MB Eye Electrical in Charlottetown sells and installs solar panels in homes, farms, and businesses across PEI and in Nova Scotia.
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is not working on projects, but is still available for emergency repairs.
“The success of the business comes down to my eight employees,” says Matt Eye. “With a mix of technology know-how and old-school hands-on skills, I have the best crew in the 10 years I have been in business. I also have great repeat customers, and they have built the business.”
Before the shutdown, the company had four Electricians, including Matt, and four apprentices. “It takes a good crew of people who all get along with each other,” says Matt. “You have to act as a family, all after the same goal. Right now we chat through a group facebook page to keep each other updated and to share a laugh when we can.”
When hiring, Matt looks for Electricians who have experience with residential and commercial work and who can read blueprints. “I also want to know if they have experience working independently or for somebody else. Customer service and good communicate skills are also really important to me.
A student becomes a valued employee
Matt hired Reice Newson after meeting Reice when he was a student. “A few times a year, the Holland College Energy Systems Engineering Technology class helps us do an installation,” says Matt.
“I got to know him and saw his passion for the industry. Reice has computer skills that blow me away and also shines on the hands-on skills. Unfortunately, at the time my business was not in the position to hire and train people and pay them a fair wage.
“The new efficiencyPEI program and SkillsPEI have been very helpful by allowing me to offer electrician apprentices a decent wage and training opportunities. I was able to get funding to hire Reice for 15 weeks, and then for a full year. That funding allows me time to train him while paying him at a rate that does not compromise my business.”
Reice has worked for MB Eye for a year. “Through the Energy Systems Engineering Technology program, I had an opportunity to work with Matt at a job site,” says Reice. “A year later, I had an opportunity to do another stint with Matt when I was a student in the Electromechanical Technology program. He offered me a summer position and eventually hired me full-time.”
Reice’s father is an HVAC Technician and ran his own business. “When I was young, I worked with him as much as I could. I grew up doing little construction and renovation projects, and we also collect and work on antique tractors and engines. Those experiences gave me skills and the inspiration to choose a career in the trades.
“When deciding on a career, I tried a few industries I liked, and I found the solar industry is based on newer technology and is growing like crazy.”
by Heidi Riley