How Ramiro De La Cruz and Don Babcock built R&D Electrical, LLC from the ground up
When Ramiro De La Cruz and Don Babcock, managing partners at R&D Electrical, LLC, first met a decade ago, they were both working for a large electrical contractor. Ramiro had moved to Texas from Michigan where he had started his career as an electrician. When he met Don, he was impressed with his experience and his work ethic.
“I noticed he was capable of seeing an opportunity and turning it into something tangible. Not a lot of people get the big picture when it comes to business,” Ramiro says.
Ramiro and Don soon realized that they had a lot in common. Both had a passion for helping people and meeting customers’ needs. They also realized that they wanted to perform great work focused on quality and customer service. Combined, the two have close to 60 years of electrical experience.
“We knew what we were both capable of as far as looking into a customer’s needs, turning that into an estimate and proposal to meet their needs, performing the work and making the company money,” says Ramiro. “We said, ‘One of these days we’ve got to do this for ourselves.’ ”
That day came just three years ago. At the time, Ramiro was putting in a lot of hours for another large company. He began thinking about what he and Don had talked about. “I called him up one day and said, ‘I’m working a lot of hours, and I’d like to work those hours for myself. If you’d like to join me, I’d be happy to meet, explain my business plan, and we can make an educated decision on whether to do it.’ ”
Don was on board, and on March 25, 2015, R&D Electrical, LLC, based in Roanoke, Texas, was born.
Built from the Ground Up
From the moment they decided to establish their business, Ramiro and Don hit the ground running, setting the pace for their company for the next three years. They performed their first project, from start to finish, with just the two of them: estimation, project management, installation and final billing.
Then, they quickly moved on to the next one, iCare ER & Urgent Care in Frisco, Texas. The facilities included X-ray and CT scanners, a generator and other critical systems. The project was already behind schedule when R&D Electrical was called in to perform the electrical work. Don and Ramiro stepped up to complete the job in 75 days. The two of them, with the help of temporary labor, worked seven days a week to make sure the job was finished on time and under budget.
“It was a true testament to our commitment to this company and the relationship we have with our general contractor,” Ramiro says. “We walk in and tell them, ‘We’re here to make you guys look good. Let’s develop a plan and make it happen.’ ”
Today, the scope of the company’s work ranges from medical offices and hospitals to office buildings and schools, such as the University of North Texas in Denton. R&D Electrical has built a reputation of professionalism and integrity, serving clients across the Dallas–Fort Worth area since 2015.
After those first few jobs that Ramiro and Don navigated without full-time staff, R&D Electrical began to grow—slowly at first, but then the growth exploded. R&D Electrical has grown from two to a team of 22, with the company doubling in size over the last six months.
The key for Ramiro and Don was finding the right people to join the R&D Electrical family—people who shared Ramiro and Don’s vision of a company committed to service and integrity, who were hard-working and goal-oriented and who could help mold the fledgling company as it grew.
“We look for people with character,” explains Don. “We hire character and train skill. Not everyone in our company was born an electrician; in fact, none of us were. But when you have someone with self motivation and put them in a place where they can advance, all you need then is good coaching, and the sky is the limit.”
Ramiro adds, “When I interview people, I say this company is capable of being anything you want it to be. If you don’t want to be in the field your whole life, if you want to move up and help this company grow, you can. This company is what you make of it and what you put into it.”
R&D Electrical also promotes a culture of a shared joy in building and creating, and Ramiro and Don believe in rewarding and recognizing employees for their great work. For instance, R&D Electrical has an “MVE”—or Most Valuable Electrician—award.
“Some jobs you have that one guy, could be the supervisor, could be that new helper that got the worst jobs digging ditches in the hot sun or just consistently outperformed his duties that we try to acknowledge with a framed certificate,” Don says.
For the R&D Electrical team, there is also a sense of humility and mutual respect that can be seen in the dedication and loyalty of employees.
“R&D Electrical is really like a family,” office manager Katie Almon says. “Don and Ramiro are good guys who really put themselves out there for people, and you don’t see that very often. I live 70 miles away, but I drive here every day because I love working for them. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”
Looking to the future, Ramiro and Don envision R&D Electrical doubling in size again over the next year. As for the next three years, there’s no telling what the company might accomplish.
“To build a good company, you need teamwork–plain and simple. We have exceptional teammates,” Don says.
To that, Ramiro adds, “As long as we stay together and work as a team, we’ll experience continued success.”