We were pleased to speak with Ben Tilden, owner of Tilden Electric. Tilden Electric is full service electrical contracting company serving residential, commercial and industrial customers. Tilden Electric is located at 260 Cross Street in Fairlee, Vermont and can be reached at (802) 333-4678.
How long have you been in business and what is your background in the electrical field?
The business started in 1979, right in this same location, the same spot where I was born. I have worked in the electrical field since attending St. Johnsbury Trade School in 1960.
What services does your business provide? Are there any special services you provide that others may be unaware of?
We do everything including commercial, residential and industrial and have an approximately 30 mile service area. We work with local contractors, residential homeowners, and have worked on numerous manufacturing and sawmill facilities in the area. Our services include electrical installations and repair; remodeling; fire alarms; generators; TV, phone, and data cabling; as well as service & repairs for residential and municipal septic and potable water pumps. Our company also has a bucket truck service, light crane service up to 5000 pounds and we wire solar systems. We also do all of our own vehicle maintenance and repairs, light metal fabrication and some welding. Whatever it takes! We always try to stress good service and taking care of our customers.
How many employees do you have?
We have six employees including myself. This includes five licensed electricians including myself. Jeff Hodge is one of our electricians and he also serves as our project manager and handles all the scheduling, estimating and looking at jobs. Jeff has been with the company for 37 years. Steve Barker is a Journeyman Electrician and has been with us since 1990. Ryan Aiken has been with us since 2012. He recently completed his four year apprenticeship and has now attained his electrical journeyman license. Doug Randall is our newest electrician who joined us in October 2016. And Roberta Knight our Office Manager has been with the company for 30 years.
What would you say to any young people who are considering becoming an electrician? Are many young people entering the field?
I read recently that the average age in the industry is 56 years old so we could certainly use some new electricians. Being an electrician is a good job. It’s good work and it’s work that won’t be outsourced or sent offshore. It’s also a very interesting line of work because of all the new technology that comes along every day. To become an electrician, you have to serve a four year apprenticeship program and accumulate 8000 hours of work in the trade. You also have to take four years of classes at night school through the state. After that, you can qualify to take a test for your Journeyman’s license. After you pass the test, you can work on the job under the supervision of a Master Electrician. Anyone considering this as a profession also has to be willing to face the physical demands of being outside including working in the cold and the rain.
What are some of the new things you are seeing in the industry these days?
Well, there are certainly a lot more wireless devices which we see more frequently now. Also, variable frequency controls are being used a lot more now. These are controls that allow motors to start at lower rpm and gradually come to operating speed. They have been around for between fifteen and twenty years but they are being used more and more for motor speed controls, fans, compressors, water pumps…basically anything driven by an electrical motor. Also there have been great advances in lighting technology since the advent of LED lighting.