May 4, 2017

HouleHoule Electric has a unique and interesting history that reveals the company’s rise from humble beginnings to one of the most prominent electrical contractors in British Colombia. In 1944 Lionel Houle opened Houle Electric, providing electrical products and services to the residents of Port Alberni. Over the next few years Lionel moved the company and his family first to the town of Terrace, and then in 1955 to Kitimat.

Struggling through financial difficulty, Lionel kept the company afloat until he received his big break in 1959, when he secured a contract with Bird Construction to help relocate the inhabitants of Aklavik to the new town of Inuvik. The project included building 150 homes, a hospital, nurses’ residences, and an RCMP station.

In 1960 Lionel again uprooted his family and business, relocating to Burnaby, BC. In Burnaby, he managed to keep costs down by operating the business out of a converted school bus in his backyard. After a short stay in Burnaby Lionel made the wise decision to move his business to an official commercial office in Vancouver. Over the next few decades the company expanded throughout BC, opening an office in Kamloops in 1962, Prince George in 1965, Nanaimo in 1976, and Fort St. John and Victoria in 1978.

In 1979 Lionel negotiated an agreement to sell Houle to 12 of its employees. The following year Houle was awarded its first major project, as the electrical contractor for the $3,300,000 Victoria General Hospital project. Upon completion of the project, Lionel was paid out and Bill Hall was appointed President of the employee-owned company. Piggybacking off the success of the Victoria General Hospital, the company secured several multi-million dollar projects that allowed Houle to purchase a new office in Burnaby.

The late 1980s was a tough time for electrical contractors in British Colombia, but Houle was able to maintain its prominent position and continue to grow. In 1991 Houle established a Network Systems Division to better service their customers.

In 1997 Robert Lashin was appointed President, and has since taken Houle Electric to new heights. Under Lashin’s leadership they have received numerous awards, including the Vancouver Construction Association’s (VRCA) Gold, Silver and Innovation Award; Leader in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) and Safety awards; Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies Award; and in 2012 and 2017 Consumer’s Choice Awards.

Houle has also not stopped expanding its range of coverage, establishing a security division in 2007 and opening an office in Kelowna and moving their head office to a 32,000 sq.ft facility in 2009. The company has province-wide mobilization that offers electrical construction and service, security and life safety, networks and infrastructure, building automation and preventative maintenance.

And with this month’s theme focused on control panels, building automation and green buildings, there is plenty to discuss regarding Houle Electric. Their contributions to green technology is evident in their LEED award and their company focus on control automation for buildings, including door access control, HVAC controls, lighting controls and system integration.

Houle specializes in system integration of heating, ventilation, HVAC systems, security (including CCTV), audio visual systems, lighting, and energy monitoring. Further they posses custom Web development capabilities customers can utilize for remote notification, viewing and control access tot heir homes or multiple commercial or industrial buildings.

Houle’s list of ongoing and completed projects is extensive and straddles the commercial, industrial and residential sectors including various hospitals and medical centres, schools, airports, manufacturing facilities, numerous Port projects, a detention centre and a CFB base.

Houle maintains the original vision of Lionel and the core company values he started over 60 years ago; safety, quality, ethics and integrity. They are also heavily involved in their community, regularly making charitable donations and participating in charity events.

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