As we have entered the 21st century, the effects of instant communication and technology along with the results of global economics, have compressed time and margins, creating a paradigm of the want for instant gratification. This can take a toll on the ability to provide “The extreme customer service.” Hill Electric is comprised of old school service methodology given by key employees with decades of service experience. This key factor combined with modern tools and technology has enabled us to deliver a “Nordstrom” type service amenity in the electrical industry unequalled by all.
Hill Electric is a Texas based, family owned company, who believe customer service is the most important aspect in regards to a service industry. Our business was created to serve you with a high quality of services and low total cost. We are an electrical Services Company with highly trained personnel in both the commercial and residential electrical markets. Our product of “ultimate customer service” is in effect our best competitive advantage. With over 3 decades of electrical service experience, we have succeeded in developing processes to deliver customer’s needs at a high level of performance. Our focus is first to our customers, with dedicated patience and attention in order to hear their wants, needs, and problems. Then we follow up with efficient and effective solutions to help minimize the cost to you.
Billy Hill, founder and owner of Hill Electric, along with his team, started in the electrical service industry with a previous private company in the 1970’s which is now one of the largest electrical public companies in America. With that experience, Mr. Hill found it necessary to reopen a private company in order to provide an environment in which to serve the customer versus the shareholder. Now the size and growth of the company is relative to the needs of our customer, and not the budget. Remember, at Hill Electric…Customer Service Matters!
Article courtesy of Construction News February 2006.
Billy Hill cites two major markers in his life thus far—becoming a Christian in 1984 and a second event that goes like this:
"In 1971 a buddy of mine invited me and my wife to go to a little church over on Nacogdoches Road. As we were walking out after the service, the pastor shook my hand and asked about me and what I did for a living. At the time I had just quit my job selling life insurance and had recently married. I told him I didn’t know. I just gambled for a living, drank beer and had a good old time.
"He invited us over for a humble dinner of beans and ham. He asked what work I would like to do, and I told him I wanted to be an electrician. He said he knew a friend who owned an electric contracting company, and he would try and get me an interview.
"I started work that very first day, digging ditches, and stayed with that company for 35 years. At the end I was part owner and vice president when the company went public.
"The man who hired me was Bob Weik, founder of Bexar Electric, and the preacher who introduced us was worldrenowned pastor, John Hagee, Cornerstone Church.
"The combination of those two events has driven, dominated and dictated 95 percent of my life, and Hill Electric is the result."
Tell me about Hill Electric.
Hill Electric is a very unique start-up company. Although we have only been in business since last August, our company is comprised of more experience and knowledge than most others in the city. Four of the five key employees have over three decades of service in the business.
We had worked together, very successfully, in the customer service arena, from the ‘70s into the late ‘90s, when with Bob, we went public under IES, and soon grew to the largest electrical contractor in the United States.
After all that success, why did you start a new business?
I wanted to get back to the mom-and-pop shop of the ‘70s, but with the 21st-century tools and technology. After going public, the market took on the negative consequence of global economics — the data com bubble bursting, the imploding of Enron and their unfair practices, and 9/11. I found it more challenging to do in the public arena than what I could do in the private sector.
Why is that?
I feel by establishing a privately owned company we can give the best in customer service, whether it’s changing a light bulb or designing a medical office building for a development company. We are working for each other and our customers, not for Wall Street.
Did this move create any waves?
We didn’t leave Bexar Electric. Our choice was to leave the public arena and get back to the private. Bob has spun off many companies here in San Antonio in 42 years. You can only imagine how many electricians, company owners, and even electrical inspectors have been influenced by Bob Weik.
Working for Bob was such a blessing and he gave me so much autonomy to do the job. He allows individuals to work in the way they design in order to accomplish an end.
Do you consider Weik your mentor?
Yes. He was one of those rare out-of-the-garage type successes. He gave me my education, my street sense. All of my education in the business I owe to mentoring under Bob.
Do you face any special challenges in a new business?
These many years of experience have really scripted us and groomed us for the challenges that we have to overcome in a brand-new business. We don’t have to wait two to three years to learn. We’ve been there, done that.
Where do you want to take Hill Electric?
In the next 20 years, we are going to grow the company relative to our employees’ wants and needs, and our customers’. Monetary benefits are not the driving force of what we do: they’re just the result.
We always planned to grow and build from the inside. All of us here started from the field and have grown from there. From 2006 as we move into 2007 and 2008 we’re probably going to cap it off at about $4-4.5 million and then see what direction we as a group want to go.
How many employees do you have?
We currently have 20 and will grow to 45. Employees who come to Hill Electric have the same character and values that mirror Hill Electric. This is such an eclectic company, made up of the best of the best in different areas they work in. We want the same for our field employees so they can mirror our philosophy and communicate it to the end user.
Who do you surround yourself with?
It’s the people who make up a company. This group worked so well together in the past.
Trudy Zaruba has worked for me for 13 years, and is the left half of my brain and handles administration.
Mark Vargo has worked with me for over 35 years and has grown to be a very high-level customer service representative.
Gary Koontz has worked with me for 15 years. His forte` is in serving all the property managers here in San Antonio.
Richard Denehy has been in the trade for almost 50 years and with me for 17 years. He is my estimator and designer.
What will the focus of work be at Hill Electric?
We focus on customer service in all areas of electrical, whether that customer is a developer, architect, general contractor or individual homeowner. We do design-build, standard commercial lease space finish-out and office building and apartment building service.
How’s business so far?
Our want for business is definitely being filled. Our experience is quite diversified and our relationships have been well-established. People found out that we have grouped together and formed a private company, so the phones are ringing quite well.
Any interesting projects on the horizon?
We have a project in the planning stages at a landfill installing a generation system to capture methane gas, turn it into electricity and sell it back to City Public Service.
Another unique project is designing and installing lightning protection in pastures for a rancher to protect his valuable horses.
We just finished a project at a 14-story office building where we shut down the main distribution system that powers the whole building, made repairs and had it back on line before the sun was up the next morning.
With all this work, do you have time for family?
Yes, of course. My wife, Vickie and I have been married since 1969. She has supported me all along. We started out poor as dirt, and lived in a little mobile home on a borrowed piece of property. We have inspired each other over the years. We look for change, rather than react to it.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in San Antonio. I graduated in 1966 from Sam Houston High School and immediately went into the work force doing various jobs and then selling life insurance.
Tell me about your parents.
Not much to tell. They passed on years ago. As an only child, I knew them as very hard workers. My dad was a submarine hero in WWII, and then worked the rest of his life on the railroad. They also afforded me the latitude to do pretty much what I figured needed to be done—some good, some bad.
Do you have children?
Two more blessings. Our daughter, Vanessa, is studying to be a pulmonary pediatrician, and her husband, Barry, is an anesthesiologist. Our son, Billy Ross, attends Texas State University and works in sales.
What do you enjoy doing as a family?
Our family includes our church, First Baptist Church of Universal City. Vickie splits her time between that and our 3-year-old grandson, Cole. We share our time here and at our beautiful lake home on Lake Buchanan. I think now I will be able to focus on that more than before.
What do you look forward to the most for the future in business and life?
I guess, for me, business and life are really one. This move has allowed me to better focus on both, regaining perspective, balance and a more defined purpose. I’ll strive to leave a legacy in each of the two.
I would pray that it would include commitment to God, family and each other; prudence and wisdom in all; justice, chastity, and fairness; and lastly, an appreciation for the short life we’ve been given and the ability to capture the blessings of each day.
Some companies have a good safety program; at Hill Electric we have created a Safety Culture. Hill Electric promotes an injury free environment; one where everyone believes that zero incidents is an achievable goal. Our full time Safety Director takes data, leading indicators, incident rates, and recordable injuries, and evaluates them on a daily basis. He uses this data to develop the proper prevention plans for accident avoidance specific to our employees and the particular jobs’ on which they are working. As a company, we are dedicated to looking at the leading causes of accidents on the job site, and removing those elements before an incident can occur. We are able to do this by providing in house training, the proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and by instilling and reinforcing safe behaviors.
Hill Electric’s Safety Culture begins with constant communication between our Management Team and our electricians in the field. Continued education, training classes, and weekly meetings for the entire team, including project managers, estimators, and the owner, provide the information and tools needed for each member of the team to make informed decisions. Through detailed analysis and pre-task planning we are able to minimize work related accidents and provide a safe work environment. The results of Hill Electric’s proactive safety culture have made our company one of the safest electrical contractors in the state.
Some companies have a safety program in place, but what good is that program if the employees are not held accountable. At Hill Electric our team also conforms to State House Bill 705. This bill requires a company to run full background checks on any employee who enters a residence to service a job. Hill Electric is fully Licensed, Bonded, and Insured, and carries Workman’s Compensation insurance, which insures you will not be held liable for any accident that may occur.
These are just a few of the intangibles that make Hill Electric the safe and logical choice for your next electrical need.
- IEC: Independent Electrical Contractors
- ABC: Associated Builders and Contractors
- ASA: American Subcontractors Association
- San Antonio North Chamber of Commerce
- Solar San Antonio
- Better Business Bureau
- Better Consumer Choices
- Angie's List
- Seguin High School Electrical Trade Board
- Macarthur High School Electrical Trade Board
- San Antonio Business Journal Fast Track Award 2008
- San Antonio Business Journal Fast Track Award2009
- San Antonio Business Journal Top 50 Private Companies 2010
- Angie's List Super Service Award 2007
- Angie's List Super Service Award 2008
- Angie's List Super Service Award 2009