Chown Electrical Contractors provides a variety of residential and commercial services, including electrical installations, electrical maintenance, bucket truck and 24-hour emergency service. This year, the company turns 45.
“My father, Bud Chown, started this company in 1972,” reminisces his son, Les Chown. “Bud was a good businessman and an excellent father who understood the distinction between time at work and quality time with his family.” Les remembers a very happy and fulfilling childhood, and Bud’s clients remember him as the hardworking, pleasant man to which they trusted their electrical needs.
“When I was young, I worked with my dad,” says Les. “I was that 12-year-old child on job sites! We were very close. When I graduated, it was a given that I’d work for my dad. When he passed away in 2003, I became the company president.”
The growth of Chown Electrical over the past decades has been underlined by their willingness to incorporate technology and progressive business practices, while remaining rooted in the values instilled by Bud.
“We are very stable,” smiles Les. “We benchmark our annual sales figures and we hit them every year. We are not focused on growth, but rather on doing what we do to the best of our ability, and on maintaining sustainable volume. When that is the focus, growth happens naturally. We are a company dedicated to providing superior service to new and existing clientele, and we take pride in each and every job. Chown could not accomplish this without a loyal and excellent group of people on staff to help us achieve these goals.”
Chown Electrical’s portfolio is varied. In addition to residential work, the company is pleased to work with new schools for the Catholic and public school board. They were behind the electrical installations at luxury car dealers Lexus and BMW (Stony Plain Road), and were recently selected to do the electrical work for multi-family condominium builder.
“I like working with the clients, vendors and staff, and I enjoy the challenge of being able to pick up work in a competitive marketplace,” says Les. He goes on to note that the company has faced its fair share of challenges, but it has yet to find one that they couldn’t overcome together.
“The loss of my father in 2003 was very difficult. Those were a large pair of shoes to fill. Some clients and staff wondered if the company would go on. Fortunately, in addition to my father’s influence and instruction, I had several long-term team members to rely on.” Les is profoundly grateful.
“These days a challenge is how tightly jobs are scheduled. It’s very competitive out there, but we make sure we have everything covered with staff, tools and the right equipment for each job. We finish our jobs on time.”
Chown Electrical remains competitive and efficient by investing in the company and in the staff, empowering the team to grow into positions for which they are best suited.
“It’s about staying rooted in those family values, remaining steadfast and rising to meet the challenges as they come,” smiles the company president.
He continues, “My father once told me that you have to be able to do someone else’s job if you want to make changes, so you have to get along with everyone. We all have our own input and when we combine our input, we get a better result. Teamwork is the heart of our business. We all work together to achieve a common goal.”
One of Chown Electrical’s goals is to give back to the community, and they do this by supporting the Canadian Cancer Society through charitable donations and golf tournament sponsorships.
“There is not one person that we could point to and say he or she is responsible for the success of Chown Electrical,” Les admits. “We owe our success to my father for founding the company, to our mechanical and general contractor clients, to the community that supports us and allows us to actively engage in giving back, to each team member and to our potential clients down the road.
“As for what comes next, I’m hoping that one day my children will take over the company. Right now, my daughter works in reception and my son is an apprentice. The kids live at home, too, so sometimes work stuff comes up at the dinner table. My wife says, ‘leave work at work!’
“As we look to the future, Chown focuses on sustaining our current work volumes and providing opportunities for our team. We are proud to have 45 years under our belt, and this is just the beginning. This is a company that will be around, doing what we do best, for many more decades. I like to think that my dad would be proud of where we are, too.”