The Future of Elm: Part 2 of 4

By Bob Bacon

“Electricity, young lady.”

There is an old 1960s movie about a young fellow who just graduated from college. Everyone is giving him advice of all kinds. One that stuck with me was, “plastic, young man, plastics is where you should be.”

Well, 60 years later my advice to a young person would be, “electricity, young lady, electricity is where you should be!”

And, I’d definitely say, “we have spot for you at Elm!”

It’s a good time to be in the electrical business! Why is Elm in a good place for the future?

There is, at least in the U.S., a significant shift away from carbon-based fuels to electricity. We are seeing significant growth in the size of the PV projects we are being asked to perform. Construction of vehicle-charging infrastructure has been increasing at a steady, increasing rate. I anticipate the size and capacity of future charging facilities will rival manufacturing electric services.  According to Insight, our core business should see about 30 percent growth over the next five years.

RELATED: In case you missed The Future of Elm: Part 1, click here

Prefabrication and digitization are a must have in our future. In order for construction businesses like ours to remain competitive, the way we do our work needs to change. A 2020 report from McKinsey describes it as an industrial approach. Elm is an advanced player in modeling and prefabrication. According to the report we will need to keep investing and developing our skills to be successful.

Quality and technical competence have always been a driver of Elm’s success. This now, coupled with the overwhelming embrace by our workforce in working safely, has truly set us apart. Lesser skilled competitors willing to cut corners and take chances are not able to compete in many areas. Our clients demand high quality work done safely and we will continue to deliver it.

That same McKinsey report says: “Skilled-labor shortages have become a major issue in several markets, and retirements will drain talent. For example, about 41 percent of the current U.S. construction workforce is expected to retire by 2031.”

This might be good news for our automation and robotics business, but it is a big hurdle for our electrical and construction businesses. This is another area our folks are ahead and moving us in the right direction, our in-house training programs and innovative recruiting ideas are producing a stream of talent. We will need to couple this with competitive and flexible compensation packages, industrialized methods requiring a less skilled entry-level worker and advancement opportunities for all our coworkers. Since I have been a leader at creating a good work environment, treating people fairly and respectfully has been a foundation of the company success. This is as important as it ever was!

Our electrical business is in a good place for the future. I’ll catch you up on our other businesses in Part 3.