Industrial Electrical Contractor Executive, Larry Strohm of Big Sky Electric, Inc. talks about his 30 years of experience in the industry.
BY Sean Reynolds
Larry Strohm, co-owner of Big Sky Electric Inc., has been working in the electrical industry for 30 years. He began his career much the same way as many of his employees: as a candidate in the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee program (NJATC). “My career has remarkable similarities to the company I helped build,” he says and gives credit to being surrounded by skilled technicians from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) on the job site.
Strohm’s involvement with the industry doesn’t stop with his company. He is also the president of the Southern Sierra’s Chapter of NECA. He says his relationship goes back to those first years working with the IBEW and training with the NJATC. Knowing that, as a signatory contractor, his business has the ability to access a workforce he knows first-hand is professionally trained, is a big plus. Hiring from the local community is another advantage working with NECA he explained, not only for his business and the customer, but also for the community at large. “It is always good when the workers are hired locally, because they’re taking the money they’ve earned and they’re spending it at the sandwich shop, at the car dealer, and on their children. It’s a great thing.”
Before starting Big Sky Electric in 2008, Strohm gained experience working on large and medium sized industrial projects across the nation, including a stint at the launch complex at Cape Canaveral. His company now generates about $10 million in revenue annually of which he says, “We’re small, we’re tenacious, but we have the ability to do some pretty big stuff.” Their “stuff” is fairly impressive, including current projects involving design and build applications with Camp Pendleton, LA/Glendale water treatment plant, Ft. Irwin waste to energy plant and Mojave solar.
As a signatory contractor with NECA and the IBEW, Big Sky is designing and installing cutting edge technology for large customers across the region. At the port of Long Beach they are working on a design and build project utilizing Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), an evolving software/hardware system used for remote monitoring and control of pumping stations, water treatment facilities and similar projects. “What gets measured gets attention,” Strohm says. Thirty or 40 different well sites can be monitored from one location.
“The electrical marketplace is in a dynamic time right now. It’s going to be exciting times in the next ten to 15 years.”