Roberts Service Group (RSG) is a second-generation family-owned and -operated business serving commercial, industrial and institutional customers throughout Central Ohio and beyond. Established in 1975, the business has grown and diversified over the years. What started as primarily an electrical construction contracting company has now expanded into broad building preventative maintenance services and electrical capabilities that include incorporating sustainable energy systems into clients’ facilities.
Beth Butler, president of RSG, grew up in the business that her parents founded; she currently works alongside her brother. The company employs between 30 and 40 people throughout the year, including several long-term employees who have been with RSG for more than 15 years.
“Our management team has more than 80 years of combined experience in the electrical industry,” she elaborates. “We have a great base team of employees. Our staff works as a team from top to bottom and we have a tight knit group. Some of that comes through training and a lot of it has to do with the work environment we foster. Everyone works together really well.”
Small company, big capabilities
Approximately 25 percent of the company’s revenue comes in through facility management for commercial, industrial and institutional clients. The crew also installs and maintains backup generators, fire alarm systems, UPS systems and security systems. New construction projects and large renovation contracts are also a major component of the business.
“Recently a lot of our work is on existing facilities,” Butler explains. “Owners find it cost prohibitive to move to a new facility, so they want to renovate and update existing buildings. We help them save money over time through working with them to build energy efficient plans so they can recoup that investment.”
She adds that growing energy programs through state and federal governments have helped boost the industry. A range of initiatives has been huge for small businesses that want to come into the green age. RSG strives to provide customers with the information and processes by which they can save on energy or move to an alternative supply.
The company also performs energy audits for clients to help with energy saving alternatives, even without a major renovation underway. “The majority of the projects we have completed to date consist of warehouses and office spaces,” Butler elaborates. “Typically these spaces have a large quantity of lighting fixtures that are outdated and inefficient. Our customers, on average, receive significant energy savings over a minimal return on investment over time. The average payback is approximately five years. On top of that, they can reap any available incentives from local power companies. We have been able to help our clients save thousands of dollars each year on their energy bills.”
Here comes the sun
With LEED accredited professionals on staff, RSG is getting more and more into sustainability work. Solar power has become a major selling point for the business and the crew has performed several contracts. This line of services integrates well with other energy-performance aspects of the business. The company is building a growing portfolio of these projects and Butler expects that solar will continue to provide opportunities for growth.
“Our company recently did a solar project for The Ohio State University’s Center for Automotive Research [CAR],” Butler explains. “We performed a full installation of a 12-kilowatt photovoltaic system, as well as six electric vehicle charging stations. The solar power system is integrated with the building’s electrical service and is tied back to the grid. The car charging stations were installed to not only to showcase some of the automotive research being done at CAR, but also as a place for employees and visitors to charge their electric vehicles when they are there.”
Beth and her team are proud to be a part of such innovation and energy conservation initiatives. The crew also installed a solar array on the company’s office building. “We upgraded our own internal services to accommodate the solar array,” Butler adds. “The energy savings we see every year have been phenomenal. People have the misconception that you have to be in a sunny state to reap the benefits, but you don’t have to live in Arizona to utilize solar power. There is a difference, but still a great energy resource for homes and businesses.”
While the economic downturn presented RSG with many of the same challenges as other contractors throughout the United States, Butler says her team has been able to maintain growth. Through some structural adjustments and budget alteration, the company is headed in the right direction. Proactive management helped to offset some of the effects of the recession.
The crew is also grateful for the support of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). As a member business of the local Central Ohio NECA Chapter, the team has a great resource at hand.
“When we have legal questions, negotiating issues or labor management issues, they are there to help,” Butler says. “The organization helps us to stay on top of trends, legislation and other things that could impact us as a business.”
NECA is also a great platform for education and networking. Butler serves as the chapter’s treasurer and participates in several committees. She enjoys the feeling of engagement, as well as the opportunities to connect with her professional peers.
NECA also helps the business stay true to a strong, but simple mission: providing high-quality, experienced service for a range of regional clients. “We promote a continuum of ethics here,” Butler states. “We give our customers what they need and they return to us the next time they need an upgrade or an energy audit. We are really proud of those relationships.”
In the coming years, Butler and her team plan to keep building those partnerships as Roberts Service Group pursues new opportunities in facilities management and energy services.