Electrical contractor settles into the community with high standards.
Regardless of the type of work you need, trust is everything when you hire a contractor. You can’t help but worry about the experience and the results when you take a chance on someone new. That’s why KC Pros Electric co-owners Stephon Blake and Steve Turner are carefully wiring their young company with high standards and a devotion to personal relationships.
KC Pros Electric co-owners Steve Turner (left) and Stephon Blake.
Flipping the Switch on a Partnership
Blake and Turner know all things electrical. They’re seasoned experts with careers stretching back decades. Many of those years were spent at a huge firm that ultimately short-circuited their motivation and pushed them in a different direction. Blake said something had to change.
“I was tired of being a number and there just wasn’t enough personal satisfaction.”
“We know each other’s work ethic so well and share the same ideas about quality and personal relationships,” says Turner. “Opening a commercial electrical business together to do things better seemed like the natural way to go.”
The business started coming together in 2016. Blake and Turner worked out of their own homes for a while, but those homes were pretty far apart. One was in Lee’s Summit and the other was in Olathe. So they decided to meet regularly for lunch at restaurants in Martin City as a sort of half-way point to plan and bid on projects. Martin City was convenient and also familiar. They had worked on projects in the area before and Turner grew up not far away in Blue Valley.
“I’ve watched Martin City evolve and I’ve spent time here. A member of my family actually helped pour the concrete foundation for RC’s Restaurant way back when.”
Those lunch meetings at RC’s, Margarita’s South, Jack Stack Barbecue and others were enough to get KC Pros Electric their first few projects, but they soon realized they needed real office space. When they noticed a small rental property at 13350 Holmes Road, they snatched it up.
“We wanted to serve the entire Greater Kansas City area and Martin City was an ideal location. Plus, we had enjoyed exploring the community so we knew this was a good place to set up shop.”
KC Pros Electric is located on the west side of Holmes Road across from Fishtech.
Plugging into a Competitive Landscape
Blake and Turner had good reputations and great contacts, but persuading businesses to give them a chance to replace existing contractor relationships was difficult. Blake says they had to start from scratch.
“Just like most businesses starting out, we got going with small jobs to build a portfolio. But in commercial contracting, you just can’t make it on small jobs forever. We began to wonder about whether this was going to work.”
A breakthrough finally came at the HoneyBaked Ham Company location in Gladstone, Missouri. That project sparked momentum and other sizable projects followed. KC Pros Electric now keeps five employees busy in the field. Blake says their commitment to quality keeps paying off.
“When we get a chance to prove ourselves, the companies that hire us immediately understand we’re special. The trust we earn every time is the gateway to the projects we want.”
Fazoli’s, Red Robin and Big Whiskey’s highlight KC Pros Electric’s project portfolio so far, which also includes classroom remodeling at Johnson County Community College. Blake says the project that may say the most about them is Chuck E Cheese.
“Chuck E Cheese has three locations in the area. We did some work at one location and a review of the work found it was rock solid and complete. At the same time, other contractors were doing work at the other two locations. A review of their work turned up a list of problems and overlooked details. Chuck E Cheese then made KC Pros Electric their preferred electrical contractor for all three locations.”
“We’ve never had an unhappy customer,” says Turner. “That’s what we’re about and why our business is growing.”
Powering the Future
Growing KC Pros Electric is a matter of striking the right balance between size and personal attention. Turner says they don’t want to get too big and sacrifice what sets them apart.
“We want to personally ensure top-notch work on every project. We don’t want to compromise that in any way just to become a bigger player. We’ve seen what can happen when you get too big,” says Blake. “Quality can suffer and employees get restless.”
He says KC Pros Electric is always looking for talent and retains employees by making sure they don’t feel disconnected.
“We want to know our employees and pull together as a team. We don’t just offer a paycheck. We offer the opportunity for you to master your trade and refine your skills the right way.”
Blake and Turner share an interesting specialty that’s allowing them to expand their business all the way to the Ozarks.
“We love lake life and hit the water when we get the chance. Being in that environment has led to a steady stream of electrical work on boat docks over the years.”
In fact, KC Pros Electric is now in charge of all dock inspections at Lake Winnebago and Lake Lotawana in Missouri. Blake says they also have customers at the Lake of the Ozarks including a loyal marina owner.
“He lives out of state and doesn’t trust anyone to work on this property when he’s not around except us. He calls us for everything.”
Calls from lakes are often about breakaway docks. Breakaways are a common problem caused by storms, high winds and just the shifting weight of heavy boats. Docks are connected to electrical panels on the shore that are ripped out of the ground and pulled into the water when a breakaway occurs. Turner says it happens over and over again and can cost thousands of dollars in repairs each time.
A dock breaks away from the shore at Lake of the Ozarks.
“After re-attaching docks to power sources time after time, we developed a better solution. It’s a patent-pending invention called The Safe Break©. When a dock breaks free, The Safe Break just snaps off and cuts the power, leaving the electrical panel intact. When you secure the dock again, you just snap The Safe Break back into place and you’re good to go without electrical repairs.”
Blake says news of their invention is making waves and could be a game-changer at lakes all over.
“All five fire districts at Lake of the Ozarks are very interested in seeing this technology implemented. We’re excited about what The Safe Break can do, and maybe more importantly, what it says about the way we think. We are constantly looking for the best fix for the problem, whatever it takes. We want to do the best work available.”
Martin City Magnetism
KC Pros Electric is still small but hopes to make a bigger difference in Martin City. Blake and Turner want to put their skills to work helping local businesses and powering the community’s revitalization movement. Turner says they know they’re in a special place.
“We’re right in the middle of Martin City’s growth and it’s exciting.”
Turner believes his business neighbors are just like residential neighbors willing to share resources and help out in a pinch. He says JustPatTon Construction nearby has offered the use of their forklift anytime it’s available, and he recalls a day when Grade-A Tree Care pitched-in with a truck to help Blake and Turner put up a light pole in their parking lot.
“I mean that just says it all,” says Turner. “And what a spectacle it was in our little corner of the community. It just shows you the spirit that brings business owners together here.”
Grade-A Tree Care offered the use of their truck to help position a light pole in the parking lot.
“I love the family-friendly atmosphere too,” says Blake. “For example, when I leave here at the end of the day and head down 135th Street, I’ll often see a family sitting outside Martin City Pizza with kids and maybe their dog. It’s just a great neighborhood for everyone.”
Turner says there’s a shared connection in Martin City that you can’t find just anywhere.
“In other parts of the Kansas City area, people are just focused on doing their own thing and you can get lost in the shuffle. But in Martin City, there’s a sense of community that unites people and businesses, too. It’s a really positive attitude. We love that and look forward to remaining a part of it as KC Pros Electric grows.”
To learn more about KC Pros Electric services, please visit their website.