Frank Averill is President and founder of Averill Electric Company, Inc. Even though construction can be a very demanding industry, Frank Averill describes himself as the artist and chief innovator in his business. His passion for the industry came from his desire to make a positive impact on the world at an extremely young age.
Frank’s father was a hard-working man with three jobs. Frank’s training began at the ripe old age of twelve when he would assist his father at his construction sites. By the time he hit his 13th birthday, he was enrolled in a trade school specializing in the electrical program. At Blue Hills Regional Technical School, he was enrolled in a four-year high school level electrical studies program. He graduated high school at seventeen and continued his education at Massasoit Community College. He majored in electrical engineering and business management. When Frank completed his college studies, he was hired by a progressive electrical contractor to work on complex commercial construction projects where he gained a wealth of experience and knowledge in real-world settings. While on the job, Frank continued his education with specific programs offered by Wentworth University. Among the many construction-based programs, his studies continued in construction management, electrical estimating, building information modeling, which is a 3D computerized design and construction program, and general construction.
Frank Averill became disillusioned with the wages and lack of benefits of a non-union worker. He was assigned the role of an “apprentice foreman”, who was responsible for a full staff, but was being paid inadequate wages. It was at that time that Frank decided he would either join the union or start his own business. Turning twenty-five, he made the critical decision to join the IBEW Union. However, there was a nine-month waiting period for new members to begin working on a union site. Unable to stand idly by for the next nine months, Frank proceeded to start a business with his brother. This became the genesis of Averill Electric Company, Inc., which was the beginning of his 25-year venture in the construction industry. And by the time his turn came up on the union list, his business was already thriving. He weighed his options and decided to become a union contractor instead.
As an IBEW Union electrical contractor, their first project required a complete overhaul to renovate a local mall. Their portion of the contract could not begin until the deconstruction of the mall was accomplished. In a brilliant effort to become productive during this waiting period, he examined the blueprints and decided to pre-assemble a good portion of the parts to reduce the time for onsite labor construction for the project. The pre-fabrication process allowed him to decouple the work schedule (or labor hours) making the waiting period billable, therefore being productive, moving things forward more quickly, saving onsite labor hours, and inevitably starting the concept or introducing prefabrication techniques into his business protocol for all of his future endeavors.
Frank Averill has built a reputation in his industry for having integrity, creating innovative change, and for working efficiently for twenty-five years. He has assembled a loyal staff of workers who have been with the company for many years. The focus of Averill Electric Company, Inc. has become synonymous for its work ethic, efficiency, and meticulous attention to detail, to the degree that is unmatched by any other company in the field.
Where did the idea for Averill Electric Company come from?
The company arose from a desire to have an impact on the world. “I believed that opening this business was my calling to make positive impact on the world by implementing innovative changes to the industry that addressed waste on most construction projects”, Frank Averill stated as one of his “whys” for starting his company.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I think It’s important to get up early enough to have some time to think and reflect on what is going on in your day, week, month and life. I get up at around 5am and start my day by working out. Whether its 30 minutes on the treadmill, then some weights. I change it up, but getting some form of exercise is very important to start the day off on the right foot with a clear mind. While on the treadmill, I focus on being grateful, on health physically and emotionally, and on the people I love. When I get to the office, the first thing I do is make a list of my goals for the day. I assign a set time for each goal, prioritizing things in order of importance, and setting up time-slots to complete each goal. I feel that’s most productive. I have a rule of thumb- touch it once. When something new is addressed, I either resolve it, assign it to a team member, or complete it. I don’t want to have to keep returning to the same task over and over again. That eats away at the productivity of the day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Most new ideas come to me when I think of why I am doing something in the first place. I then think about what the bigger purpose is. Then comes the how. How can there be change? Why, how and what. We work on trial and error. I put a lot of time and effort into new ideas. When I have an idea and I can envision it, I know then that it can be done. I work on it over and over and never give up. Determination is key in accomplishing anything.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend that excites me is artificial intelligence. It can work wonders in terms of making life more fluid for us. I am also very interested in green energy. It is key to stopping pollution. I believe there are ways to be productive without destroying the planet. Reducing ocean pollution is one way to save our future. The energy we use now is not good for the planet. I believe there will be new energy that will come out that will not do damage.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit I have is my meticulous focus on details. It has a massive impact on the work we do. It takes more time, energy, focus, and determination, but it is the best way to ensure superior quality work that is unmatched. And I know our work at Averill Electric is outstanding because of all the pre-work that goes into our projects before we even start the physical portion of the electrical systems.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self, follow your heart. It will guide you. Don’t let nay-sayers control your destiny.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
One way to approach life and others is to recognize that everyone has different challenges in life. Perceptions are not always aligned with reality. Many people may not agree with, but the secret to humanity is to understand someone by recognizing that there are challenges they are facing that no one is even aware of.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Time management is extremely important to any entrepreneur. Many say there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish daily goals. Using time wisely is critical. I set aside one hour each day to answer questions my staff may have. Other than that, I have a do not disturb sign on my door. I do not want to have incessant interruptions to disturb my flow during the day.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The most important strategy in my business is the unique way we prepare for our projects. An incredible amount of detail and effort goes into our work long before the project even begins. We pinpoint design challenges, missing information, all types of discrepancies, and have most of these incongruencies resolved way ahead of time.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One of the challenges any entrepreneur has is hiring the right people. I have learned over time to hire a person who is a good fit for the culture within the company as well as a good fit in terms of experience. They have to have good will towards others they work with. The culture of the workforce is extremely telling. This has been a valuable learning process over the years for me.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would love to see someone create a company that partners with local licensed dog walkers, across the country, to promote the benefits of bringing your dogs to work. So many companies can benefit from their employees bringing their dogs to work, they just don’t know it yet. This business idea can also help support our local small dog walking businesses.
At Averill Electric we have an open-door policy to bring your dogs to work. The advantage of reducing employee stress, increasing productivity, and communication are among just a few of the advantages that have made a huge difference in our business.
If a company pitched that to me I would have to give it a try.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I don’t buy many things for myself but I usually buy for others. But I did recently buy a good pair of comfortable sneakers for myself. I needed them and that was money well-spent.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Blue Beam is a PDF software that we use on our drawings, engineering, and our prefabrication processes. We began using it three years ago and it has made a tremendous impact on the quality of our work. REVIT is another software that we use for our 3D processing for our computer modeling. It has also had a big impact in our business in terms of quality and meticulous detail.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins. That book has great advice and steps to encourage people to believe in themselves.
What is your favorite quote?
Life is happening for you, not to you, by Tony Robbins.
● Follow your heart. Don’t let the nay-sayers control your destiny.
● Time management is extremely important to any entrepreneur.
● Perceptions are not always congruent with reality. Everyone has challenges to endure and overcome.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.