The Right Person for the Job
Larkin Enterprises Inc.
Larkin Enterprises was founded in 1994, by Richard and Nancy Larkin. Located in Maine, the company is dedicated to teamwork and offering its clients quality service they can trust. Whether it is a need for instrumentation and control work, or filling the position of an engineer or job site manager, Larkin Enterprises will always find the right person for the job.
Larkin Enterprises Founder, Richard Larkin, used to be a contractor in the power industry, working for staffing agencies and various clients all over the world. “I did a lot of start-up work at different power plants; Taiwan, China, United States, to name a few. I worked in nuclear power plants and fossil plants too,” explains Larkin.
Having joined the army at the age of seventeen, Larkin went through the apprenticeship program to become a licensed electrician. He then deviated into instrumentation and controls work. “Oftentimes, I would work as an engineer,” says Larkin. “So, once I got some experience, I would challenge the engineering tests to get the engineering grade and pay.”
In 1994, Larkin and his wife Nancy decided to open their own company – Larkin Enterprises, which would basically take out the middle man. “I was working on a project in Pennsylvania when I got a call to go to mainland China,” explains Larkin. “I couldn’t go, but I had a couple of friends who wanted to. So, I phoned the corporation, and that’s where it began. I sent one guy over, and then a month later, I sent another guy, and it just kind of grew from there.”
Larkin Enterprises has two distinct divisions – staffing and construction. In the staffing division, it provides staffing at a professional level in such fields as construction, management, supervision, engineering and quality control. “I even have a few attorneys that work in that group, that do contract administration on projects for different clients around the country,” says Larkin. “It’s pretty high-paid staffing, when you compare it to other temporary staffing companies. We don’t have anybody that we bill out for less than $100 an hour.”
As it implies, the construction division works in construction. “We are signatory to all the union trade agreements,” explains Larkin. “So, we bring union labor, and most of the time, we work exclusively in the power industry.
“And most of the time, we deal with time and materials,” adds Larkin. “We don’t do a lot of fixed price bidding. We don’t compete a lot. We bring quality services, meet obligations and our dates, and we’ve never paid a nickel in liquidated damages nor have we missed a date.”
What makes Larkin Enterprises stand out is the quality of its employees, and much like the company’s business, most of these come via word of mouth recommendation. “I think the best advantage we have is in the quality of the people we provide to our clients,” says Larkin. “We only fill staffing positions with people that I either know personally, or know of their experience, or know through friends of mine who can refer or give them a recommendation.” The company does not send anyone out who does not meet those criteria.
After having worked so many years in the industry, Richard Larkin has come to know the right people for these types of jobs, based on experience and quality of workmanship and the skill set needed for each job. He also knows how to take care of his employees’ needs when it comes to tools and equipment for getting the job done right. “We have a higher quality of people, and I think one of the main reasons for that is because I used to be one of those people,” says Larkin. “So, if somebody needs something, they call me, or they call my office, and they get what they need.
“It’s different when you work for a large corporation,” explains Larkin. “When it’s not family owned, the decision-making process is much more involved. Years ago, for instance, when I was working for another company; when I would run around for work, and I’d need some tool, I had to call the office, and it could take up to three months to get what I needed. Now, if I have a guy on the job, that needs a $300 or $3000 tool, I authorize it, and he has it,” adds Larkin. “We don’t want to mess around with things like tools and equipment that they need. So, we provide it. This makes for a much simpler process.”
Since its inception, Larkin Enterprises has accomplished numerous wind projects around the globe, including a project that wrapped up some time ago in Ontario, and more recently, a couple of gas turbine projects in Denver, where the company took care of the all the instrumentation and control work.
“Consumer Energy in Michigan has been our client since 1996, so we’ve had people working out there for many years,” says Larkin. “This year, however, they did a lot of upgrades, and we’ve had up to one hundred people there at one time.
“We’re currently doing hybrid windmills in Missouri,” he says. “We are doing the electrical. We have to do ten towers – ten turbines – a week, and that’s a challenge. Towers cannot be put up when the wind blows, and windmills tend to put up where the wind blows. They’ve had disastrous weather out there – heavy rains and mud and lightning too. There are a lot of impediments to getting the work done in a timely fashion with an aggressive schedule like that. But we will get it done.”
One of Richard Larkin’s most memorable accomplishments was the Lake Road project in Connecticut, several years back. The project involved three gas turbine power plants, side by side. “We went in, and our initial contract was to build decks around the construction trailers,” explains Larkin. “The contract was about $18,000, and because of our performance and the quality of our work, the construction manager for that project gave us more and more scope, and we only left the job about three years later. When we had finally completed the job, we had done $24 million worth of work on that site.”
Larkin Enterprises has also done several other wind turbine projects in the renewable energy sector. “I think most of that work comes to us because of our staffing people,” says Larkin. “They’re quality people.They just get on the job as an engineer or designer or whatever it may be, and then (once their job is done) the owner says, ‘That’s great; we’ve got it all designed (or engineered or whatever), but who is going to do this? And who is going to do that?’” explains Larkin. That’s when clients think about bringing Larkin Enterprises back again.
Larkin Enterprises is dedicated to matching the right people with the right projects, and it is able to deliver quality workmanship due to its outstanding resume database of extremely qualified and talented people. “I think we do a pretty good job,” says Larkin.
Obviously, Richard Larkin is not alone in his assessment. For five consecutive years in the late nineties, Larkin Enterprises was named the sixth fastest growing privately-held company in America, by Inc. Magazine. “But then, after 9/11 and the Enron filing, we went through some tough times, and our business drastically reduced in volume,” explains Larkin. “But now, we’re back, and we’re aiming to pump $20 million in 2017.”
Having said that, Larkin Enterprises is working towards getting a foothold in nuclear power and is presently in discussions for an enormous project that, if awarded, will go on for several years.
Larkin says there is “no magic potion” to the company’s success. “We must know our job. We must know what we’re going to do. And then, we have to do what we say we’re going to do, with integrity and safety as the higher priority,” he says.
“Unfortunately, today, I’ve been told by my clients that people who do what they say they’re going to do are few and far between,” explains Larkin. “So, that has been our mantra. And we’ve always worked that way. We’re honest and open; we don’t cheat, steal or lie.”
With around 125 employees, Larkin Enterprises has just the one office in Maine. “I travel a great deal and visit work sites, but I choose to live here. That’s why my business is here,” explains Larkin. “I mean, I can operate with the internet. We can do payroll from anywhere. And I could live anywhere I want, but I like to be here in Maine.”
With lots of negotiations in the works for upcoming projects and an impressive amount of work already scheduled for the upcoming year, Larkin Enterprises is looking forward to the future as it continues to do quality work and build relationships. Larkin Enterprises’ reputation speaks volumes, eliminating the need for marketing, thanks to positive word of mouth from its clients.
“We’re pretty well known in the industry,” says Larkin. “As a matter of fact, we just signed a contract with a southern company, and it was them who persuaded us to work for them.”