Best Places to Work alumni spotlight: B&B Electric

PHOTO BY JOSH CATALANO
B&B Electric has been family owned and operated for four generations. From left to right: Todd Brinkman, president; Kristin Miller, treasurer; Tim Brinkman, partner and executive vice president.

Named one of the Best Places to Work in 2020, B&B Electric, a licensed electrical contractor that delivers electrical solutions to commercial, institutional or industrial projects, is unique in that it has been a family-owned and operated business for four generations. Tim Brinkman, partner and executive vice president, is a member of the fourth generation to run the company alongside his father, Todd. "We've been fortunate to have a family-run business since 1962," said Brinkman.

Entrepreneurship is part of the family makeup. Brinkman explained that his great-grandfather had a TV repair shop located at South Grand Avenue and 11th Street. His grandfather later started an electrical business that he operated out of the same building. It was then that the company was officially named B&B Electric. In 1977, Tim Brinkman's father, Todd, joined the company as an apprentice electrician. Todd Brinkman has now served as president of the company since 1992.

Tim Brinkman distinguishes between change and progress at B&B Electric. "We don't like a whole lot of change, but we do value progress." Lack of change is reflected in the fact that B&B Electric has a very low rate of employee turnover. "Low turnover allows us to maintain a core group of people who have a great deal of knowledge. Two guys in the office have 35 and 40 years of experience, respectively. In Springfield your reputation means a ton, and we rely on repeat customers who get used to seeing the same faces," when B&B Electric comes in to do a job, Tim Brinkman explained.

Employee longevity speaks to the rich culture at B&B Electric. Tim Brinkman said, "We are at the forefront of safety. We want everyone to go home to their families at the end of the day." He explained that they ensure safety by doing things the right way. This not only ensures the safety of employees, but it is also a reflection of two of the company's values – quality and professionalism.

As for valuing progress, Tim Brinkman said they keep up with technology as it applies to the construction industry. "Technology has changed the way we approach construction projects. All foremen carry iPads, which allows us to be more effective. There are many new tools available to us, and we do our best to keep on top of technology."

B&B Electric specializes in historical restoration projects, and cutting-edge technology is being applied there as well. Tim Brinkman said, "We are currently working on the north wing of the Capitol, which is our biggest project ever. It's tough, though, because the building is so very old, but it is a very rewarding project." The job is slated to continue through the summer of 2025.

When asked what the next generation looks like for B&B Electric, Tim Brinkman said, "We lost a lot of experience in the field about 10 years ago, and I was concerned. Fortunately, we've had a lot of apprentices come to us through the union hall, and I've been impressed with the young people. We teach apprentices our way of doing things, and we want to hang on to those who uphold our ethics and find value in us. We hope they make their career with us at B&B."

B&B Electric is four generations strong because of the way the company values people. Tim Brinkman added, "The construction industry has its highs and inevitable lows. We do our best to keep everyone busy during the slower times." These practices have built loyalty over four generations.

Brinkman summed it up well. "Our reputation speaks volumes. We treat people the right way, we take care of our customers, and that brings us repeat business. Sometimes taking care of our customers is answering the emergency phone call in the middle of the night on a weekend when a business loses power. When we get that call, we answer it. Our customers know we're there for them."

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