Ask a commercial electrical contractor how they implement green features on renovation projects and new construction builds and many will tell you one of the easiest ways to implement green electrical design is through energy efficient devices or alternative energy sources.

Solar panels, for example, have caught on with businesses in areas where traditional energy is expensive. The return on investment pays for itself relatively quickly. It’s often a different story for electrical contractors in the Midwest, where the cost of energy is low by comparison.

Here, in America’s Heartland, Miller Electric applies innovation in other ways to reduce costs and increase efficiencies for customers.

“Commercial projects are like puzzles and Miller Electric is a piece of each puzzle,” says Safety Director Scott Love. “Whether the job is a renovation or new construction, there are many pieces that need to be manipulated and fit into place for the project to come out right. When we get involved early on in the project planning process, we can provide guidance, innovation and coordination to help the projects we’re involved in finish on time, within budget and to the exact specifications of our clients.”

Electrical Contractors Apply Innovation to Fixture Ordering

Often the planning process begins by helping clients decide whether renovation or new construction is the best option for their needs and budget.

“Innovation is part of the process in how we think about everything we do,” says Miller Electric Safety Director Scott Love. “Frequently, we have clients who want to update old technologies with lighting retrofits. The earlier we get involved, the greater opportunity we have to affect budget and timeline savings because we can order the right fixtures at the appropriate time. That strategy allows us to select fixtures that fit the client’s needs at the best price and order them far enough out to ensure that the long lead time often associated with fixtures doesn’t slow down the overall progress of the project.”

Sometimes, Miller Electric is able to suggest new electrical equipment that ends up saving the client money by delivering increased energy efficiency. At times, the cost to install new electrical equipment may warrant a move to a new facility rather than attempting to upgrade an existing one. But cost isn’t always the most important factor. The client’s needs, culture and values are pieces that must be considered as well on any renovation or new construction consideration.

Miller Electric’s Customer-Centric Approach Stands Out to Area Organizations

Miller Electric got to see this principle in action recently when it performed the electrical work for the unique addition to the KANEKO building. The desire to use light in creative ways, required Miller Electric to think innovatively about the design and installation of not just the light fixtures ordered but the wiring as well.

“When I had conversations with Scott Love and Joe Pecha about the project, I could tell right away that they understood the special nature of this job,” says KANEKO Executive Director Chris Hochstetler. “They knew June Kaneko’s vision for creativity and right from the onset worked harder to match June’s quality and deliver excellence in attention to detail.”


Kaneko atrium accent lighting and conduit

Miller Electric is organized to deliver consistently excellent attention to detail on every size project, which can be a difficult thing to do. Renovation projects can be as small as moving a kiosk or welcome area display to complete retrofits that run millions of dollars. Miller Electric handles them all with a core group of experienced electricians and low voltage technicians that it can deploy depending on the specific needs and size of the project. This kind of operational innovation ensures that Miller always puts its most suited workers on the job.

“For smaller jobs or jobs that require sporadic work, we might deploy our Custom Commercial team,” says Custom Commercial Operation Manager Charlie Graeve. “We often get our Service Department involved as well, especially for smaller, quicker jobs like a conference room renovation. Then, for the larger projects, our core force of foremen and crew members are ready for those as well.”

Having the capacity to meet such a wide range of electrical construction project needs without sacrificing quality or requiring customers to go elsewhere to get their need met is a form of operational innovation for Miller Electric. Small businesses and local business owners benefit from that innovation.

Corkscrew Wine and Cheese owner Jessica Keith reached out to Miller when it came time to rig the lighting for her store and was pleased with the way Miller managed the project.

“They went above and beyond our expectations in regards to the electrical things we did,” she says. “Being a retail bar, we built our own light fixtures out of wine bottles and then asked them to find a way to make them shine, which they absolutely did.”

That affirmation is fuel for the custom commercial department, who along with all of Miller’s employees, take pride in conquering unique electrical design challenges with poise, innovation and cost-effective solutions.

“When we have someone like the Old Market Artists Co-Op come to us with a need for a lighting plan that makes a historic building suitable for artwork and sculpture display and we can deliver a design that they are excited to raise money to fund, I feel like we’re giving people positive impressions of what a commercial electrical contractor can do,” says Graeve.

KANEKO’s Chris Hochstetler would agree with that sentiment. “Miller Electric changed my whole perception of what to expect from an electrical contractor. They were the most professional folks I have ever worked with. From the small stuff like helping employees carry boxes to being the first person in and last out at the building to accomplishing unique and challenging lighting installations ahead of schedule and under budget, I can’t say enough positive things about Miller. We were glad to see the construction complete but were sad to see Miller go.”

Whether it’s helping property management firms and business clients to agree on the scope of a small office renovation project to knowing how to help larger businesses make technologically advanced and cost-effective decisions on lighting, switches, access systems, openness, sound masking and use of natural light, Miller Electric is able to meet them all because it employs an innovative approach to how it staffs and organizes its workforce.

At the heart of all that innovation is a firm commitment to the customer’s well being. That is a big reason why Miller Electric has been able to keep its doors open and its workforce thriving for 105 years and counting.