Rob Couturier, president and founder of Summit Electric in Quesnel, along with his partner Trevor Streek, grew their company by enabling their staff to make the right decisions. Summit Electric offers planning, design, project management, construction, installation and maintenance of electrical systems for clients in the mining, forestry, and oil & gas resource sectors.
Summit Electric got its start with three employees. Couturier had been working as an A-foreman when he found an opportunity to start up his own industrial electrical business in 2004. The next week he had 30 employees. In 2006, Trevor Streek became vice president and a full partner in the company. Trevor works out of the Kamloops office and Rob works out of the Quesnel office.
The company continued to grow over the years, maintaining a full-time staff numbering 20-30 depending on the season, until the recession hit in 2008.
“We were right back down to three employees, and we were told we were going to go bankrupt,” said Couturier about their company’s most trying times. “But, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make it. Don’t give up.”
Working primarily in sawmilling, Summit Electric changed their strategy and diversified their scope to work with gold and copper mining companies. It paid off big-time. Summit Electric now employs over 150 full-time staff, and is continuing to expand their clientele to include liquefied natural gas (LNG) and oil and gas companies. This all happened because they know their staff and listen to their ideas.
Part of Summit Electric’s success also came from the drive to do things better. Not satisfied with the industry standard software they were using, Couturier and Streek started up a software company called Traqspera Technologies Ltd. With this customized software, Summit Electric has been better able to track job progress, asset location, and safety incidents at all job sites in real time, all of which help to contribute to the bottom line. The software was developed by one of their IT technicians, who is now the lead developer at Traqspera.
“Knowing your staff and empowering them to make the right decisions is something we strive to do here,” said Couturier. “We also provide for our staff by giving them competitive pay and benefits packages, and treating them like family”.
Besides Summit Electric’s offices in Kamloops and Quesnel and Traqspera, Couturier and Streek are also partners in James and Son’s Electric in Quesnel, a commercial and residential electric company, and Alpine Environmental Remediation. In total they have over 200 full-time staff working for them.