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And Tiger, too

image L-R: Kelly Hamer Service Manager, Derek Babola Chief Estimator, Erin Lionts Office Manager, John Bogue Operations, Clayton Payne President and Preston Payne is over Quotes/Tools/Materials.

AUSTIN - Some companies have “normal” names; e.g., “Bob’s Plumbing.” Other companies, however, have names that are more interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Take Tiger 2 Electrical Contactors, for instance. The story is: Clayton Payne’s older brother had his own electrical company in Dallas, named Tiger Electrical. He named it “Tiger” after his wife’s maiden name. Her name was Jenny Tiger.
    When Payne left his brother’s business and moved to Austin, he first worked for another large electrical contractor as the service manager. Unfortunately, they let him go. Payne had a client who worked for Dell Computers, and she offered him plenty of work if he started his own business, which he did. “That’s when I decided to jump out” on his own, he said.
    Payne named his company Tiger 2 Electrical Contractors, after his brother’s company.
    Payne’s first job with his new company was memorable. He was working at Dell when he saw that “everybody was on their computers, looking at the Trade Towers going down at that time.” The date was 9/11/2001. “I’ll never forget the time of my actual start date.”
    Payne started doing electrical work in high school shop class. “I’ve always enjoyed doing electrical work,” he said.
    Being from the Gulf Coast area, Payne did spend some time owning a marina. But with a growing family, he decided to get back into the electrical work. That’s when he moved to Dallas to work for his brother.
    After a while, Payne moved to Austin, where his wife had family and he went to work for Mills Electrical Contracting. “The truth is they decided to let me go,” Payne laughs.
    With a couple of other electricians he knew, Payne started Tiger 2. He kept it small at first, giving him time to spend with his family and being there for his kids. “I just wanted a little piece of the pie,” he explained. “I didn’t want everything.”
    The last several years, however, with the girls grown and on their own, has seen plenty of growth for Tiger 2. They do only commercial projects in the vibrant Austin market. They have gone to Buda and Killeen, but Payne prefers to keep it local.
    Because Payne had fostered such good relationships with general contractors, jobs come his way. “It’s all based on relationships,” he said, “and finishing the job on time and on budget.”
    The biggest obstacle in Payne’s day-to-day work is acquiring good talent. “Finding qualified electricians is probably my biggest hurdle to overcome,” he said. He’s a big proponent of groups like the Independent Electrical Contractors sending young folk through trade school and getting them trained and licensed.
    Payne got his master’s license by studying after hours. “I’d lock myself in from 6 to 10:30/11 at night and I studied.” Back then, it was the individual city that did the testing, in order to work in that city. Now, the state of Texas does the testing. Some states will reciprocate with Texas in terms of accepting each other’s licenses.
    Payne doesn’t have any plans to expand Tiger 2 to other markets, but stay in the Austin area. “It’s an extremely competitive market that we’re in, he said. There is plenty of work here.
    For the future, Payne is hopeful that his son, whom he has just brought into the company, might take over Tiger 2 someday.
    Who knows? If his son takes it over, maybe we’ll have a Tiger 3. The possibilities are endless.
    Tiger 2 Electrical Contractors specializes in commercial and industrial electrical construction. -dsz


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Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net