Cache Valley Electric Co.'s first major commercial project was the chemistry building at what is now Utah State University in Logan. That was in 1916.
Today, the company has grown to be one of the largest electrical contractors in the West, and it's still working with the university.
Long-term relationships are important to the Logan-based, family-owned firm, which has found success in using the latest in technology and also building and maintaining client ties the old-fashioned way.
Because of its longevity, consistent service and steady leadership through the recent recession, ENR Mountain States has chosen Cache Valley Electric as the Intermountain Specialty Contractor of the Year for 2011.
"The most important lesson I learned from my dad was integrity and honesty, making sure the things you do are the right things," says Jim Laub, CVE president and CEO and a graduate of Utah State. "What's most important is to treat the owner fairly, and vice versa. Both sides need to come out winners."
The chief executive's father, the late John H. "Jack" Laub, was CEO for more than 20 years before passing leadership to his son in the 1980s.
Jim Laub's grandfather, Henry F. Laub, started CVE in 1915—just two years after the electric refrigerator was invented—in northern Utah's Cache Valley, selling electric appliances as well as fixing electrical problems for local businesses and homeowners.
The company's commercial work picked up during World War II, when it installed electrical infrastructure for shell-loading plants, hospitals and military buildings. In the 1950s, the company stopped selling appliances and doing residential work to focus on commercial jobs.
"I was raised in the Cache Valley, where Logan is, so I'm familiar with Cache Valley Electric on a personal level," says Alan Rindlisbacher, director of corporate marketing for Layton Construction, Sandy, Utah. "The company has a reputation for integrity and longevity."
Layton Construction and CVE have worked together for several years. One of their most recent projects is the 208,000-sq-ft Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. It is one of the state's most sophisticated high-tech buildings, with a nanofabrication facility, microscopy suite and imaging area.
The project, which is part of the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative, is slated for completion in late 2011 or early 2012 and will seek LEED-Gold certification.
From its humble beginnings, CVE now employs 1,000 people at Utah offices in Logan and Salt Lake City as well as locations in Portland, Ore., and Blytheville, Ark. The company just opened a Dallas office.