Ready to Get the Job Done

Blackwater Electric Company

You name it, Blackwater Electric Company does it.
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Since 1993, Blackwater Electric has been a one-stop shop electrical company, providing commercial, industrial, and public sector electrical, telecom, security and control services in Virginia and North Carolina. Its project portfolio includes electrical design, overhead and underground power distribution, and fiber/data/voice/security and digital control services.

The Blackwater Electric team excels at delivering the highest quality work for new construction, renovations, design/build and fast track projects. In addition, it boasts team members experienced in LEED principles and solar energy technologies.

The company was founded by Kimberly and David Hart, an entrepreneurial husband-wife duo who started the firm from a home office just over 25 years ago. Today, the company employs approximately 155 people out of two locations: a head office in Chesapeake, Virginia and a satellite office in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. To better serve its customers, the company has recently acquired new property and is soon preparing to open a third facility.

“I’ve seen Blackwater grow since I was a little girl… It is just an amazing accomplishment to see what they [Kimberly and David] have done,” remarks Katie Gillespie, Project Manager Assistant and Estimating Assistant at Blackwater Electric Company, who is Kimberly Hart’s sister.

Blackwater Electric Company’s vision is to maintain its position as an industry leader using the most innovative technologies and management practices available in the electrical services industry. The company commits its best efforts to each and every project, upholding its faith-based values of honesty, faith, integrity, perseverance, and humility.

The company’s two greatest priorities are its customers and its employees. Its reputation has been what has set it apart over the years and helped it to flourish through repeat business and referrals. Similarly, maintaining a positive family atmosphere and a company that the team can be proud of ensures long-term loyalty and low turnover.

“We always try to make sure that employees are happy with what they are doing, they are compensated well financially, and we make them feel like they are a part of something,” says Tom Sherwin, Vice President, who has worked at the company for 21 years, since its early days.

Key projects
Certainly, there is much to be proud of, with the Blackwater Electric team having several rewarding projects under its belt, including for the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, and even the FBI, along with other institutional and commercial work.

For instance, Blackwater is involved in the ongoing electrical repairs of the Naval Station Norfolk. Specifically, the work involves repairs of four double-decker piers at the Norfolk Naval Base under Military Project Number P610. According to the Department of Defense, new 480-volt power systems on the piers include connectors, receptacle stations, conduits, and cables to protected ductbanks located between the upper and lower pier decks. This project will result in enhanced safety while reducing storm damage vulnerability concerns.

This is not the only time that Blackwater Electric has completed work at the Naval Base. The firm has also done fiber optic and network cabling work as part of a project that included the construction of a two-story, 42,000 square-foot addition, and a 50,500 square-foot renovation to the High Security Joint Deployment Center/Fleet Forces Command Center in Building NH-95 at Norfolk. The building contains over six miles of data and fiber optic cabling, in addition to 115,000 linear feet of raceway.

Under the guidance of Mid-Eastern Builders, Blackwater Electric partnered to install an all-new power infrastructure for NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radar system in Wallops Island, which is part of the scenic Virginia Barrier Islands. This system acquires, maintains, and distributes a continuous flow of meteorological satellite data throughout the United States.

For a SEAL Team operations facility in Virginia Beach (P-473), Blackwater Electric provided the electrical services for the new construction of an 83,000 square-foot, two-story government facility, along with a 20,000 square-foot renovation of an existing structure. Work included primary underground, lighting and interior power. Phone/data installation included over 450 drops, along with fiber.

Moreover, Blackwater Electric installed the electrical construction of the new Sentara Princess Anne Hospital with Whiting & Turner. The project for the 250-bed facility in Virginia Beach entailed underground, generator backup, emergency, and interior lighting and power work, along with the electrical work for a four-story parking garage.

At the moment, Blackwater Electric is finishing up a new power infrastructure project for Merck Pharmaceuticals in Wilson North Carolina. Visit blackwaterelectric.com/projects for more information on the company’s expansive portfolio.

The Blackwater way
Blackwater Electric has grown and evolved substantially in the last quarter-century, and is honored to have acquired the great talent it has onboard.

“The people who have stuck by us are our biggest cheerleaders,” says Gillespie. “We are all family. We may not all be blood, but we may as well be. Everyone wants everyone else succeed. We can’t do that without our people in the field and our contractors, and we can’t do that without each other.”

Blackwater seeks out candidates who are well-defined leaders with good communication skills, ready to get to work and get things done. These team players are not only able to get along with others in the corporate office, but the contractors, the government, and other clients.

“Being a team player at Blackwater Electric is a big deal,” Sherwin reveals. “We are starting to grow, but for a very long time, there was no single person with one defined task. Everybody pulled together to handle different roles and aspects of the business. Whatever needed to get done got done.”

Over time, the company grew from a home office to acquiring two (soon to be three) facilities, its own trucks and boring equipment and, as of about four months ago, its own electrical testing equipment for emergency work, so it can conduct its own fault locating and repair. But though the company has expanded and its numbers have now entered the triple-digits, “that’s not my job” are four words you will never hear uttered by anybody in a Blackwater building.

Furthermore, safety is a primary goal at any Blackwater Electric jobsite. Its full-time Safety Department works toward the company-wide goal of zero injuries and incidents on every job, under company guidelines driven by Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Electric Safety Code standards. Every team member is familiar with these requirements. An exceptional safety record is appreciated by Blackwater’s clients, because its low EMR entails low insurance costs, a savings which is passed to the customer along with the comfort of finishing each day without accident. In 2017, Blackwater posted 500,000 man-hours without a loss-time incident.

The future of Blackwater Electric Company
The electrical services industry is largely a bid market, and it was through these bid projects that Blackwater originally began its journey of growth. As more people began hearing about Blackwater Electric through word of mouth and the company gained name recognition, things began to shift as customers started reaching out to Blackwater. From there, Blackwater expanded based on repeat business, referrals, and the tried and true methods of door knocking, making phone calls, and building customer relationships, eschewing unnecessary modern marketing techniques. “Our advertisements are our vans,” Gillespie quips.

Besides, the honest reputation that Blackwater has built throughout the years is something that cannot be achieved through advertising.

“David Hart has a saying around here: ‘we are electricians, we’re not magicians.’ We are pretty honest about what we can do and what we can’t do. And if we can’t do it, we will try to help you find a solution,” Gillespie adds.

With continued growth, Blackwater Electric Company aims to hold true to its mission of customized electrical and communication services for its customers, delivering the best product to the end user.

“We work for general contractors 90 percent of the time, and we try to make sure that the general contractors we work with have the same goals that we do. When we are reaching out to new customers, we always try to make sure that that new customer is going to be a good fit for end users and for us as a company. Our biggest goal is to maintain or improve the reputation that we have today the best we can,” says Sherwin.

For more than 25 years, Blackwater Electric has been proud to serve the Mid-Atlantic region with exceptional electrical services, specializing in medium-voltage contracting services for government, healthcare, industrial, education, technology, multifamily and transportation structures. Blackwater is happy to serve you and get the job done.

Bespoke Backyards

Years ago, backyard beautification usually meant planting some flowers, adding a couple of shrubs, and laying down a few patio stones to create a small deck. Outdoor furniture – if you could truly call it ‘furniture’ – usually comprised a picnic table and aluminum lawn chairs with uncomfortable, sticky plastic mesh seats and backs. Barbecuing was still somewhat exotic, and most outdoor grillers used folding barbecues or tiny rectangular hibachis. Unless among the wealthy, in-ground pools were few, with above-ground corrugated steel or plastic versions more likely.

July 22, 2019, 5:44 PM EDT