The service department, which is led by Service Manager Jimmy Dew, has 40 service electricians that are available around the clock. Providing everything from transformer repairs, motor control troubleshooting, power quality metering, and much, much more, our service team thrives on finding lasting solutions, fast, for our clients. Here’s a closer look at what’s going on right now in our service world, and some general insights from Jimmy.
Q: Before managing the service department,you were a field electrician. How do your experiences in the field as a service electrician inform the way you lead the service team now?
I spent a lot of years in the field, and as a result of that, we do everything through the lens of a field electrician. Whether we’re problem solving a difficult situation for a client or identifying resources that can make our team better, we’re always thinking about the situation from our field techs’ perspectives. Doing that helps us to support them as best we can, which provides a better experience and end product for the customer. We also make being available a priority too. It doesn’t matter if we’re in a meeting, at lunch, working out, or at home with our family—we always answer the phone for our electricians because service is a 24/7 job.
Q: Is there anything about our service department that our clients are surprised to learn?
Many of our clients, specifically those who normally contract us for larger construction work, don’t know the scope of our service department. Some may not even be aware that we have one. But if it has wires, we do it. Our scope is so big, and none of our customers should think of Mid-City as just a “big job” contractor. Now, with the addition of our new advanced testing division, we offer even more, including arc flash analysis, coordination studies, power quality metering, and automation design too.
Q: If you had to pick something that most facility managers overlook when it comes to electrical maintenance, what would it be?
Maintaining proper records of their building’s electrical system is a place where most can improve. Many facility managers don’t have a detailed layout of their building’s current system. If we have blueprints showing the way electrical was run in their building from the very beginning, it saves us time, and the client money. If a facility manager doesn’t have that documentation, they should find it. Someone in their organization has those as-builts, and it’s so important to keep them on file, both electronically and in paper form.
A close second to that is that many facility managers don’t think of maintenance as a continuous cycle. It’s something that you need to do on an on-going basis and ideally every year. I am always surprised to find the amount of customers who don’t start thinking about preventative maintenance until they have experienced a major catastrophe. If you plan for it and build it into your yearly budget, you can prevent, or at least minimize, most electrical failure.
Q: Are you guys introducing any new initiatives into your department this year?
Within service, we’re really lucky to have electricians who have extensive experience in a certain area. This year, we’re focusing on leveraging that knowledge to train electricians who are either newer to the trade, or simply interested in expanding their capabilities or receiving a refresher course on certain skills. For example, in March, our electrician Tony Balzano led a training that demonstrated how to install recording meters. Another upcoming training session will review protocols for power outage safety and generator hook-ups in emergency situations. Many of these trainings will be recorded so we can create a virtual resource library for our electricians too. We think that by offering trainings like this, we will not only give our service techs a way to expand their skill sets, but create a network for techs to share helpful information with one another, which will ultimately help them to perform better work for our clients.
We’re also looking at how we can expose young apprentices to the service side of the industry. Service requires you to think differently than you would on a large construction project. Honestly, it’s a different kind of electrical work, and we want to give apprentices the opportunity to learn about it.