NANAIMO – It’s been 25 years since DenMar Electric Ltd. first opened its doors. Under the ownership of Chris Turnbull and Rick Bayko, the company has experienced steady growth effectively building a strong reputation across the island as a high quality, customer service-oriented residential and commercial electrical contractor. DenMar’s vast array of expertise ranges from new construction to renovations and everything in between.
Dennis and Maureen McLeod, Bayko’s parents, founded the company on July 4, 1994. “It started with just the two of them owning a single van, sharing an office with one of their customers,” said Bayko. “The early beginnings of DenMar started with small service work in both the residential and commercial sector and steadily grew. Hard to imagine, DenMar had no computers; everything was done manually and written by hand.”
Turnbull first joined the company in 1995, but worked elsewhere for a few years, returning when he and Bayko decided to purchase the business in 2006. “Rick and I were good friends for years before we bought the company,” says Turnbull. “We talked about doing something together for a while, so when the opportunity to purchase DenMar came up, we jumped on it.”
Upon taking over the business, Turnbull and Bayko brought in more technology, changed and expanded the estimating system and added more computers. Quickly DenMar expanded beyond the area of small service work, taking on major projects and thriving in the midst of a construction boom. After just two years, the company had grown from 13 employees to 55. After having to reduce to 25-30 employees during the recession era, the company has once again grown, and now fields 50 plus employees from its head office in Nanaimo.
“DenMar Electric has maintained longevity and success by diversifying its staff, encouraging, and training them along the way to perform a wide variety of duties associated with the business,” says Bayko. “Chris and I recognized early on that we cannot be the ones expected to perform all the tasks. We had to continue to step up and train the staff to work as a team, support each other, and do an outstanding job. Retaining staff allows for the company to excel with happy, confident, knowledgeable employees who are able to successfully assist clientele. Additionally, employing younger staff brings energy to the company and the ability to train and stay current in the workforce.”
Mitchell Dent who has been with the company for the past four years comments, “DenMar has a great client base with lots of repetitive business, allowing us to get to know clients and project managers that we work with and establish a relationship. There’s a sense of achievement when we have repeat customers and general contractors who ask for us by name.”
Another employee, Travis Fox, states, “at DenMar, we get to learn in a fast-paced, positive environment. I work alongside journeymen who have been with the company for 10 or more years, offering a vast pool of knowledge. The culture amongst the crew is amazing.” Travis has been with the company for the past eight years and comments that “the career progression is unmatched, bigger and better challenges are only ever a request away. The diverse types of jobs completed by DenMar provide an excellent opportunity for those who really want to take their electrical career to the next level. After being with the company for eight years, I still find myself tackling new, exciting installations. Though the construction industry has highs and low, DenMar has time and time again gone the extra mile to keep me working.”
For Bayko and Turnbull, creating a positive work environment starts at the top.
“We strive to lead by example,” says Bayko. “Our goal is to assist our employees with personal growth by being approachable and willing to provide training and knowledge in their careers, helping them to become the best that they can be.”
With a team of employees who are constantly learning and becoming more skilled in their trade, DenMar Electric has a high level of flexibility when it comes to taking on new jobs. This flexibility enables them to live up to their motto: “We’ll be there today!”
“Our guys can do pretty much anything in the electrical field,” says Turnbull. “Because they’re so diversified, we have a lot of employees to choose from when we get a call. “We schedule our staff every day on an actual schedule, so everyone knows where everyone is and the tasks that are at hand. If somebody calls and needs us at 1:30, someone will be there to help them. Not a lot of companies can do that. Some days are harder than others, but we stick to it. The number of people and quality of people we employ makes this goal possible.
Commenting on the longevity of DenMar, Bayko states, “I feel one of the keys to success is to make everyone a raving fan of DenMar Electric. Nothing is perfect and issues inevitably can arise, it’s about how you handle those issues moving forward. To DenMar, building and keeping strong relationships with clientele is our number one priority.” The company also recognizes the importance to give back to its community. Both Bayko’s and Turnbull’s families have actively played sports in the community and DenMar, having seen the need first-hand, have sponsored multiple sports teams. They have also supported charities like the Nanaimo Child Development Centre and the Salvation Army, and have provided services for the Relay for Life.
“The owners and staff share a huge amount of heart,” says Nicole McDonald, who has been with DenMar for the past 11 years. “The commitment and generosity of not only the company, but also the staff, make me incredibly proud to be a part of this team. I’ve seen support from the DenMar family in life and in business, in good times and hard times.”