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The Washington Construction News APRIL 2004 PAGE B7

At J.E. Richards Electrical Construction


& Services, Teamwork is Key
JEFF ROBERTS
The Washington Construction News Special Feature

J. E. Richards, Inc., is a 320-employee,


Beltsville, Md.- based electrical construc-
tion and services firm serving Washington
D.C., Baltimore, and northern Virginia.
President Joe Richards explains that it
began as a one-man operation. We were
incorporated on Feb. 1, 1983 as Richards
Electric. We soon found out that there was
already a Richard Electric, Richardson
Electric, and a Richards Group of
Washington in the DC area and I began
receiving material invoices for these com-
panies,” laughs Richards, “ so we decided
to trade as J. E. Richards Electric.”
J. E. Richards, a 2003 recipient of a
Washington Building Congress Electrical
Craftsmanship Award, boasts a list of core
competencies that includes but is not lim-
ited to: fire alarm, life safety, and security
systems, uninterruptible power supplies
(UPS), building energy management sys- “We’re a small company; mean we’re big in the swanky Lafayette Square section of Despite the report’s findings, Richards
tems, and commercial switchgear and for electrical but small.” Still, being clas- downtown Washington, D.C., and again in remains positive and confident. “I have
generation. Richards says, “We’re not sified as small suits Joe Richards just fine. 2003, when HITT put a team together to what we need,” he says, “but do not
shut out of any job. There’s nothing too He feels that adaptability and flexibility build the Medimmune biotech facility. expect to continue rapid growth as we
technical, too big or too small that we are important components to the success James G. Davis Construction saw in 1999 through 2003.”
can’t do. We’re available to do anything of J. E. Richards “It’s important to have Corporation enlisted the services of J. E. J. E. Richards understands that safety
that our customers send our way.” growth so our people have the opportuni- Richards to assist in the renovation of the is a critical issue on construction sites,
One area where J. E. Richards distin- ty for advancement; however, our growth Madison Hotel, which, located at the cor- and that a safe workplace, for many com-
guishes itself from its competitors is in is dependent on the local economy. If the ner of 15th and M Streets, lies in the heart panies, could mean the difference
the electrical installation of biotech facili- local economy takes a nosedive and we of downtown Washington D.C. Richards between windfall and financial ruin.
ties such as Human Genome, are not growing, it feels like we are dying. is also the electrical expertise behind Safety is extremely important. With that
Therrimmune, Covance, and Then it is better to shrink quickly until we Davis’s 2004 construction of the in mind, Joe Richards has no problem
Medimmune. J. E. Richards’s website can start growing again. “ Discovery Channel Data Center, which is investing in the safety of his employees
states that the firm “specializes in the con- Being a small company but a large located in Sterling, Va. and workplace to avoid unfortunate acci-
struction of biopharmaceutical, health electrical company also gives J.E. Whiting-Turner is using the expertise dents. Chad Bittick, the J.E. Richards
care, related laboratory and Richards the opportunity to subcontract of J.E. Richards as it builds the Riggs safety officer, is actively seeking to keep
commercial/industrial facilities.” J.E. with some very well-known general con- Alumni Center, and Clark Construction safety a top priority to ensure that J.E.
Richards lists Children’s Hospital, tractors, and, at the same time, contribute Group relies on J. E Richards as it builds Richards’s jobsites are as safe as they can
Columbia Hospital, George Washington to some of the major development proj- the Kim Engineering Building, both of be. “Chad goes to new training seminars
University Medical Center, Washington ects in the D.C. metro area. Some of the which are on the campus of the University every quarter at Xcelecom headquarters in
Hospital Center, Providence Hospital, firm’s largest clients include Brown & of Maryland, College Park. Connecticut. He’ll learn new safety tech-
Sibley Memorial Hospital, National Root, Clark Construction Group, Inc., In response to a question about a 2004 niques and come back and convey them to
Institutes of Health (NIH), International HITT Contracting, James G. Davis report in Power Outlet magazine that the rest of the employees,” says Richards.
Monetary Fund and the Smithsonian Construction, the National Gallery of Art, states that the electrical industry is operat- One concept not lost on Richards is
Institution among its distinguished clients. Spaulding & Slye, and Tompkins ing at a dangerously low level of skilled that training and experience are para-
Despite annual sales of $39.4 million Construction. electricians and that an electrician short- mount to the future success of J.E.
in 2003 (up from $33.9 million in 2002) HITT Contracting, Inc. looked to J. E. age should continue through 2008, Joe Richards. Richards understands the
and a workforce 320-strong (up from an Richards during its major renovation of Richards agrees, “Skilled electricians are importance of surrounding himself with
average of 260), Richards maintains, the historic eight-story Hay Adams Hotel hard to come by.” good people who possess valuable skills,

Congratulations to J E Richards
Best wishes for your continued success.

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PAGE B8 APRIL 2004 The Washington Construction News

satisfaction. “If we have cient end result. He says, er toward the common
office grievances, employ- “We at J.E. Richards want goals.
ees just come to me. to be known for our quality, With such a passionate
Our chief estimator, Danny continuing education for
J.E. Littleford, has been with us
for 20 years. He came two
electricians and gladly pay
for anybody who wants to
Anybody can come in here
and talk about anything,”
says Richards. “ I don’t
for our fairness and for our
ability to do anything our
customers need done, and
avowal, it is clear that J.E.
Richards has in place the
components to realize these
Richards weeks out of school and
knows our operation from
take classes.”
Richards attributes his
even have my phone calls
screened.”
for completing our work on
time. Equally important,”
basic business principles
well into the future.
Continued from page B7
–––––––––––––––––––––– top to bottom.” well-trained, competent Richards also under- Richards stresses, “is the For more information
But the training and employees to the efforts of stands the necessity of effi- idea of teamwork on the visit J.E. Richards online at
and he is confident that experience so characteristic the IBEW Washington, ciency in trying to provide jobsite. Any project we www.jerichards.com or
upon his retirement, of J.E. Richards’s leader- D.C. local 26. He says, customers with the best work on, we want to be part phone (301) 345-1300.
although not slated to hap- ship does not end with the “The local union offers possible and most cost-effi- of a team, and work togeth-
pen anytime soon, J.E. top brass. “I would venture courses continuously. For
Richards will be in good to say that we have more their part, they have one
hands. “I have two vice than 50 employees with thing to sell the electrical
presidents. One is Ed more than 10 years of serv- contractors: well-trained
McCarty who is the senior ice with us. And several labor. They do this very
vice president. I’ve worked have over 15 years of well and we are proud to be
with Ed since he was 19 employment. I’ve got a lot associated with them.
years old, and he’s been my of the same guys that have J. E. Richards’s small
second-in-command since been here since the early size is, in part, what makes
1987,” says Richards. 1980s.” Richards adds, it such a great place to
“And the other, Dean “Most of our foremen have work. The relaxed atmos-
Fleming, has been with me completed five years of phere and the even-keeled
since 1998 and has been in apprenticeship with Local nature of Richards con-
the industry since 1976. 26 IBEW. We encourage tribute to overall workplace

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Proud of our association with
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8051 Penn Randall Place, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772 Baltimore Location 410-866-6000
Phone: 800-367-2113 • 301-967-2844
Fax: 301-967-0218 • Builders Net ID 22050
Beltsville Location 301-595-9000

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