From Bob’s desk: Celebrating our successes

By Bob Bacon

I was discussing the topic of Elm being as successful in the next few years as it has been in the last few years and one of the people on the call said, “nothing lasts forever.”

My response was, “maybe not, but Elm has had 52 years of steady growth. That’s pretty good.”

“True, but…” they went on.

Certainly, I can’t predict the future and I am sure there will be some difficult years ahead of us, but if we keep focused on our core values we will be OK.

When I think of Elm, I tend to focus on what we could do better. I am sure many of you do the same thing. This is WHY we are successful, always improving. We can get frustrated with things that could be better, but let’s take a minute and think of what we are doing well. How about, we are really good at trying to improve.

We do a lot of things really well. It would take pages to list everything. Here are some that come to mind for me:

Service – In the last seven years, Elm’s top 100 or so customers have generated millions in sales. 70% of that business has been for clients 3 or more years and 37% of it took place with clients in all 7 years. (I picked 7 because that data was easily available).

Safety – We are managing safety and risk really well. Our workers compensation modification rate is .72 which means we receive a 28% discount on our rate. Since we do even better because of the effort we all put into safety, we have begun receiving refunds from our insurance group.

Integrity – We consistently do what we say and meet our commitments. Dan Piper told me selling Piper to Elm was one the best decisions he has ever made. Piper was started by Dan’s grandfather in 1929 and Dan continues to work with us. You hear stories about mergers that don’t work, but this one has been fantastic for both companies. Our financial strength and integrity allow us many options. For example, we needed approval for a very large bond on a multi-year project. Because we are a trusted and consistent company, Elm was approved.

Evolution – Elm has grown at a double-digit annual rate for the last 52 years! You can’t do that without learning, adapting and innovating. We have been really good at this. We have always invested in apprentices and understood the value of hiring and inspiring them, but the old method had limitations. The development of Elm University, and our training programs, is an adaptation that will help us continue to grow a talented and dedicated group of electricians and technicians.

Take a minute to reflect on something we are doing well and celebrate a little bit.

As always, I appreciate you comments rbacon@elmelec.com.

CAN-Struction teams needed, purchasing department reminders, Fidelity NetBenefits for your saving strategies, work anniversaries and more

We still need two more CAN-Struction teams! Join us in a little friendly competition as teams go head-to-head, turning cans of food into works of art. The design work is done, cans have been collected, now we just need BUILDERS!

There will be team t-shirts and awards for awesomeness!

Remember, all food will be donated to food pantries after the event. We’re not just building structures, we’re building a stronger, more connected community! Reach out to Holly hlurgio@elmelec.com or Deana dcasamento@elmelec.com to sign up!


Congratulations to all our employees celebrating a work anniversary in February!


RUNWAY 5K

The Runway 5K to support the Treehouse Foundation will be Sunday, April 28 at Northampton Airport. Team No Sparks will be representing Elm again! If you can’t join the team or are busy that day, make sure you throw your support behind Team No Sparks!  

https://runsignup.com/Race/157410/Donate/o9E2G0eQLm4RMEKL


Fidelity NetBenefits

Fidelity makes it easy to  schedule a planning appointment with a Fidelity advisor to discuss your 401k investment strategies. Log into your Fidelity account HERE. Select Planning Strategies and then click on ‘Schedule an appointment’ to plan a convenient time to discuss your 401k financial picture & savings strategies.


NH License Holders

New Hampshire requires all NH electrical license holders to complete the 15-hour continuing education class within the first year of the three-year code cycle. If you did not complete your 15-hour continuing ed class in 2023 then your NH license may be invalid.

For resources to help acquire your training, see www.electricallicenserenewal.com. You will want to take the Massachusetts version (if you are also licensed in MA) & then also ask for the NH 15-hour credit.


HNE Healthy Choices Rewards

Did you know you can win Amazon, Big Y, Visa & Spa finder gift cards from Health New England just for participating in the Healthy Choices Rewards Program?

It’s easy. Create account or log into your existing account at  webmdhealth.com.

Click on Rewards and then 2024 Health Choices Rewards Program. You can earn points for entering your blood pressure or the date of your last physical. Earn extra points for wellness challenges & health trackers. Then, redeem your points for entries to win $25, $50 & $100 gift cards!


Collection for the Animals

We’re collecting for the Dakin Human Society. They need:

  • Canned & dry cat/kitten food
  • Light tuna in water
  • Human baby food (meat flavors only, no vegetables)
  • Clumping & non-clumping cat litter
  • Cat toys
  • Fleece blankets
  • Bath-size towels
  • Dry dog food
  • Bully sticks

Bring your donation into any Elm branch & then click HERE to be entered into a raffle to win a $50 Big Y gift card.


Purchasing Dept. Reminder

Effective Feb. 1, Brittany Samson x183 has stepped into the role of lead purchaser supported by Sydney Peralta x147. Please email orders by 2:00 pm to Bsamson@elmelec.com & copy Speralta@elmelec.com.


pFML Codes in Portal/Time Entry

There is now a code for time-off requests & time-entry for Family Medical Leave (pFML) hours. If you are off on approved pFML time use job 492, phase 1115, EC 14 both to request time off in the Portal & also for weekly time-entry for pFML time.

All pFML requests must go through HR for processing. Once claims are approved, you would use 492/1115/14 to request time off through the Portal (to be approved by your supervisor) & for your time entry.

For questions, please reach out to Elm HR.

Employee Spotlight: Santiago Perez

For February’s Employee Spotlight, we paid a visit to One D&C carpenter Santiago Perez (aka “Santi”), who was busy at work hanging drywall in a room at the Westfield Boys and Girls Club.

Q: How long have you been at One D&C?

A: I’ve been a carpenter at One Development & Construction for five years now.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job here?

A: One D&C is a nice place to work. It keeps me busy all the time, which is good! I get to work with a lot of great people who know what they’re doing and that makes these jobs a lot easier. They keep us safe all the time, which is obviously the goal.

Q: What would you say most of your job entails?

A: We’ve been doing a lot of side jobs lately, with a lot of nice guys. Derek Heile and Brad Miller have been excellent to me. We get together to do the job, have fun and get after it.

Q: Tell me a little about what it’s like to see a job develop from start to finish.

A: You know, I do a lot of the work behind the scenes bouncing around from job to job, so there’s a lot of variety, which I like. Because of that, I don’t always get to see the finished projects. I get them set up for the guys to come in and finish.

Q: What are you doing when you’re not at work?

A: When I’m not working, I like to get home to see my wife. We really like to go out.

Q: Do you have any hobbies you can tell me about?

A: I love to swim and play basketball, although I haven’t been playing too much lately. I also like going to different places, like checking out parks with my wife. She’s the boss!

One D&C highlights upcoming — and ongoing — projects to start 2024

By Derek Heile and Brad Miller

Here’s a closer look at what’s been going on at One Development & Construction:

Nupro: The exterior façade of the building was completed this month in Deerfield. The sunshades and canopies were installed to provide the finishing touch. Inside the tapers are sanding the drywall in the office area. Wall tile and painting is occurring. The clean room is completed and all the racking is installed in the warehouse.


Fuel Cell Torrington: The nitrogen generation project is wrapping up. The equipment has all been installed and wired. Fencing is completed, bollards are complete. CO2 purification project is in early design. We are currently designing the site layout and structural foundations for the equipment. We are hoping to break ground on this project in early March.


CO2 Purification: this project is in early design. We are currently designing the site layout and structural foundations for the equipment. We are hoping to break ground on this project in early March.


Westfield Boys & Girls Club: Here is the storage addition we are building at the WBGC. This two-story structure will store maintenance equipment on the first floor and athletic equipment on the second floor.


Childcare Facility: Here is a rendering of the 3-story childcare facility we will be building in Springfield. We are currently working through the design and permitting stages and hope to break ground in April.

EGB: Elm’s generosity helps food insecure students at Quinsigamond Community College

By Holly Lurgio

Thanks to your generosity, we have successfully collected a bounty of food and personal care items for the food insecure students at Quinsigamond Community College in Marlborough. Jodie Bastarache from the Elm East office made the delivery and mentioned how grateful the school was for our donation. Thank you for making an impact on the lives of these students, ensuring they have access to nourishing food during difficult times.

With ‘evolution’ at the forefront, here are tools that could prove to be game changers at Elm

By Tim Rzeszutek

In November’s Elm newsletter, Bob discussed our “Why.” At the end of his writeup, he listed our core values as a company (Safety, Service, Integrity, and Evolution) and defined these very well as to what they mean to us. I want to focus this article on Evolution and why it’s importance could be easily overlooked compared to the other three.

Bob defined Evolution as “proactive learning and innovation.” I could not agree with this more. Why is this important? How about nine businesses that don’t exist today or are a mere fraction of what they were because they failed to be innovative. Nokia, Kodak, Blockbuster, Myspace, Toys R Us, Yahoo, Xerox, Pan American World Airways and Segway all were unable or unwilling to adapt to disruption, technological advancements and evolving customer demands.

I like to think that I am a proactive learner and always looking for innovative advantages to make our day to day operations safer, easier and improve our bottom line. Below are some new tools and products that I have come across or that have been shared with me that may or may not be the game changers that we are looking for. What I think is more imperative is that we are making sure we don’t overlook the importance to adapt as needed.

Milwaukee Wireless Laser Alignment Base w/ Remote (part # 48-35-1314)

Milwaukee website Link: Wireless Laser Alignment Base w/Remote | Milwaukee Tool

Youtube Video Link: https://youtu.be/bcLwQLK4Vbs?si=PkOhN1XBCcU_urHZ

Paige Datacom Solutions CAT6 GameChanger Cable

Product website Link: GameChanger Cable | Datacom Solutions (paigedatacom.com)

Product Video Link: https://youtu.be/8c5BjxMzbUU?si=_jQPq8L3KsuuMoVN

Rack-A-Tiers Slammer Conduit Spacer and Caps

Product website Link: Cable Chase Wire Brackets | Rack-A-Tiers Since 1995

Product Video Link: https://youtube.com/shorts/fJrYlAnuKdE?si=VbOWcqmBTGZMgarK

By the numbers: Elm’s fleet traveled nearly 2.5 million miles in 2023 and more fascinating stats

As a company we do a lot of driving to work and customer sites. Here are the 2023 fleet statistics for the company:

Ninety-six times around the world. That’s impressive!

With the average vehicle driving 12,409 miles, we need to stay vigilante on the road and focus on defensive driving. When possible, back into a parking spot so you are pulling out instead of backing out. Always check your mirrors for other drivers while changing lanes or making turns. Not everyone is as courteous as you.

Remember to always obey the speed limit and rules of the road. Stay awake and take a break when you’re feeling tired on those long trips to the jobsite. The Safety Department and upper management appreciate your contained efforts to bring Safety to the Next Level. Great job in 2023 and let’s keep improving as we roll into 2024!

Elm Electrical receives Gold Safety Award for Safety Assessment Program

Burlington, MA — Highwire, the Contractor Success platform for builders and owners of capital projects, has announced the recipients of its prestigious safety awards. Elm Electrical, Inc. has received the Gold Safety Award. This award is presented to companies who score between 85-94 on the Safety Assessment administered by Highwire.

Less than 20% of contractors on the Highwire platform receive this recognition each year.

“Management systems are critical to any company’s ability to deliver successful outcomes and, most importantly, to keep their employees safe. Elm Electrical, Inc has done a remarkable job implementing a strong safety management system resulting in exceptional safety performance and results,” says David Tibbetts, CSP, Highwire’s Chief Safety Officer. Highwire’s Safety Assessment reviews a company’s historic and current safety performance. The program provides a thorough, objective, and consistent evaluation of company performance so clients and contractors can identify, monitor, and mitigate risks more effectively. The results provide a strong indicator of how a contractor values safety and serve as a reliable predictor of future performance.

About Highwire: Highwire is the Contractor Success Platform for asset owners, general contractors, and facilities managers. The world’s most admired organizations — including Skanska, Merck, and Bond Brothers — use Highwire to ensure their contractors and subcontractors deliver great work on budget and on schedule by collaborating with them to dynamically mitigate safety, financial, quality, and sustainability risks during capital projects and facilities maintenance.

Let us know what we can do to help sharpen your saw!

By Tim Rzeszutek

This month’s tool article is slightly different than in the past. There’s only so many new tools or exciting projects that are worth writing about. Instead, this month is going to be a review of concepts that are far from new and have been around for centuries.

On weekends — if we’re not working — I like to get up early and take my dogs on long walks and listen to podcasts. A couple weekends ago I listened to an interview with Stephen Covey Jr.

Stephen joined his father early in his career to help promote and teach the principles in his father’s book called, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” which was published in 1989 and went on to win numerous awards. Now I have not read the book, but rather just listened to this 3-minute podcast — a high-level overview of these habits, which I found pretty interesting and highly relatable to our trade.

The first three habits Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, and Put First Things First are habits that take you from dependence to independence. This could be apprentices learning the trade, new estimators trying to find a rhythm to their takeoff approach, admin staff new to our field, or recent graduated engineers entering the workforce. We all start out needing help and support from others. Don’t be ashamed to ask questions or ask for help. Just realize it’s up to you to take control of your career and make it what you want. Nobody is going to do the work for you.

The final four Think Win-Win, Seek first to Understand and then to be Understood, Synergize, and Sharpen the Saw are all about learning how to work with people and getting a team to really hit their stride. The thought is once you are independent you definitely have achieved something, but if you can master the next four and learn how to work in a team you can go a lot farther than you would as an individual. It’s where the sum is greater than parts.

Now I’m not a big self-help book kind of guy, but I do believe in having the right mindset and I believe in the need for constant self-improvement. If you have questions and need some help I would encourage you to reach out and ask for help. Nobody will do the work for you but we will definitely point you in the right direction.

If you’re interested in the listening to this podcast you can find a link to it below. Let us know what we can do to help sharpen your saw!

** Click here to listen to the podcast **