Kyle Gross, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute grad, has taken over the daily operations of Gross Electric after his father Joe Gross spent 30 years growing the company into the largest electrical contractor in the region.
Kyle Gross, formerly a project manager at Gross Electric, was promoted to vice president in this month. Gross Electric is completing a $3-million expansion of its 12.5-acre Queensbury complex. The investment allows the company to take more manufacturing jobs in-house and produce parts for large-scale construction projects such as computer chip plants and pharmaceutical plants across the United States.
Gross Electric's president and founder Joe Gross said, "There are a number of big jobs across the country that promise a great deal of potential. However, many companies are still waiting for the government write checks." When the checks start flying the country will change to a faster pace. You better be prepared to ride your horse, or you'll get kicked off. We will be prepared."
Gross was referring funding that will be available as part of a $52 billion federal initiative aimed at encouraging companies to build more factories and to produce more computer chip on American soil.
The expansion of his company added 4.5 acres of space and 35,000 square foot of prefabrication and manufacturing to its headquarters at 27 Silver Circle, just west of Exit 18, of the Interstate 87 Northway. If needed, the company will seek approvals for a $5 million plus, 50,000 square foot warehouse and manufacturing expansion.
Gross Electric began prefabricating large parts for construction projects several years ago, including the $3 billion Micron Technology Factory in Manassas Virginia. Kyle Gross worked for two years on this project. Around 75% of the electrical components installed at Micron were prefabricated in Queensbury, assembled and then shipped to Virginia. This reduced the time required for electrical construction on site by one third.
Joe Gross stated that the economic benefit of increasing our prefabrication was that it could be done faster and more efficiently in a safer controlled environment. "For each hour we spend prefabricating, we save two hours on the job."
Gross Electric's move to expand its in-house manufacturing has attracted the attention of large national companies. They will be sending representatives in the coming weeks to inspect the new Gross facilities. Joe Gross, the CEO of those companies, said that the expansion could be a way to reduce costs and manage the schedule for the construction two large factories.
Gross Electric has signed non-disclosure contracts and cannot discuss the details of potential projects.
Joe Gross stated that "the fact that people fly out to visit us does not mean we have the work. But it is a positive sign."
Gross Electric decided to expand into prefabrication, manufacturing and other areas seven years after it ascended to the top ranks of electrical contractors in the region. The company has grown largely by winning large construction jobs, including electrical work for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals packaging facility in East Greenbush; Wolfspeed's Semiconductor plant near Utica; Micron's Virginia Project and several jobs at GlobalFoundries' chip complex in Malta.
Gross has also grown by acquiring T&J Electrical Associates, a commercial construction division, late last year. In 2021 it will purchase Zones Nfrastructure Technologies in Halfmoon to run its cabling and wiring businesses.
Kyle Gross stated that Gross Electric's strategy to differentiate itself from its competitors is the push towards more manufacturing.
He said that only a few companies on the East Coast are able to do this at a large-scale.
He received his engineering license just a few weeks before he was promoted to vice president.
Joe Gross stated, "That shows his dedication." He has earned his position as vice president based on merit, not by name. "I feel like I'm setting up this company and its employees for another 30 years growth."
Joe Gross will spend more time building relationships with large general contractors and national companies in the United States. While Kyle Gross (26), takes on the daily management, Joe Gross (58) will be focusing his attentions more on the company strategy. Joe Gross does not plan to retire until another four years.
Gross Electric is also expected to become a major supplier for other electrical contractors in the United States as a result of its expansion into prefabrication.
Joe Gross stated, "We won't likely be feeding any local competitors." It's not our intention to compete with ourselves. If there are vendors from outside the area that see the benefits, this will generate some revenue. It will also allow us to create jobs in New York.
Gross's strategy is in line with that of FPI Mechanical Inc., Cohoes' largest mechanical contractor. Both companies have collaborated on large projects.
Both firms have increased their in-house manufacturing of parts to reduce the work that their employees must perform on construction sites.
Joe Gross stated that as the company grows, it will be possible to mount every panel leaving Queensbury on a support that can be hung up and secured in two hours.
He believes that the strategy will help his company in upstate New York compete with companies located in other parts of the United States where doing business costs are lower.
Joe Gross stated, "We would like to leave the Gross name as a legacy that we bring more jobs to this area." If it's not through Gross Electric, then it will be from land acquisitions or the businesses we work with.