Member Spotlight: One Houle, One Company
By Jillian Mitchell
Electrical contractor Houle Electric Ltd. operates under one very important motto—"one Houle, one company"—and they don't take it lightly.
In fact, each of the company's 1,400 employees across the province keep this team-player philosophy top of mind, with a shared belief that "united we stand, divided we fall."
And that's exactly how the company has approached the construction industry's projected skills gap.
According to Regional Manager Scott Wilson, apprenticeship is strong at Houle Electric. The Kelowna branch, alone, boasts 18 apprentices out of its total 50 employees.
"One of the big benefits of Houle Electric is our ability to retain our staff. There are career development opportunities throughout the organization, options to re-locate to other geographical areas while maintaining employment within the company," says Wilson, who celebrates 24 years with the company, coming to the Okanagan three years ago from Vancouver Island. "With Houle Electric, you're an electrician with a career."
Since its founding by Lionel Houle in 1944, the company has grown to seven locations—in Nanaimo, Vancouver, Victoria, Kitimat, Prince George, Kamloops and Kelowna. And for the third year in a row, Houle Electric has been named One of Canada's Best Managed companies and retains its A+ ranking with the Better Business Bureau. To Wilson, the growth and accolades serve to highlight the company's vision statement to be the industry leader through customer choice.
"One of the strengths of our company is that we have multiple service offerings, we're multi-divisional and we have multiple locations," he adds. "We recognize our ability to rely on each other. We share clients across B.C., and being in multiple regions we're able to get exposure to the marketplace."
Houle’s team in Kelowna has acquired an impressive portfolio, including contracts for the Kelowna International Airport, the Kelowna General Hospital, the Vernon General Hospital, recently the Kelowna Community Health Services Centre, and the VMF Estates Winery. They are also the electrical contractor for City of Kelowna.
"One of the unique aspects of the VMF project is we were able to install all of our electrical service offerings that include lighting, power, data, security and building controls. By utilizing one team, we provide increased value and installation efficiency to the customer," he says. "It's one thing we're aspiring to do; we are a multi-discipline company and we want to pass this service package on to the customer to provide a service well into the future."
Houle Electric is proud to offer a 24-hour service division specializing in residential, commercial and industrial in multiple disciplines: construction, data network, security, HVAC controls and building automation, security and life safety, and service and power. Admittedly, it's one move that especially excites the Houle team at the Okanagan-Kootenays Regional Office in Kelowna.
Looking to the future, it's more of the same—with a continued effort to be open to new and exciting endeavours.
"We've modified our business to meet market needs," Wilson concludes. "Being willing to be flexible enough to meet the ever-changing customer and marketplace needs, we have grown in a very competitive marketplace over the last few years. In light of an upswing in the local economy, we are very optimistic that the company's future is bright."
This article first appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of SICA's Construction Review Magazine. To read the entire magazine click here.
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