Frank Averill is the President and Founder of Averill Electric Company Inc, which for over 25 years has provided electrical installations for private, commercial and industrial clients, including the installation of energy-efficient lighting technology and cable bus systems, and complete communications wiring and system installations.
After graduating from a four-year high school level electrical studies program at Blue Hills Regional Technical School, Frank earned a degree in electrical engineering and business management at Massasoit Community College. While working full-time after graduation, he enrolled in programs at Wentworth University including construction management, electrical estimating, building information modeling, and general construction.
Under his leadership, Averill Electric has established a renowned reputation for its work ethic, efficiency, integrity, professionalism, and meticulous attention to detail. Some of the company’s high-profile projects include the installation of all electrical systems in Boston’s 100,000 square foot Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center, and the installation of all electrical, communications, fire alarm, intrusion, and A/V systems for Emerson College’s Colonial Building Dormitory.
Averill Electric is also proud to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Shriners Hospital for Children, and Feeding America. Each year, the company also runs an in-house winter coat and clothing drive.
How did you get started in your industry?
Believe it or not, I actually got started at age of 12! Back then, I would go with my father to his construction sites and lend a hand. Sure, I couldn’t do anything technical or that required extensive training, but it was an incredibly valuable experience. The next year when I was 13, I enrolled in a technical school that offered a specialized electrical program. I graduated at 17, and continued my education in college where I majored in electrical engineering and business management. Shortly after graduating, I was hired by an electrical contractor to work on complex construction projects. During that time I gained a great deal of knowledge and experience in the field.
What motivated you to start your own business?
When I entered the industry after graduating from college, I became an apprentice foreman. While I was managing and coordinating a full staff, the compensation was inadequate and not commensurate with my duties and responsibilities. That is when I decided I would either join the IBEW union, or start my own business. Initially, I had taken the former path. However, there was a nine-month waiting period for new IBEW union members to start working on a union job site. Since I simply couldn’t sit idly for that length of time, together with my brother I launched a new business that paved the way for Averill Electric.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
While I was confident that Averill Electric would be successful, just out of a basic sense or realism there was some initial doubt — as I think is the case with all new businesses. After all, you can have the best business plan and all of the other pieces in place, but you never know what the market is going to be like. However, I’m happy to say that my company thrived, and within a year we became an IBEW union electrical contractor.
Do you remember your first customer as an IBEW union electrical contractor?
Yes, it was a memorable and important project for us. The job was very complex and multi-faceted, and involved a complete overhaul to renovate a local mall. However, our piece of the project couldn’t start until the mall had been deconstructed. Rather than waiting idly, I thought it would be worthwhile to examine the mall’s blueprints, and pre-assemble many of the parts we would need later on. Not only did this enable us to make the waiting period billable — because we were providing professional services to the project — but it also significantly reduced on-site labor hours and accelerated the production schedule. The experience was so positive that it convinced us to implement pre-fabrication techniques into our processes for all future projects.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Because we have such an outstanding reputation in the field — especially when it comes to our meticulous, if not obsessive attention to detail and precision — it is true that much of our new business comes from referrals. However, we also find that our website at averillelectric.com is also quite effective in introducing us to new clients, and outlining the many services we offer.
What is the best decision you’ve made in your professional life?
While it seems like a no-brainer now, several months after launching Averill Electric my turn came up on the IBEW union list, and that meant I had to make a decision: do I work for someone else, or do I keep forging ahead with Averill Electric. After doing some soul searching and realizing that in life you sometimes have to follow your heart and bet on yourself, I decided to run with Averill Electric — and it was by far the best professional decision I have ever made.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Our company has built a reputation for efficiency, integrity, attention to detail, and a relentless work ethic. We also work together as a team and support and teach others — which is extremely important, because we typically work on high-profile, high-pressure projects and that is really when you need your team to be highly collaborative and effective. Also, since launching Averell Electric more than 25 years ago, I’ve always been open to implementing innovative change and embracing new ideas. Too many firms in this industry are change-resistant, which limits their ability to be more efficient and improve results.
What is the most satisfying thing about your job?
The most satisfying thing is knowing that we are making a positive impact through our efforts. Our clients and so many others depend on us to meet the highest standards for safety, competence, professionalism and integrity, and we always deliver. In this industry, reputation is everything, and our reputation is stellar and second-to-none!
I am also very proud that we are a company that gives back the community. We support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Shriners Hospital for Children, and Feeding America. Each year, we also run an in-house winter coat and clothing drive.
What are some of the factors that make your business successful?
There are several factors that combine to make us strong and successful. I would point to our adoption of the 5S methodology, which was introduced in the 1970s by Toyota to enhance visual control, and has since established the foundation for LEAN manufacturing processes. In addition, we are always looking for ways to improve and become more efficient. While some other companies are afraid of change and innovation, we embrace it.
At the same time, our success is also driven by our very positive work culture — yes, we work hard, but we also have fun and really care about each other’s well being. For example, I recently made the decision to make our environment dog-friendly, and now anyone who visits our office will have the opportunity to meet our canine team members Cinnamon, Roscoe, Koda, Coco. This policy was inspired after I noticed that some of our team members were worried about their puppies at home, and so they were racing home during their lunch break. This was stressing them out, and so we became dog-friendly and now everyone is much happier — especially the puppies!
What book has inspired you the most?
While it is difficult to pick just one, I would have to say Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins. I highly recommend it to anyone — regardless of their field, profession, age, background, or any other aspect — who wants to discover profound advice and practical action steps on how they can transform their potential into reality. It’s the kind of book that you can read over and over again, and there is always something new to discover.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would say: follow your heart! There are always going to be nay-sayers who want to limit your vision. Believe in yourself, work very hard, build strong relationships, act with integrity, be open to change, be determined in your efforts, use your time very wisely, remain humble and grateful, and share your success with your team. If you check all of these boxes — without cutting corners or compromising — then there is nothing that you cannot do!
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
Yes, I can be contacted through our website at averillelectric.com. I would only ask that anyone who reaches out to please be patient. Because of my very busy schedule, it may take me a little while to respond.