IBEW Local 1 is helping members help themselves, while providing consumers with quality workmanship, through a unique program aimed at assisting members in starting their own contracting business.
More than 75 Local 1 members attended a free business development seminar last month hosted by Business Manager Frank Jacobs and Business Agent John Kahrhoff.
Assistant Business Manager Rob Dussold, Treasurer Dave Roth, Director of Political and Legislative Affairs Tim Green, Business Agent Steve Muehling, and Press Secretary John Moyle were also in attendance.
“The St. Louis market is vastly different than it was just five years ago and it’s the union’s job to do everything it can to promote our members and help them find opportunities,” Jacobs said. “Starting your own company can be a tough venture, but it’s one that’s been successful for quite a few of our members, which helps us expand opportunities into new markets in need of quality workmanship.”
The seminar, held at the Electrical Industry Training Center at 2300 Hampton Ave. in St. Louis, focused on educating members about starting their own contracting business, potential pitfalls to avoid and how to access assistance through state and local governments.
Members attending the workshop learned firsthand from those with experience about the benefits and difficulties of running their own business. They also received information packets that included information on applying for a business license, financial aid opportunities, electrical and CDL licensing, writing a business plan, best practices and helpful contacts.
“All consumers seeking quality electrical construction, remodeling, or maintenance should have access to our highly skilled workforce regardless of the size or scope of their project,” Kahrhoff said. “Our goal is to increase that access by expanding the number of smaller member-owned companies. More small shops, which typically have lower overhead, allow everyone access to safe, quality jobs done right the first time through IBEW Local 1 members.”
With a minimum of 10,000 hours of technical training, Local 1 members are already masters of their trades. Last month’s seminar and classes planned for the future seek to give them that same level of mastery in business and better enable them to bring their professionalism and performance to consumers, Jacobs said.
A SOLID BUSINESS PLAN
Sallie Hemmeway, of the Missouri Department of Economic Development and Aldis Jakubovskis, program specialist with the University of Missouri, Small Business Development Center told members they need a solid business plan, noting the various educational and financial resources they offer.
Doug Martin the President of the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) also told members about the benefits and mentorship available in the NECA.
VOICES OF EXPERIENCE
Union brothers Lance Ryan of LSR Electric, Rob Ayres of Array Electric and Mel Snyder of Hanenkamp Electric talked to members about their experiences starting shops and issues that they encountered. They also offered tips on what worked best for them.
ADDITIONAL CLASSES AVAILABLE
Additional classes available to Local 1 members include Electrical Licensing, Code Compliance, Marketing and Management, and OSHA safety, as well as classes that cover every technical aspect of the electrical, communications and construction industries.
For more information, visit www.stlejatc.org or call 314-644-3587.