Integrity + Commitment = Success
Gulu Electrical Contractors, Inc. succeeds through aptitude, fortitude and gratitude
For two decades, Gulu Electrical Contractors, Inc., based in Youngstown, Ohio, has grown steadily as a provider of electrical services for residential and commercial customers. With Gary Gulu at the helm, the company has succeeded through a combination of natural aptitude, fortitude and gratitude. As it continues to expand throughout Ohio and beyond, Gulu Electrical Contractors remains committed to its values of integrity and dedication to providing top service to its clients, which include owners and developers of predominantly multifamily developments, hotels, condominiums and assisted living facilities.
From Humble Beginnings
Gary’s love of electrical work began when he was 15 years old and he found himself helping his father, who worked as an electrician on weekends. “The interest started to grow,” he says. After high school, Gary attended trade school in order to learn the basics of electrical engineering.
Eventually, Gary went into business for himself, beginning as a one-man operation. “For his first project, he bid on and won the contract to wire a new car wash,” says Kathi Gulu, Gary’s wife and the company’s human resources manager. After buying the necessary materials, Gary performed the work solo. “He did it all on his own,” she adds proudly.
As President of Gulu Electrical Contractors, Gary oversees a company of approximately 50 employees. The anecdote regarding the company’s founding highlights what Kathi sees as an essential aspect of her husband’s nature. “Gary is a gambler,” she says, “in the sense that he is willing to take a risk when the situation demands it. He thinks anyone can do whatever they set their mind to do.”
The Right Job for the Man
Meticulous in nature and highly detail-focused, Gary “picked the right career right out of the gate,” Kathi says. “He has a savant-like brain when it comes to electrical work. If he has 10 jobs going on, he knows where every plug goes in all 10 jobs.”
Gary’s competence and unswerving devotion to keeping his word have helped Gulu Electrical Contractors develop strong, lasting relationships with contracting partners. “Most general contractors enjoy working with him,” Kathi says. “When he signs his name to a contract, he’s promising that he’s going to do what he tells you he’s going to do. For example, Gulu Electrical Contractors has never missed a deadline for an inspection.” The company has prospered by living up to its commitments.
Of course, Gulu Electrical Contractors benefits greatly by hiring and retaining excellent, committed personnel, among both its field and office staff. “Many of our employees have been here a long time,” Kathi says. “I want them to retire here.” To this end, the Gulus honor employees who reach certain career milestones with the company.
Once onboard, employees receive integrity training to ensure that they understand the company’s values and culture. “If staff members understand their roles and believe in the organization’s mission, a company will succeed,” Kathi says. “That company is limitless.”
For their part, the Gulus work hard to get to know staff members and their families because such interactions promote camaraderie and loyalty to the company. For example, an annual picnic is held every summer for staff and their families, and the company buys tickets for its employees to attend a charity fundraiser each spring. Other employee perks include special bread loaves at Easter and gift cards for ice cream during the summer. Combined with competitive compensation, the perks help to form a bond between the company and its workers. “They care about this company and its success,” Kathi says.
The field staff, in particular, shows their appreciation for Gulu Electrical Contractors by being willing to drive long distances when this is necessary to perform a job. “They are team players who are willing to help out,” Gary says.
Since beginning in Youngstown 20 years ago, Gulu Electrical Contractors has steadily grown its service area beyond northeast Ohio. Today, the company operates throughout Ohio, western Pennsylvania and, occasionally, southwest Florida. “We do a lot of work in Akron and Canton,” Gary says. “But we’ve been expanding our presence around the state, including, most recently, in Columbus.”
To succeed in Columbus, Gulu Electrical Contractors is looking to establish a base of operations that features top-notch employees. “In any company, growth happens if you have a good core,” Gary says. “That’s what we’re working on in Columbus—developing a core of trustworthy folks who share the same passion and values as our Youngstown location.”
Eventually, Gulu Electrical Contractors aims to hire a project manager for the area and possibly open an office in Columbus. “But that doesn’t happen unless you have a good core that starts out working in that area,” Gary says.
As for making its mark in the broader community, Gulu Electrical Contractors engages in multiple charitable activities annually to benefit the less fortunate. At Christmastime, the company works with Casa Madre, a facility located in Canfield, Ohio, and run by the Ursuline Sisters HIV/AIDS Ministry. The facility provides programs to benefit children who are infected or otherwise affected by HIV or AIDS. Each year, Gulu Electrical Contractors buys presents for all 50 or so of the children who are enrolled there. “That’s our big charity work,” Kathi says.
In other efforts, the company provides meals for the homeless at Thanksgiving and conducts various food and clothing drives in the office throughout the year to support local charities. For two weeks each year, an employee of Gulu Electrical Contractors who was born in the Philippines returns there to provide free electrical assistance to residents of that nation.
The staff at Gulu Electrical Contractors also has been known to engage in spontaneous acts of charity. During a site visit to a residence that needed a complete rewiring, an employee noticed that the house completely lacked furniture. After Gulu Electrical Contractors employees gave furniture and other items to the homeowner, he mentioned that what he needed more than anything was electrical repairs. “We wired his house for free,” Kathi says.
Such efforts tend to encourage more good works, Kathi adds, benefiting the local community and making the world a better place. “It’s contagious,” she says. “It inspires others to do something.”