Company finding opportunity in Bay Area IT projects

[caption id="attachment_34883" align="alignright" width="278" caption="John Cabral (right) and his apprentice install IT systems at the Campus for Jewish Life. (W. Bradley Electric photo)"][/caption]

NOVATO -- Electrical general contractor W. Bradley Electric Inc. has extended the reach of its telecommunications installation division through a new partnership with nine other technology integrators.

National Telecommunications Integrators group, based at WBE's headquarters in Novato, came together in September as an alliance between contractors with top ratings from equipment manufacturers. Members would install and configure systems for each other's clients to the same specifications throughout the U.S. and Canada, according to Chief Executive Officer Leslie Murphy.

"It was formed for clients with offices nationwide that would like to use the same contractor in their other offices," Ms. Murphy said.

Partnering with nearby alliance members allows group partners to send just project managers and key personnel to job sites around the country and world, rather than sending large teams to achieve client targets.

[caption id="attachment_34884" align="alignright" width="288" caption="Cabling system at Adobe System's Almaden facility (W. Bradley Electric photo)"][/caption]

The partnership landed its first West Coast project recently. WBE has crews at Fidelity Investments' 101 California St. location in San Francisco. It's the first job WBE and Miller Electric members will be handling at 15 offices. The job entails installing high-speed data and TV coaxial cables as well as equipment racks.

A second job is being finalized in New Mexico.

Other members of the partnership are Boe-Tel TN, Continental Electrical Construction, Faith Technologies, IE Smart Systems, Kastle Technologies, Kearny Electric, Miller Electric, TeamLinx and U.S. Information Systems.

Telecom is one of five WBE divisions, also including electrical, networking, security, audio-visual and traffic.

While the company's focus on commercial electrical projects helped it avoid the huge slump in homebuilding that hit other electrical contractors, WBE's revenue did slip from a peak of $72 million to $45 million last year.

However, work for biotechnology companies such as BioMarin Pharmaceutical's multiple expansion projects in Novato and others elsewhere in the Bay Area continued steadily through the economic recession, according to Ms. Murphy. Also providing steady business has been work for health care organizations and blending systems for acquired financial services companies and banks.

This year, the highest demand for company services is coming from tenant improvements in the East Bay with big jobs such as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Internet software companies in the South Bay and increasingly in San Francisco.

"IT needs are the part that has grown the most and is growing this year," Ms. Murphy said. "Many put off their IT needs for a while."

Today, the company is back up to close to 200 employees and is hiring back many of the field employees laid off as the economy contracted.

Through May of this year, WBE's revenues are 40 percent higher than the same period last year, and the pace could result in 20 percent growth for 2011.

For more information, call 415-898-1400 or visit www.wbeinc.com.

CORRECTION, June 6, 2011: In the third paragraph, W. Bradley Electric CEO Leslie Murphy said, "It was formed for clients with offices nationwide that would like to use the same contractor in their other offices." The original story had a typographical error.