projects for electrical contractors is the modernization of the Youngstown wastewater treatment plant.

“They have a big improvement project that they’ve started and we’re on a phase of that project, along with a few other local electrical contractors,” says Becky Bertuzzi, Marketing Director for VEC Inc., Girard.

VEC, which has a concentration in the oil and gas industry, saw “a marked increase” in work in early 2019, mostly out of state, Bertuzzi says.

Among the projects are “a fairly large one” in western Pennsylvania and some work in Ashtabula County, she reports. Some works have been slowed down in recent years as they pushed back the winter months.

Oil and gas activity this year is slower, but 2020 will be “a lot busier,” said VEC’s Bertuzzi. “These are normal industry trends. A few boom years and a few years of status quo and then it starts again. “

CR Electric Inc., Girard, also works at the Youngstown Wastewater Treatment Plant, as well as the Niles Wastewater Treatment Plant. The company is designing an electrical system for a materials handling project in Ohio City and recently converted Hubbard Chevrolet lighting in Greenwood to LED fixtures.

CR Electric chairman Jason Rubin says growth is stable this year and expects the same for 2020. He attributes that growth, like his local colleagues, to the strength of the economy. “Everyone is working. People spend money, ”he says.

Chuck Eyster, general superintendent of Santon Electric Co. Inc., Boardman, reports that crews are at work at several gas stations, including Sheetz projects in Canfield and Hermitage, Pa., And several GetGo. Also on the slate is a senior apartment complex near St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital and construction at the Belden Village Mall near Canton, where Sears is shrinking its footprint and Dave & Busters walks in.

Recent projects include work on student housing at Youngstown State University, eight GetGos – including Boardman and Niles – and six Sheetz stores last year.

“It’s our normal pace. We’re not slammed right now, ”Eyster says. He too attributes the level of activity to the comfort of the economy.

“The business is great,” says Donofrio from Enertech. “We see a lot of new construction, a lot of services and a lot of lighting renovations. ”

Global activity is up 30% compared to a year ago, he continues. “We are doing very well. The economy has treated us well and our customers treat us well.

Much of Enertech’s workload relates to public works projects, Donofrio reports. “We are seeing a lot of public improvements in schools and wastewater treatment works,” he says.

And about 60% of Enertech’s work is in new construction, he notes.

The company started its lighting service / maintenance and renovation departments a few years ago. Because the economy is good, customers are making good use of their money and being more efficient with lighting renovations.

Recent projects include lighting upgrades at Covelli Enterprises’ head office in Warren, public schools in Lowellville, and Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage, Pa., He reports.

Enertech is nearing completion of the new Ellet Community Learning Center in Akron and recently won a contract for the new Hudson Middle School in Hudson.

The company has “done a ton of work” for a restaurant chain, as well as work at the Mountaineer Casino in northern West Virginia, Donofrio adds.

While concerned about rising fuel and material costs affecting the industry, Rubin of CR Electric said he was encouraged by the outlook. The other entrepreneurs too.

“Our phone has not stopped ringing. It’s a good indicator, ”says Johnson of Tri-Area. Currently, his company is doing valuation work on some larger hospitals and public projects.

Santon Electric’s Eyster is also optimistic, with hotel projects at Lakewood and Akron University on the horizon, as well as an orthopedic surgery center on Western Reserve Road in Boardman.

Enertech’s biggest problem is the labor shortage, says Donofrio. “We can’t train them fast enough. What we’re doing now is trying to figure out how to do more with the same number of people.

The company began to prefabricate components for installation in new construction projects.

And despite the good economic times, Enertech is preparing for a recession that Donofrio sees as inevitable by developing a customer base less vulnerable to downturns and focusing on maintaining good customers.

Pictured: Ryan Wallace and Greg Voytilla of Tri-Area Electric Co. install power lines at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheater, one of many large projects in the area.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.


Patricia D. Rutt