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From father to son

image At JV Electric, Jesse Villarreal Jr. is carrying on the legacy his father started building almost half-a-century ago.

SAN ANTONIO – With 45 years of history surging through JV Electric, Jesse Villarreal Jr. is working to make sure the company that his father started has a bright future.

    Jesse Villarreal Sr. was the president and general manager of Jesse & Chandler Electrical Contractors. He was also one of the owners who started the business in 1952. In 1970, he went out on his own and established Jesse Villarreal Electrical & HVAC Contractors.
    “In high school, I worked for my dad during the summers,” recalls Jesse Villarreal Jr. “I got my journeyman’s license soon after graduating from college in 1983, and after that I went to work for my dad full-time, mostly as an estimator. After my dad retired from the electric business in ’91, I got my master’s license.”
    With his master’s license and his bachelor’s degree in business administration from UTSA, Villarreal took over his father’s business Jan. 1, 1992. In 2002, he decided the company would no longer do air conditioning and focus strictly on electrical, and then he changed the name to JV Electric.
    “When my dad split from Chandler, he didn’t miss a beat,” he says. “The business kept growing, and I’m just carrying on what he started. I don’t claim to be near the businessman that he was. He had a lot of other business interests. When he retired in ’91, he had plenty of other things to do. He didn’t retire from business; he just retired from the electrical business.”
    Today, Villarreal runs things differently than when his father ran the business. His father built a strong reputation in the multi-family industry, doing electrical and air conditioning for a lot of large apartment projects in town. Toward the mid-‘80s, the company started shifting more toward commercial work, and the younger Villarreal gravitated toward it, too.
    His first big project was a perfume factory in Pleasanton. Early projects included grocery store renovations, and then grew more on the retail side with shopping centers, retail stores, shell buildings, and medical offices.
    There are two areas Villarreal aims to increase going forward. Though JV hasn’t done multi-family in years, he thinks the company may reconnect with that market in the future. Mostly, he hopes to expand into the service business, which his father moved away from for project work when starting his own company.
    Outside of the business, Villarreal enjoys winemaking. This season, he is excited to have found some Texas grapes, typically bought up by Texas wineries, for the first time in years.
    JV Electric does commercial electrical projects with the majority of its work in retail, dental and medical. –mh

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Mary Hazlett mary@constructionnews.net