The Business Journal shines a spotlight on 25 top electrical contractors in the North Bay. The following is based on a list of largest contractors published in the Feb. 16 issue and organized alphabetically by company.

Duane Johnson

Artistic Lighting & Electric

1945 E. Francisco Blvd., Ste. 28, San Rafael 94901; 415-456-1656; www.artisticlightingcorp.com; '08 revenue: $8.0 million; 45 employees

Top current project: 35,000-square-foot custom home and art gallery, Napa

Duane Johnson, 55, is president of Artistic Lighting & Electric, which designs, installs and maintains lighting and electrical systems for luxury homes and recording studios mainly in the North Bay and San Francisco, but some jobs have taken crews to international locales. Leading trends in the business are increased use of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), digital lighting controls and energy-efficiency systems.

Merlin Johnson started the company in 1969, and his oldest son, Duane, started as an apprentice there a year later. He purchased the company from the family in 1985.

Dan Carlos and Julian Johnson

BOS Electric

1241 Andersen Drive, Ste. C, San Rafael 94901; 415-457-5190; www.bos-electric.com; '08 revenue: $11.0 million; 30 employees

Recent projects: Mt. Tiburon Project, Tiburon, $395,000, and custom-home projects of $1.1 million and $500,000

Julian Johnson III started Being of Service in 1984. The Navy trained him in aviation electronics in 1968. He was a project supervisor for large electrical contractor American Eagle in 1979, and he went on his own in 1980. Two years later he moved to Marin County and worked as a contractor while attending electrical engineering courses, but he opted to pursue contracting to support his growing family.

The company incorporated in 1995 and now has offices on the Peninsula and in Hawaii.

Dan Carlos joined the company in 1991 as a supervisor, started overseeing day-to-day operations in 1994, and became a shareholder and vice president when the company incorporated in 1995.

In 2007 Electric Associates Design and Alpha-Lux Media Systems were formed. Mr. Carlos became president of BOS Electric, and Mr. Johnson took charge of Electrical Associates.

Stuart Brumbaugh


517 Jacoby St. #10, San Rafael 94901; 415-485-0777; www.eltrx.net; '08 revenue: $1.8 million; 12 employees

Stuart Brumbaugh opened Electrix in 1983 after starting at his father's company, Community Electric, begun in the early 1970s. His brother, field foreman Mark Brumbaugh, and father, Richard, joined the company in 1988,  when Community Electric was sold.

Jolene Corcoran, Ray Lunardi and Ron Lunardi

Joe Lunardi Electric

5334 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa 95407; 707-545-4755; www.lunardielectric.com; '08 revenue: $14.0 million; 67 employees

Recent projects: American Canyon High School, American Canyon; Green Music Center, Rohnert Park; Silver Oak Cellars, Oakville

Siblings Jolene Corcoran, Ray Lunardi and Ron Lunardi are the principals of the electrical contracting firm Joe Lunardi started five decades ago.

Ron King

King Electric

4933 Hillsborough Drive, Petaluma 94954; 707-769-1604; www.kesmarthouse.com; '08 revenue: $1.5 million; nine employees

Recent projects: Private residence, Mill Valley, $193,000; private residence, San Francisco, $195,000; private residence, Belvedere, $231,000

Ron King is principal of King Electric, started two decades ago and focused on residential projects.

Barbara RagsdaleKnights' Electric

11410 Old Redwood Highway, Windsor 95492; 707-433-6931; www.knightselectric.com; '08 revenue: $7.8 million; 46 employees

Barbara Ragsdale has been president and chief executive officer since 2007, replacing her father, Bob Knight, who started the company in 1976.

Ms. Ragsdale had been chief financial officer since 1982. She became president of the North Coast Builders Exchange board in July, only the second woman to hold that position.

James BrownMike Brown Electric Co.

561 Mercantile Drive, Ste. A, Cotati 94931; 707-792-8100; www.mbelectric.com; '08 revenue: $25.6 million; 120 employees

Recent projects: Del Mar Middle School gym, Tiburon, $950,910; Buck Institute for Age Research, Novato, $418,840; Petaluma Transit Mall, Petaluma, $427,000

James Brown, 47, is president of the company and eldest son of the late Mike Brown, who started it in 1975. The company is focused on government and commercial projects.

Since James Brown assumed leadership of the company in 1995, he has expanded capabilities and staff by three times.

Robert Smith

Morton Smith Electrical

955 Piner Place, Santa Rosa 95403; 707-542-2112; '08 revenue: $4.2 million; 11 employees

Recent projects: Santa Rosa Forensic Lab, $1.2 million; JX Wilson Elementary School, Santa Rosa, $460,000; Novato High School, $250,000

Bob Smith is president of Morton Smith Electrical, which was founded in 1959 and concentrates on commercial projects.

Ruben PerezNapa Electric

2240 Brown St., Napa 94558; 707-252-6611; www.napaelectric.com; '08 revenue: $20 million; 65 employees

Current projects: Napa Valley College Library, Napa, $3.4 million; Cuvaison barrel building, Calistoga, $360,000; Lede residence, Napa Valley, $988,000

Ruben Perez, 57, is president and chief executive officer of Napa Electric, which is celebrating its 75th year in business. Mr. Perez joined the company in 1972 as an apprentice and worked in the field until 1995, when he moved into sales and management. He became sole owner in 2004.

Mr. Perez said the company has explored ways to trim expenses and increase operational efficiency in the current economy. Most work is for commercial projects, with 20 percent from homes and 10 percent on public projects.

"Personally, I feel that work will remain flat for the construction industry for the rest of the year," he said. "I expect that come spring time of next year, things might pick up."

Keith Nordby

Nordby Electric

PO Box 12026, Santa Rosa 95406; 707-579-1240; '08 revenue: $1.0 million; seven employees

Recent projects: Willowside Middle School, Santa Rosa, $523,340; Kentfield Fire Station, $920,500; Taylor Mountain home, Santa Rosa, $157,000

President Keith Nordby started the company in 1998 after working for more than a decade as an electrician for Wiggins Electric and Lunardi Electric. Eighty percent of the work is commercial, and the rest is residential.

Jim Chiappari

Northern Electric

3190 Regional Park Way, Santa Rosa 95403; 707-571-2265; www.northernelectric.com; '08 revenue: $21 million; 45 employees

Current projects: SRJC Bertolini Student Center, Santa Rosa, $3.5 million; PG&E Vacaville Transmission Facility, Vacaville, $2.7 million; SSU Tuscany Village Student Housing, Rohnert Park, $4.8 million

Jim Chiappari, 44, is vice president of Northern Electric overseeing all projects and directing the design-build department. He's been with the company since owner and President Michael Chiappari started it in 1981. He spent 13 years working in the field, rising to superintendent.

Sales doubled in the past five years, but the next two years will bring slower growth, according to Jim Chiappari.

"However, we anticipate substantial growth after the lull with emphasis in the health and education sectors," he said.

The company has repositioned itself to appeal to cost-conscious clients in those and other markets. Key to that is design-build with building information management, or BIM, computer-aided design software. Another area for growth is expected to be in retrofitting homes and buildings for energy efficiency and solar power.

Dan O'Rourke

O'Rourke Electric

3347 Industrial Drive #4, Santa Rosa 95403; 707-528-8539; www.orourke-electric.com; '08 revenue: $2.5 million; 17 employees

Recent projects: Copain Wine Cellars, Healdsburg, and Star Academy, San Rafael

Dan O'Rourke started O'Rourke Electric in 1980.

John SchaefferReal Goods Solar

1163 E. Francisco Blvd., San Rafael 94901; 415-456-2800; www.realgoodssolar.com; '08 revenue: $32.7 million

Recent projects: Contra Costa Mosquito Vector Control District, Concord, $697,300; Boys and Girls Club, Sonoma, $598,000; Jarvis Winery, Napa, $780,200

In 1978 John Schaeffer, 59, started Real Goods as a solar and sustainable-lifestyle products retailer. He was an early promoter of home photovoltaic power systems. Residential jobs make up 60 percent of revenue, commercial 30 percent and the rest is from public projects.

The first store opened in Hopland, and a third opened in Sebastopol in 1982. Colorado-based Gaiam acquired Real Goods in 2000 and Marin Solar last year. Gaiam took Real Goods Solar public last year.

Donald Helfer

RE Corp.

PO Box 1743, Santa Rosa 95402; 707-545-5460; '08 revenue: $2.3 million; 19 employees

Recent projects: Willowside Middle School, Santa Rosa, $300,000; Solano Community College, Fairfield, $500,000; Mendocino K-8 school, $2.0 million

Donald Helfer presides over a contracting firm that specializes in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning and retrofit work mainly for government and commercial entities. George Merrill and Ferdinand Genz started the company in 1956 then left the company in the early 1990s.

Jay Hermon

REC Solar

1360 N. McDowell Blvd., Ste. 1-C, Petaluma 94954; 707-779-7401; www.recsolar.com; 10 employees

Jay Hermon is a solar energy consultant and manager of San Luis Obispo-based REC Solar's North Bay office. The company was started in 1997 and serves Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Jersey and Oregon residents and business owners from 13 offices.

Ray Reyff

Reyff Electric

PO Box 1196, Rohnert Park 94927; 707-585-2481; www.reyffelectric.com; '08 revenue: $8.0 million; 36 employees

Recent projects: The Meadows at Fountaingrove, Santa Rosa; Comcast, Santa Rosa; Applebee's, Rohnert Park

Ray Reyff Sr. started Reyff Electric in 1978 and added his son, Ray Reyff Jr., as an owner in 2002. The company expanded its reach from Sonoma and Marin counties to Napa and Solano counties with an office in Fairfield.

Ed Gugel

R. McClure Electric

706 Portal St., Ste. D, Cotati 94931

707-792-2101; www.rmcclure.com; '08 revenue: $9.0 million; 38 employees

Recent projects: The Riverfront, Napa, $3.6 million; Casa Grande Senior Housing, Petaluma, $1.5 million; Colgan Meadows, Santa Rosa, $1.1 million

Ed Gugel is president of the design-build electrical contracting firm Robert McClure started in 1978. Eighty percent of the company's work is commercial, and the rest is residential.

Steve Leslie

S.M. Leslie Electric

526 Portal St., Cotati 94931; 707-795-9440; www.smlelectric.com; '08 revenue: $6.2 million; 22 employees

Recent projects: Mendocino K-8 School, $1.5 million; Whole Foods Market store, Santa Rosa, $445,000; FedEx, Santa Rosa, $380,000

Steve Leslie is president of S.M. Leslie Electric, started as Leslie Electric in 1975 by Rich Leslie. The company focused on public-sector work, with a quarter of its business from commercial projects and a few residential jobs.

John ParrySolar Works

400 Morris St., Ste. C, Sebastopol 95472; 707-829-8282; www.solarworksca.com; 14 employees

Recent projects: City of Sebastopol's Garzot building; Vigil Light Senior Apartments, Santa Rosa; Sequoia Village Affordable Housing, Sebastopol

Chief Executive Officer John Parry, 53, started Solar Works in 1986 by purchasing the customer list from a retiring solar water-heater installer. Solar Works installs residential, commercial and municipal photovoltaic systems, and has put in more than 300 systems totaling 1.4 megawatts. Mr. Parry has been a consultant on the state solar contractor's license exam and a lecturer on renewable energy.

In May of this year the company installed the first photovoltaic system financed by the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program, which uses Assembly Bill 811 authority to fund energy-efficiency projects via property-tax assessments.

Bill StewartSolarCraft

285-D Bel Marin Keys Blvd., Novato 94949; 415-382-7717; www.solarcraft.com; '08 revenue: $6.8 million; 33 employees

Recent projects: Windsor Fire Station; Marin Health & Wellness Center, San Rafael; Sterling Vineyards, Calistoga; Hamilton Marketplace, Novato

The ebb and flow of demand for photovoltaic power system installations is nothing new for Bill Stewart, the 57-year-old president of SolarCraft. Dennis Nuttman and he founded the company in 1984, shortly before incentives for solar-power installations expired. Yet the company survived and has grown fourfold since 2004.

Gil DuMont

Spartan Electric

2186 Monticello Road, Napa 94558; 707-226-9330; '08 revenue: $1.3 million; six employees

Recent project: Napa Square mixed-use project, Napa, $2.0 million

Gil DuMont founded Spartan Electric in 1974. Most of the company's work is on commercial projects, with about 10 percent in residential.

Tom RooneySPG Solar

20 Leveroni Court, Novato 94949; 415-883-7657; www.spgsolar.com; '08 revenue: $89.7 million; 130 employees

Recent projects: 31 kilowatt system for the Town of Fairfax; 1.1 megawatt system for Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Vacaville; 1.16 megawatt system for Northern California Power Authority, Middletown

Thomas Rooney III, 49, was appointed president and chief executive officer in May after 21 years in construction of large capital projects, including four and a half years as CEO of publicly owned Instituform Technologies. He has an undergraduate electrical engineering degree from Cornell University and an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago.

Dan Thompson started the company in 2001 to install photovoltaic systems on Marin County homes, but the company has expanded to serve Western states. Companywide sales make SPG the largest North Bay electrical contractor.

"SPG Solar has shifted from a once predominantly residential builder to one of the largest and most experienced large-scale commercial integrators in the U.S.," Mr. Rooney said. "This evolution has arisen from experience, market optimization with regards to federal and state incentives and finance vehicles, silicon panel and PV supply markets and utility rates."

Laurence DashiellSummit Technology Group

2450 Bluebell Drive, Ste. C, Santa Rosa 95403; 707-542-4773; www.summit-e.com; '08 revenue: $10.8 million; 51 employees

Recent projects: Residential projects from 10 to 50 kilowatts, $2.3 million; private home, $5.0 million; private home, $900,000

Larry Dashiell, 45, is president and chief executive officer of the company his late father, Richard Dashiell, started as Summit Electric in 1968. Larry Dashiell has been running the company since 1985.

In 2006 he created three companies: Summit Electric Inc. for high-voltage electrical contracting, Summit Electronic Systems Inc. for design and installation of home and business low-voltage equipment and networks, and Summit Electrical Service Inc. for maintenance and service calls.

"As the residential and commercial wired and wireless systems become more advanced, Summit Technology Group has developed the ability to design, construct and service fully integrated power, communication and energy management systems," he said.

Leslie MurphyW. Bradley Electric

90 Hill Road, Novato 94945; 415-898-1400; www.wbeinc.com; '08 revenue: $72 million; 235 employees (320 peak)

Recent projects: San Rafael Corporate Center, San Rafael, $2.0 million; Stanford LKSC, Stanford, $1.8 million; Campus for Jewish Life, Palo Alto, $2.1 million

Leslie Murphy leads a 32-year-old, six-division company and is considering an additional division for solar-power systems. It's the second-largest electrical contractor in the North Bay.

"With the commercial real estate market down, tenant improvement construction is down," Ms. Murphy said. "We do not see a rebound in the North Bay until early 2010. San Francisco and other geographic areas south of the city look like they are starting to rebound now."

Trends she noted facing the industry include continued interest in green-building certification for projects by companies committed to environmental sustainability despite the documentation cost. At the same time, other companies are choosing project options based on cost rather than value, and increasingly more contractors focused on slower sectors or geographic areas are competing on jobs.

Floyd, Julie and Dean Wiggins

Wiggins Electric

1370 Airport Blvd., Santa Rosa 95403; 707-545-7869; '08 revenue: $3.5 million; 25 employees

Floyd and Julie Wiggins started Wiggins Electric in 1973. Dean Wiggins joined the ownership in 1997. Sixty percent of the company's business is residential and the rest is commercial.