Following in Her Father’s Footsteps
Ritch Electric, led by Betsy Ritch-Reed, celebrates 50 years in business
Betsy Ritch-Reed learned the electric business from a real pro—her father, Benjamin W. Ritch Sr., who started the company in 1968. The first office was “a little shotgun house” located across the street from their current location in Columbus, Georgia. Back then, their work was strictly commercial electrical. Over the course of those early years, Ritch Electric Co., Inc. completed an abundance of work at Fort Benning for the Department of Defense, which remains one of their biggest and most steadfast clients.
Moving Towards Leadership
Betsy describes how she got into the business: “I came to work in the ‘70s. I wasn’t planning on doing this full time. I wanted to go to college, and I had other aspirations. But in the path of lining up my college course work, my time at Ritch Electric persisted. Before I knew it, I had been with the company two years. One day, I asked my daddy about a raise. He said the only way to get a raise was to go into the apprenticeship program ... so I did. Twelve years later, I got my contractor’s license.”
Betsy worked her way up from IEC Apprentice to Journey Electrician to Electrical Contractor and ultimately to company President, taking over Ritch Electric in 1996. Although her father passed away the following year, Betsy inherited his work ethic and dedication. The business philosophy—which is centered on value, trust, kindness towards others and the principles of faith—has transitioned seamlessly to the next generation.
Scope and Service
With Betsy at the helm and with a workforce of more than 20 employees, Ritch Electric is a successful woman-owned business enterprise in Georgia, and is nationally recognized as such. It is also certified as a Hub Zone and Woman Owned Small Disadvantaged Business by the Small Business Administration. Over the last few years, Ritch Electric has expanded its scope from doing strictly commercial electrical to service and residential work as well.
Aside from the work performed at Fort Benning, including renovations and airport lighting, Ritch Electric has always looked to help clients meet their electrical needs. Taking a page from her father, Betsy shares that the biggest differentiators for the company are cost and trust. She says, “We try and do what’s right even if it costs us. Mistakes are going to happen, and trying to hide them doesn’t teach us anything or establish trust. Our policy is to be transparent if we make a mistake, forgive ourselves and others, and move forward. We have an active performance accountability and it starts with me.” With a stated mission to “light up the world by trusting and obeying God’s word,” Betsy always strives to do what’s right and to do right by clients and employees alike.
Honoring a Legacy
As for the future, Betsy has learned from the past. She says, “I worked with my dad as a child. He taught me about being a part of what he created; Ritch Electric felt almost like a sibling, one that had to be cared for. I want to see Ritch Electric Co. continue in order to honor him. I think that’s the biggest motivation of a second generation. Make daddy proud and keep it going.”