AC Electrics celebrates 50 years as a member of SELECT

AC Electrics has celebrated a unique milestone as it chalks up its 50th year as a member of the trade association, SELECT.

Over the last half-century, AC Electrics has grown from humble beginnings in Cleland, Lanarkshire, to become a pioneer of green technology that’s also been hand-picked to work for the government in sub-zero temperatures in challenging foreign climes. Founder Benny Smith says a key part of the firm’s progress has been the support it has received from SELECT, which it joined way back on 12 February 1974 when it was still the Electrical Contractors Association of Scotland.

Speaking in the latest issue of the association’s cabletalk magazine, Benny revealed that he joined the association when he started on his own after leaving a safe job, simultaneously buying his first house and helping his wife Rosemary raise two small children.

He says, “I felt I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I spoke to a house builder who convinced me that I should start up on my own. To give me a helping hand, he offered me a contract to carry out the electrical works on a new housing development he had underway.”

This led to more and more contracts, particularly with local authorities and public bodies in Central Scotland, which continue to this day.

Benny says, “For example, in 1979, we were called in to wire a 30A socket in the telephone room of NHS Lanarkshire’s Hartwood Hospital and we are still working for the trust 45 years later.”

Benny soon became a regular at his local Lanarkshire branch of SELECT, where he enjoyed meeting up with fellow electricians and keeping abreast of developments in the industry.

After three decades in the hot seat, growing changes in technology influenced Benny’s decision to hand over the reins to sons Paul and Kevin in 2004. He says, “We could never really transition from faxes to emails, and that’s what our customers wanted, so we thought it was time for the next generation to take over.”

Under the brothers’ stewardship, AC Electrics was one of the first companies in Scotland to become involved with electric vehicle charging through its relationship with BMW-Schneider Electric in 2013.

The company was also called upon by the UK Government to undertake a special foreign assignment to upgrade the visa section in the British Embassy in Moscow in 2009.

After installing retractable car bollards at Holyrood, Edinburgh, Paul and his crew were recommended for the unusual project, which saw the installation of weather shelters, thermal heaters, body scanning and X-ray equipment to the entrance compound.

Alan Wilson, Managing Director of SELECT, says, “We are very happy as an organisation to have supported such an important local firm over a remarkable 50 years of growth which we are pleased to see is continuing.”

To read more on SELECT, click here.

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