Timothy Pessin is a forward-thinking CEO and entrepreneur with a proven track record of predicting and delivering critical construction services in the utility sector. Born and raised in sunny Pleasant Hill, California, Tim Pessin discovered his calling in the construction industry straight out of high school. He found his first job as a general laborer for a friend’s parents’ construction company, where he worked for two years before moving on to a business that was involved in construction contracts for telecom companies. He picked up the work quickly, and he was running jobs before long, ranging from service calls to electrical repairs to backup battery installations at cellular phone towers.
After several years, Tim sought positions that would allow him to expand his professional skill set. First, he wired up buildings and schools for a commercial electrical contractor. Eventually, he moved on to building houses for a general construction company. Finally, in 2007, he teamed up with an old friend to start Electric Tech Construction, now known as E-Tech.
E-Tech grew exponentially, enabled by a series of large-scale construction contracts building out telecommunications infrastructure. They recently expanded, with offices opening in Vancouver, Washington, and Austin, Texas. E-Tech has worked with Tesla to expand their factories and EV charging network since 2015 and worked with California to grow their hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure.
Tim Pessin now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he continues to lead as the CEO and President of E-Tech.
Where did the idea for E-Tech come from?
Our original name was Electric Tech Construction, because when we first started, we focused mostly on electrical installations and service work. When we expanded our scope to become more of a general construction company, we shortened and hyphenated it into E-Tech, which comes across as more of a well-rounded name and doesn’t give the impression that we still only do electrical work. E-Tech is now the branding we use on our trucks and everything else.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
On a typical day, I wake up at 4:30 AM. I do my meditation routine and try to get a few things done around the house. I read the paper, and then I either head into the office or get on the phone if I’m working remotely. Either way, I then check in on the plan for the day for each area and figure out what our goals are for each of the jobs we’ve got going on. I see if there’s anything that needs to be discussed as a group with our leadership team, and generally make sure that we’ve got a good roadmap for the day. My workday usually lasts until about 5 PM, after which I head to the gym if I’m not able to sneak some time in during lunch. Then I head home.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My leadership team and I meet weekly, if not daily. We have sessions where we’ll discuss any upcoming work and projects, as well as any areas we’re interested in going into. At these sessions, anyone on the leadership team and anyone in the company as a whole can come to the table to discuss how we want to follow those ideas and opportunities to keep moving forward in the industry.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The evolution of modern infrastructure as a whole, really. The amount of infrastructure that is needed to support a modern world is incredible, and I believe we’re still only at the tip of the iceberg. Our industry is going to grow very aggressively, as there’s a huge need for companies like us with experience in all facets of infrastructure, from communication to EVs. We’re positioned very well to meet those needs.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m a critical thinker. Have been ever since I was a kid. Honestly, I might be an overthinker. When I have an idea, I’ll go over it again and again in my head, figuring out how to make it work. I’m sure that’s a common trait with most entrepreneurs.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Control the things you need to control in business and let the things you can’t control flow through your life without letting them disrupt you. Always stay focused on the task, and try to be the best version of yourself every day. There will always be things in your life that you won’t be able to control, and that’s okay. Just let them pass through.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I’d say that you should just believe in what you believe in. There’s a lot of false information in the world nowadays, spread by social media and everything else. Always do your own research and think critically for yourself. Don’t just blindly believe everything you read in the paper, or see in the news or on social media. Think for yourself.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Keep a healthy routine. Set time aside for yourself, whether that’s the weekend or just one day a week. Try to keep a consistent schedule as much as you can in your life.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Networking. There’s nothing better in this world. Once you prove yourself and start to touch people with your work, you need to make sure that you’re always putting yourself out there. The more exposure you get for yourself, your company, and the work you do, the more work you’ll be able to get.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I would say that there are two major challenges I’ve faced. The first has been learning to deal with difficult employees. As you grow, you’re going to have a lot more people in your company, and you’ll have some individals that are difficult to deal with. You’ll need to figure out how to deal with them in the most productive way. I took classes on how to work with and deal with different personality types and different situations. You also need a good support staff. I brought on good HR people who have more experience and expertise in these areas, who were able to help teach me and help the company through these situations.
The second challenge has been learning to and being able to set aside time for yourself, to turn things off. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re your own boss and you can make your own schedule – but you can’t really turn it off, and everything falls on you. Being able to set time aside so the stress doesn’t get you, and so you can find a healthy balance, is very important.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I do have an idea, but it’s quite a long way out. Space construction. A lot of different things are going to have to take place in space in the now-foreseeable future. Probably 10-15 years out, but I think there’s going to be a lot of interesting developments and opportunities up there.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I’ve recently spent was on books. Books are knowledge, and I firmly believe that you can’t ever read too many books.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Honestly, the best piece of software we use is our driver program. We have a lot of trucks on the road, and having the software and the cameras in our vehicles seems to do a good job of keeping our drivers off their phones and preventing accidents. It’s something I wish I had implemented much sooner.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Soul of Leadership by Deepak Chopra. I think that whether you’re an employee or an employer, it’s just really good advice on how to live life and deal with different situations.
What is your favorite quote?
“Many people forget that the goal isn’t money. The goal is to spend your days as you wish.”
- Even as an entrepreneur, it’s important to maintain a healthy work life balance.
- Nothing in your professional world is more important than good networking.
- Keep an eye toward the future – today’s impossibilities may well be the framework of tomorrow.
- Expanding and diversifying your skill set is always effort well spent.
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.