Low maintenance, high expectations
“I never really had a boss after I completed my apprenticeship,” admits Bill Fromberg, Managing Director of Contact Electrical.
Fromberg began his career in the electric industry as a contractor, and then reinforced his own abilities by hiring on other trades. As the years progressed, he felt that he needed a bit of a change, and went into farming – an occupation he stayed at for 20 years. After this he entered into ostrich farming at a time he says was very good.
“All that set me up very well for business down the track, even with farming, I was self-employed. We employed up to 80 people on the farm at certain stages, so we were very involved,” says Fromberg.
He has never done anything by a half measure, and he demonstrates this by explaining that with the ostrich farm he ended up on several industry bodies that over saw the development of the industry. Fromberg, by staying on the inside of the industry was able to predict the collapse of the ostrich farming market and decided to get out.
“We saw the end of the industry coming, and we also wanted to make some money to be able to send our kids to university. At that point, my wife and I decided to go back into electrical contracting. So we bought a business with 11 employees and we have built it up from there,” he says.
Today, they stand at about 130 employees. When they purchased the business 15 years ago, Contact Electrical was purely an electrical contractor. A lot of the specialised work, such as fire and security were generally contracted out. With his background in farming, Fromberg felt that bringing some of these abilities in-house would allow them to better compete in the market.
Never saying no
Contact Electrical’s has a wealth of expertise in the industrial, commercial, residential and heating and cooling fields. Their staff have well over 200 years of experience between them, and together they cover virtually all facets of electrical installations. According to Fromberg, this sheer depth of capability is what sets Contact Electrical apart.
“I always want to be able to take the option of never having to say no to anyone. By taking everything we can in-house, this has certainly paid off,” he explains.
Currently, Contact Electrical’s client base is made up of roughly 70 per cent commercial clients, and 20 per cent residential clients. The final 10 per cent is industrial clients.
When asked about the company’s services, Fromberg jokes that they can handle “anything that has a wire on it.” In the residential sector, for example, they specialise in the design, programme and installation of Clipsal C-Bus systems, security systems, smart wiring for distributed audio visual systems, all types of heating and cooling products, and a lot more.
In the commercial sector, they have taken on large and small projects alike, and pride themselves on providing outstanding results no matter what they are doing – whether it’s light and power, security, communications, fire detection, switchboards or mechanical service.
And in the industrial sector, Contact Electrical is constantly busy planning and installing major projects, such as pump stations and woodchip mills.
“The company is constantly evolving,” Fromberg says. “We’re always adding new abilities and specialisations that open up new revenue streams. Again, we never want to be in a position where we have to say ‘no’ to a potential client.”
According to Dion Frame, General Manager at the company, Contact Electrical is also set apart in the market by their adaptability, and the way they use that adaptability to make clients happy.
“We are able to make and come to decisions very quickly,” he explains. “And our work has become our word. If we make a mistake, we fix it. And if plans need to be changed in order to better meet the client’s expecations, we’ll do that too.”
“Builders have come to appreciate the fact that we can act fast and that we are able to jump through approvals, and finish a plant quickly,” he adds.
Having this level of dedication and manoeuvrability is one of the most important tools for creating customer satisfaction – which Fromberg reiterates is the company’s main goal. They want to give their client exactly the solution they want, and they want to make the client’s life as easy as possible along the way.
“We always try and be a low maintenance company,” he says. “I think that sets us apart. And we’re able to do that because we have some of the most talented guys in Tasmania employed with us. We really encourage our guys to talk to builders and really form a relationship, so they can better understand their needs. We really try to form a connection to the industry.”
Contact Eletrical’s superior team also enables them to hand-select the best people for any given job, and thus guarantee the best outcome for clients.
This overall focus on service has earned Contact Electrical numerous repeat clients. Within Tasmania, for example, they have become a preferred contractor when it comes to the needs of many public housing projects. And with every job that they take on, the company is able to further build their portfolio, which consistently opens up even more opportunities.
“We just secured a contract with a university for reactive maintenance,” Frame says. “That also goes to the fact that we have a lot of ability in comms and data. We are able to be reactive and fix things straight away.”
Contact Electrical’s ability to satisfy their client has gained them more than contracts – it has also earned them award recognition from within the industry. Over the last several years Contact Electrical has been repeatedly recognised as a leader in their industry by the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA). Of these they have won numerous recognitions since early on in their management of the company in 2008 to today.
This year they took home award sin three categories – Industrial Small Project, for their work on the Glenorchy City Council Water Treatment Plant; Voice & Data, for the Hydro Tasmania King Island Smart Grid project; and Domestic, for Simmons Court Residence.
According to Frame, these awards are about more than just a certificate on the wall. They are about recognising and acknowledging that Contact Electrical’s approach to business is working – that’s it’s the right way of doing thigns, if not the best way.
“It certainly motivates our guys,” he explains. “It isn’t the reason they do a good job, but it’s a bit of a validation of the work they do. It is one of the reasons we want to keep doing what we are doing.”
He adds that not only does the team gain confidence from the awards they have won, but they also learn from others who win. Frame says there is a lot to learn from those that are recognised in other categories. He says that Contact Electrical constantly works to better itself and seeing these examples allows them to examine how they can improve.
“It is at the same time a great motivation. Our project managers do a great job, and they really deserve this sort of recognition,” says Frame.
As they move into the future, Contact Electrical plans to continue down this path of excellence. They have been able to maintain their level of service and supply by keeping abreast of the latest industry trends, and incorporating new technology when possible and practical. Moving forward, they will continue to keep their eyes open, and if they see a way to better service clients they will jump on it. This level of dedication all but guarantees a bright future for the company.
To learn more about Contact Electrical’s wide variety of services, visit their website at Contact Electrical
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