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Hard work, not luck

image L-R: Hunter Electrical Service LLC’s Colby and Shannon Hunter

SAN ANTONIO - Colby Hunter says he was always driven to be more than a “dime-a-dozen” electrician. He has helped his carpenter dad on jobs since he was little, performed electrical work since he was a high school senior, and has worked for electrical companies in Salt Lake City and San Antonio. Each time, he built a network of connections from scratch.




    But when his work for the company officed in San Antonio proved unsatisfying, his wife reminded him that he had what it took to create his own business.
    “My wife Shannon said, ‘You’re a nice guy, people like you, go start your own business,” Colby remembers. “I said I had never worked for an electrician in Texas. I don’t know anybody here and have zero network in the electrical business here. Nobody knows who I am.’ She said, ‘That’s fine. Just do it.’ She pushed me for about six months.”
    Together, they established Hunter Electrical Service LLC in Shannon’s name. The first year was lean, but Colby is grateful for what it taught him.
    “We were starving,” Colby says. “We didn’t have an investor; we were completely self-funded. We weren’t wealthy by any means. That first year, every single penny counted and there were times where we would ask if we were going to eat like normal people that week and take a paycheck, or if we were going to forego that and buy a tool. I wouldn’t change it for anything. The struggle was fantastic and there was a lot of personal growth and self-discovery that went into that and development of my business acumen.”
    Struggle soon gave way to success, and their second year brought a sizeable thermostat installation contract that necessitated the hiring of 20 employees.
    In five years, Colby and Shannon, a former nurse who now is the company’s office manager, have built Hunter Electrical Service LLC from an out-of-the-truck operation to a success story. Colby would be the first to admit that he has been blessed to meet the right people at the right time at life’s critical points but says that drive and hard work have steered his career.
    “[One could say it’s] good luck, but it comes down to being a good, honest, and fair person who people like and can trust. That’s who I am and that’s how the opportunities come,” Colby explains. “Honesty and integrity, being able to communicate well, and being clean cut have been in my formula from Day One. The lessons have come in learning how to communicate that sense of trust so that customers choose me over somebody else.”
    Now that the business has reached the five-year milestone, Colby, who serves as company president, has no intention of changing his formula.
    “I’m going to do the same thing I’ve always done: stay prepared and when the right people come along, hire them and grow as slow as you have to make sure you have a solid core foundation,” Colby says. “I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had some really great people who are on board now. I’m not a project person – I will always be a service person – but we have project people now. We’re putting the processes in place so that we can have a solid projects group that can chase new construction and some planned spec work or valued engineer work.”
    Much in the way his wife reminded him that he had what it took, Colby reminds those coming into the field that they do, too, can use their drive to succeed.
    “Go to school right away. Be a front-of-the-class kind of person. The rest of the class sitting behind you are going to wash out. Ignore them. Do your homework. Keep your head down and take your lumps. Get some thick skin. In four years, you’re going to come out making more money than everybody else and the world is yours,” Colby says.
    Subcontractor Hunter Electrical Service LLC in San Antonio provides commercial and residential electrical services. –mjm

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Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net