CMN Electrical Systems Ltd. provides home automation, theatre room setups, security systems, new home wiring, and electrical renovations in homes and offices. The company was launched in 1989 by Clem Gratton.
“He was working for another electrical firm and wanted to start his own business,” explains Clem’s son, Michael, who spent his summers in his father’s shop before officially joining the company in 1995 and becoming its CEO in 2000. “He had some potential clients lined up, so he went ahead and started down that route.”
It was the right path. This year CMN celebrates its 30th anniversary.
CMN Electrical was a family business from the start. The name stands for Clem, Michael and Nick – the father and his two sons. Michael notes that some cousins and school friends were also involved, and most of the staff have, for the most part, been around between 20-25 years, which unofficially makes them part of the family.
“We have strong, long-term ties with our original builders too,” Michael smiles. “For example, we’ve been working with Park Royal and Kimberly Homes for over 25 years, and have been with our other builders for, on average, 10 to 20 years.”
Over the past 30 years, CMN Electrical always moved with the times. As systems changed and smart homes grew in popularity, CMN took charge and remained at the forefront of the industry. Nick’s home doubles as a show suite demonstrating how smart home technology can provide outstanding convenience. Simply opening the garage door can also initiate a sequence in which the lights go on and the blinds adjust for daylight.
The team isn’t afraid of challenges either, having recently wired a home where everything had to be fished through concrete slab. “It was challenging!” Mike admits, but he and his team love coming up with solutions for their clients, no matter what type of environment they are working in.
“What makes us different is that we are a one-stop-shop for wiring and custom projects,” says Michael. “We have the products and we do the installations. Our specialties include full home automation, security cameras, networking, lighting control, and more. Anything that has a wire attached to it, we can work with for our customers.”
He continues, “We strive to provide really, really good customer service and warranties. We like to keep our customers and builders happy. We address concerns promptly and make sure everyone is happy with the service they have received.
It is very evident that CMN Electrical has happy clients; the company that started with one owner and three contractors is now known to run a team of up to 65 during peak years.
“We all work very well together between us brothers and dad, and we have great staff that are very good at what they do. We have great builders and great clients,” notes Michael. “We get to the project sites on time, we do the job right, and if something goes wrong, we fix it as soon as possible.”
As he reflects on the past 30 years, Michael recounts his most memorable moments: “When father launched CMN, when I became CEO, and when my brother Nick joined. It is so nice that all of us can work together.”
However, not every moment is idyllic.
Michael admits, “In this economy finding new work, staying busy and keeping the employees working full time can be a challenge. Costs are up and work is down. Some of our business is driven by the home builders. The more homes they sell, the better we do.” But as hardworking Albertan entrepreneurs, the management team at CMN knows that their diversification across residential and commercial sectors, their solutions for any type of electrical job, and their loyal long-term client base will get them through the next 30 years, and more. “A negative economy can happen anywhere,” shrugs Michael. “You ride with the waves.”
In fact, CMN has a key differentiator that not all electrical firms can claim. When a client comes to them for a customized job, it is designed in-house – not contracted out – and that designer is no other than the CEO himself.
“I really enjoy having home or business owners come in here, showing them the plans, meeting with them and explaining how to enhance their dwelling or building. Not a lot of electrical firms have someone in house that can do that, and I know the clients really enjoy it,” Michael smiles. “In our base of business and with our custom designs, it’s nice to know that we can personally ensure all of our clients have the proper mounts, proper control of the lights, and check to see if they are happy with the locations of switches or television and stereo equipment, etc. We love working with all of our clients and builders.”
CMN also has a passion for community service and supports organizations vested in cancer, Crohn’s, and colitis research. The team and their families build and donate Christmas hampers and engage in charity walks.
During his most active times with the company, Clem sat on numerous contractor boards and has received several awards of merit for his service. Father and son also sat on the Electrical Technical Council to help spur positive changes in the industry. CMN has been a member of the Home Builder’s Association and the Professional Electrical Contractor’s Association for over 25 years.
“We want to say thank you to all the associations that have helped us. In this business there is a lot to learn and through these associations we’ve met people with so much knowledge. They are willing to share whenever you need help. We also thank our builders, clients, team, and the many people that have supported CMN for 30 years.”
What comes next? “Thirty more years!” says Michael. “We are looking to get more market share on the commercial and residential sides, and we are checking into new innovations in products and building procedures.
Learn more about what has made CMN Electrical Systems a big part of Edmonton’s building scene for three decades and counting by visiting
www.edmontonelectricalcompany.com online or CMN Electrical Systems Ltd. on Facebook.