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2X Clark

image A Clark Electrical Services truck is ready to hit the road and take care of business.

HOUSTON - Credit Richard Clark’s high school guidance counselor with getting him started on his pathway to all things electrical, even if he didn’t intend to.







    He called Clark in one day to tell him he needed to up his grades. Clark chose a vocational school to accomplish this. He wanted to go into auto mechanics, but that was closed. The only two openings were cosmetology and electrical. This was what you would call a no-brainer decision on Clark’s part. Thus, when it came to studying the electrical trade, Clark said, “I got started by default.”
    As it turned out, this was the right choice after all. “I came out top of my class,” Clark said. “I had a 98 average,” solving the low GPA problem.
    After high school, Clark enlisted in the Navy and went into the avionics field, which was “real good training as far as the electrical field went,” he said.
    When Clark left the Navy in 1976 and moved back to Texas, he worked for other electrical contractors. When he got his master’s license in 1989, he started Clark Electrical Services.
    “I had just gotten married and had one truck,” he said.
    Those early days had their challenges. “I worked some crazy hours by myself the first couple of years,” he said.
    One thing that helped Clark was getting a contract from a cable company to do work for them.
    With one helper for a couple of years, Clark ran into some difficulty when his marriage ended in 1995 and he put his business on hold around 2000 while he worked for another electrical company. Clark Electrical was still an entity, just not a practicing one
    This lasted until 2008, and, despite the down economy then, Hurricane Ike proved fortuitous in that it generated “a lot of work for us.”
    Another factor in starting back up was Clark’s son, Richard Jr., who wanted to make some money. Clark said he’d train him and that’s what helped activate Clark Electrical again.
    Now, Richard Jr., is “one of my best service techs I have here,” Clark said. “He’s real sharp and really good at what he does.”
    So much so, that Richard Jr., is now the vice president and co-owner to Clark’s president. And even though Dad has no plans on stepping down soon, some day Richard Jr. will take over.
    “I explained to him that this would be a good business for him to take over some day,” Clark said.
    Clark had 14 employees before his break, but has kept it at five now, by intention. He wants to keep things more manageable. “We can’t do super big jobs,” he said, but there is no shortage of work. “I get 70 calls a day,” he said. They are “booked out two weeks in advance.”
    Clark is very hands-on. He jokes (but not really) when he said, “I’m knee-deep in electrical work and elbow-deep in running the company.” He answers the phone, does the estimating and bidding, all the scheduling and the bookkeeping.
    “I’ve been doing this for 43 years,” he said, “so I pretty much got it down.”
    Clark also trains all his guys. “I take somebody with no experience and train him myself,” he said, “then send him to school. Then they get their license to work. So, everyone here has been trained by me first. Then they work with my son” for more grooming.
    Continual training is mandatory. Every year they have to learn and test on the newest codes that come their way, with the new electrical code book coming out every three years. “You’ve got to keep up with it,” Clark said.
    If Hurricane Ike brought business Clark’s way, so did Hurricane Harvey. One wonders if all the various contractors will be done with Harvey repair before the next hurricane will hit the Houston area.
    Be that as it may, Richards I and II stand ready to service Space City’s folks for all their electrical needs. “I have four good journeymen and one good helper who work with me,” Clark said.
    Houston, we have no problem.
    Clark Electrical Services is an electrical contractor in Dickinson. -dsz

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Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net