YOUNG PROFESSIONAL SPOTLIGHT
Steve Mullins, Electrical Foreman &
Chris Fredette, Project Manager
Longchamps Electric, Inc.
Throughout our first ever double-feature, Electrical Foreman Steve Mullins and Project Manager Chris Fredette of Longchamps Electric painted a picture of a trade driven just as much by social and professional networks as electrical connections. Their description of their company as an organization that emphasizes the importance of team effort, relationship-building, and acting as a conduit for professional knowledge makes it no wonder that the two electricians have tenure of 15 years and 23 years, respectively.
Steve describes his position as Foreman as “the boots on the ground;” the one responsible for the day-to-day work of the electricians. Chris is quick to elaborate on the importance of Steve’s role, asserting that Steve is responsible not only for converting drawings to actual pipe and wire, but for the future of the business. The quality of an installation is in Steve’s hands, and it’s his work the company has to stand behind at the end of the day. Not only that, but Steve oversees the apprentices in the field, or “tomorrow’s foremen,” as Chris would call them.
In his role as Project Manager and the Hiring Manager, Chris wears many hats. Rarely in the office for an entire day, he manages the logistics of jobs and execution of projects. His fast-paced and diverse position might take him from completing project buy-outs one hour to overseeing an OSHA inspection in the next. He’s the electrical Winston Wolfe: a fixer who rolls with the punches, keeping his cool under pressure and doing what needs to be done to finish the job.
Neither Steve nor Chris set out to become electricians by design. In high school, Steve worked for a marine mechanic and had never given more thought to electrical work than to take electrical 101 to learn how to wire his house. When applying for jobs at the end of his senior year, he applied to Longchamps after hearing about the company through a friend who worked there. Chris had done a bit of work in a mechanic’s garage early on, and picked up a job as a shop kid at Longchamps when he was 16. At the time he was hired, the job wasn’t much more to him than 40 hours per week on his summer vacations to fund the reparation of his Subaru Brat.
Now, both Steve and Chris express great appreciation for their trade. They describe the pride in that moment when you get to turn the lights on for the first time toward the end of a project. For both of them, what started as a mere job turned into a leadership role and a career that taught them not only their trade skills, but also how to be managers and mentors.
When he’s not working, Steve is a terrible, but persistent, golfer who likes to spend his free time with his fiancé on the water in their boat. This year, he built a movie theater over his garage and finished his kitchen; he’s constantly renovating one room in his house or another. He jokes that he leaves a job site to go home to a job site.
Chris is a highly-present dad to his four kids and husband to his wife of 15 years. Always playing baseball and basketball, or skiing and snowboarding, the six of them are a true sports family. To Chris, nothing is more important than family. In his rare moments of spare time, he enjoys woodworking in his garage where he builds cornhole boards and makes American flags out of reclaimed pallets.
When asked what advice the pair have for young trades workers, Chris and Steve are quick to assert that success doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes. Instead, they encourage young trades workers to have an understanding of the process and methodology of construction. If you’re an electrician who understands a little bit about masonry, plumbing, and carpentry, and how your work ties into the work of the other tradesmen, you’re in a better position to be able to get yourself out of an electrical mistake without affecting the other trades. They remind young trades workers that everyone is on the job working toward the same goal: to complete the job on time and successfully. When you make a mistake, figure out how to fix it with the least effect on other people, and when other people make mistakes, do what you can to help them through it.