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Spotlight - Sandra Johnson, Edge Electric

image Sandra Johnson, President, Edge Electric, Austin, TX

AUSTIN - For Sandra Johnson, practical makes perfect. After deliberating the pros and cons of a college education, she decided the smart thing to do was to enter the construction industry. Ten years later, one could say she has earned an honorary degree in good decision-making from the University of Logical Thinking. With her husband, Russell, she is celebrating a decade of success for their company, Edge Electric.


Tell me about your childhood. Where were you born?
    I was born right here in Austin, at what used to be Breckinridge Hospital downtown. My brothers and I were raised in various little towns skirting Austin. Eventually we all settled down in Hays County.
Where did you attend high school and/or college?
    I went to high school in Elgin, famous for its hot sausage and annual Hog Eye Festival. Elgin is a small town where
everyone knows you and too many
people know your business! Regardless, I enjoyed my time there.
     Then there was college…I had so many questions!  “Hmmm, should I go to college?” “What is it going cost?” “How am I going to pay for it?” “How long will it take to get a degree?” “What income can I earn after graduation?”
    After much internal deliberation, I decided I could skip the four years of school and be successful without a degree.  After all, I watched my mom and stepdad start a business from the ground up when I was 10.  They started without an investor or a loan. They simply worked hard each and every day.

Tell me about your parents. Did your parents play a role in your decision to go into construction?

      I learned a lot about construction and the industry as a whole.  My mom taught me that, to be a woman in our industry, you have to be stern and thick-skinned.  She always said, “You teach people how to treat you.”  That is very true and I repeat those words to my management team regularly.  But the best lesson my parents taught me is that success is a result of hard work and perseverance regardless of your trade or skillset.
Are you married? What is your husband’s name? How long have your been married?

    I was 22 when Russell and I started dating.  I had worked at a couple of jobs here and there, didn’t really know what my calling was.  Russell was 26, driven and fully prepared to take ahold of his future. By then he had already been an electrician for six years and had obtained his Master Electrician’s License.

Did you start Edge Electric right away or did you take time to start a family?
    Our relationship took the fast lane.  In September 2008, we got married. We incorporated Edge Electric on Jun. 23, 2009 and our son, Mason, was born on Jul. 23, 2009.

How did you juggle a new business and a baby?
    The next few years were TOUGH! Our home was our office. We woke early to tend to a new baby and then worked all day. We had a couple hours of family time in the evening, but once Mason was in bed, we were back in the office, often working 12 to 14 hour days.  I handled everything in the office from ordering supplies to signing contracts.  Russell put his tool bag on during the day and bid projects at night.  We made a great team!  We were tired and stressed but were prepared for the long haul.  Something I told myself often, and still do today, is “sacrifice today for tomorrow.”
As you look back at that time, do you have any regrets?
    The days of crazy hours and cash flow concerns are gone. As we sneak upon our 10-year business anniversary on Jun. 23, 2019, I am so thankful that Russell and I never gave up.  In the last 10 years, we’ve managed to assemble a team of 70 amazing employees. That is what I love most about my job, the people I get to work with every day. They are the ones we have to thank for the success of Edge!
What are your hobbies? What do you do when you are not working?
    My absolute favorite activity is being on the ocean… on a catamaran to be exact.  Blue water, big boat, snorkeling and seafood – there’s nothing better. It’s heaven on earth.  I could do it every day and maybe one day I will.  Retirement goal! -cmw

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Author Info
Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net