When a quartet of lifelong friends and relatives suddenly find themselves in business together, things can be electrifying.
And so it has been for the owners of Spring Hill-based Southern Electric of Tennessee. Two years ago, the purveyor of residential and commercial electrical services experienced a change in leadership in which the original owner handed over the business to his handpicked successors. The transfer wasn’t entirely unexpected, but the timing was.
“It was in December two years ago that we had our weekly meeting,” says co-owner Tracy Bryan, whose father, Jay Billman, founded the company as Billman Electric in 1993. “That’s when Mr. Billman announced his retirement and wanted to put the plan in motion. He had talked about retiring for a few years, but we never thought it would happen.”
Since that day, Tracy, along with Robert Adair and Jaime and George Gore, have been at the helm of the firm that has been serving residential and commercial customers in Williamson and Maury Counties for 30 years. “We all worked for my dad for quite a while and for him to pick the four of us to take over the business when he retired was pretty nice. It was a surprise,” she says.
Tracy’s day-to-day roll involves permits, payroll, human resources, receiving and billing. She also works with George on new construction quotes. Jaime serves as office manager while Adair is the firm’s lead residential technician.
Adair and George Gore have worked together since 2003, first for Billman and now for Southern Electric. An Oklahoma native, Adair says he “got into electrical work because no one in my family knew how. So I learned.” He enjoys helping customers save money by performing routine maintenance. “You should have a panel inspection every year,” he says. “And if you’re experiencing intermittent power failures on any circuit, call your electrician. It may not seem like a big deal, but it could be a sign of a greater issue that needs to be addressed.”
As one might expect, the owners are, indeed, like family. The Gores are married, and so are Adair and Bryan, though not to each other. “But we are like brother-and-sister,” says Bryan. There are a total of 15 children in their respective families. Bryan and her husband, Travis, lead the way with eight. Adair and his wife, Karie, have five while the Gores have two.
“Running a successful business is not a one-man show,” says Bryan. “Everyone has to do their part so that everything operates as it should. That’s indicative of the work ethic that Mr. Billman instilled in us and it’s an honor to carry on that tradition.”