As Vice President of A-American Electric, Inc., Kris Wilson manages the day-to-day operations for the company that his father founded in 1981.
When Phil Wilson started the business, it was a small service provider in Fletcher, a rural community at the time. Since then, both the company and the surrounding area have grown exponentially. The company now has three divisions, 75 employees and serves Western North Carolina.
A-American Electric provides comprehensive electrical services from installations to maintenance, repairs and upgrades for residential, commercial and industrial customers. Design-build projects also are among services offered by the company.
“We do almost everything,” Wilson says. “We work on the service side every day,” he adds.
Residential development and growth in the area have helped his family’s business expand, Wilson says. And while residential service remains a staple of company, A-American Electric now serves a substantial number of commercial and industrial businesses including Walmart.
“We work for 50 Walmart stores in Western North Carolina from Murphy to Charlotte,” Wilson says.
The company also provides services for shopping malls and hotels and has service contracts with other stores.
Retrofitting lighting systems also has become a significant component of the business as energy-efficient components, such as LED lights, have become more affordable and easier to install, Wilson adds.
“We’re a Duke Energy partner,” he notes.
With state-mandated credits for energy-efficient upgrades, companies can reap cost-saving benefits in a relatively short time, Wilson says.
Keeping the tradition
After graduating from T.C. Robertson High School, Wilson decided to come to work for his father.
Not only has he made a family business his career, Wilson lives and works near property that has been in his family for 100 years.
“Dad grew up at the end of the road,” he says.
Wilson’s children are the fifth generation to grow up on the homestead established by his great-grandfather.
Even though the business has grown in size and scope of services, it still has a family atmosphere, Wilson says.
“We still run it like a small company,” he says. “We’re still a local, family-run business.”
Wilson and managers at the business also make an effort to maintain ongoing communication with employees who work there.
“We have a very open door policy,” Wilson says. “We try to talk with everybody at the shop. It creates loyalty.”
Wilson says he is fortunate to have a good staff that includes managers to keep the company running smoothly.
To keep up with the demand for well-trained and skilled employees, the company began an in-house school a few years ago.
“We saw a need and started the program,” Wilson says.
Finding employees can be challenging because of the shortage of skilled labor in the area, he says. A former training program at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College has closed because of a lack of interest, he notes.
Along with proper training, safety of workers and customers is a high priority for the company, which has a full time safety director who does site inspections and is a certified trainer for OSHA 30, CPR-first aid and lifts.
A-American Electric, Inc. is at 25 Sheehan Rd. in Fletcher. The phone number for the company is 828-684-7560. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.americanelectric.com.
By Sandra Barnes