All-Tech Electric has grown from a three-room trailer in Clarence Allred’s backyard to a 12,000- square-foot warehouse and office in Tooele City’s Commercial Park over the past 17 years. That growth is all the more remarkable considering Allred founded the company as a retirement project.
All-Tech Electric offers electrical construction services for commercial, industrial, institutional, manufacturing, site utility, power and data distribution, fire alarm, automation and security systems. In 1995, after 28 years of electrical work at the Tooele Army Depot, Allred retired but soon became restless. He was guiding fishing and hunting trips in the Sawtooth Wilderness area in Idaho when he decided to return to Tooele.
“I always liked horses, but after three seasons I had my fill of guiding and decided to come back to Tooele and electric work,” said Allred.
Allred initially went to work for Christensen and Griffith as an electrical foreman, but he also started up All-Tech Electric initially as a part-time business so he could do electrical work with his son, David, who was also a licensed electrician.
In 1998 Allred, now joined by his other son, Doug, left Christensen and Griffith to make All-Tech Electric a full-time commercial operation. In that first year of fulltime operation, All-Tech Electric had gross revenues of $754,000, according to Allred. For the last six years, All-Tech has grossed over $3 million a year, he said.
All-Tech Electric is a family business. Clarence is the company president. David Allred serves as the company’s vice president, and Doug Allred is the secretary and treasurer. Both are licensed electricians. Allred’s daughter, Sally Winkler, is the general manager. The Allreds live and work in Tooele Valley as do 75 percent of their work force.
The company employs 26 people currently, but new contracts for the Tooele Applied Technology College and projects at the University of Utah have the company currently taking applications and hiring. Allred estimates he will soon have 40 employees.
Allred credits his time with C&G, particularly working with owners Ron Christensen and Gary Griffith, for helping to develop his business acumen.
“With 28 years of experience in electrical work, I knew about electrical work,” said Allred. “But Ron and Gary taught me about the world of construction and business.” The secret to success is found in carefully crafted bids that allow the company to make money, but not too much, according to Allred. “Bid low, but not too low is the key,” said Allred. “And always deliver quality work without charging an arm and a leg.”
All-Tech has two full-time estimators that crank out up to six new bids a week, Allred said. “We will get about one of every 20 bids we submit,” said Allred. “That is actually a pretty good success rate. We should have plenty of work to keep us busy.”
The company’s first big contract was installing 39 new cell towers in the western United States for Sprint.
“We did a lot of cell tower work in the early days of the company,” said Allred. “It required a lot of travel with projects all over.” Allred’s experience working with communications and antenna systems in the military came in helpful on the cell tower projects. But cell tower work required a lot of travel and Allred and his sons wanted to stay closer to home, in Tooele County.
A few years ago, after working on cell tower projects in the San Jose, Calif., area, Allred said he and his sons decided to start looking for more local jobs to bid on. As a result, All-Tech has been involved some of the larger construction projects in Tooele County. They have completed local projects including Walgreen’s, Tooele Deseret Industries, Carl’s Junior in Tooele, Settlement Canyon Elementary School, the Community Learning Center, Nelson and Son’s Fish Food expansion, and Soelberg’s Market at Stansbury Crossing. The Community Learning Center job involved the power distribution, cables for data transmission, telecommunications, sound and p.a. system, security systems, control systems for heating and cooling, and installation of a wind turbine generator.
Picking up these local construction jobs has helped keep construction dollars in the community, supporting local businesses and employees.
“Back in the ’90s and early 2000s, contractors from out of county would come into Tooele and bring their sub-contractors and employees with them,” said Allred. “Today we can get contracts for electrical work by winning the competitive bid process and using our local workforce to do the job.”
All-Tech has also completed several projects along the Wasatch Front, including electrical service upgrades for the University of Utah, remodel work for Salt Lake City International Airport, and new electrical work for the rebuild of Layton High School. The Layton High School rebuild, at $2.5 million, was the largest project the company has undertaken to date, Allred said.
One of the more complicated jobs was setting up one of the manufacturing lines for Carlisle SynTec at the Utah Industrial Depot. The job involved installing wiring to 100,000 terminal ends to carry electronic signals that control the equipment used in Carlisle SynTec’s manufacturing process.
All-Tech has also been at the center of the Independent Electrical Contractors of Utah’s educational efforts to train the next generation of electricians. Doug is currently the vice president of the IEC of Utah and will start a two-year term as president next year. The company’s Tooele facility includes a classroom for training classes for apprentice electricians. Working with IEC, the course work for new electricians is now available online for students and All-Tech, with Allred and his sons as instructors, provides the hands-on lab experience for first- and second-year apprentice students.
Four years of classroom instruction along with 8,000 hours of work as an apprentice are required to become a licensed journeyman electrician in the state of Utah. An apprentice electrician starts out at $11 an hour and can make $22.50 after they become licensed by the state, Allred said.
“We give the apprentices a step increase every six months to encourage them to stick with it,” said Allred.
The demand for electricians outstrips the current production of new electricians, making the hiring of electricians difficult, Allred said. Half of Allred’s current employees are apprentices working towards certification and 75 percent of his employees are from Tooele County.
Now 65, Allred said he sees no reason to think about retiring again.
“I don’t work for money,” said Allred. “I love what I am doing. I find this work stretches my mind.”