Top ser­vice at East­ern Elec­tri­cal

Fam­ily busi­ness proud of its her­itage – 50 years on

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EAST­ERN Elec­tri­cal is a fam­ily owned busi­ness with a proud her­itage.

The own­ers and di­rec­tors, Val and Het­tie Howe have worked side-by-side for 50 years, on big and small de­vel­op­ments, spe­cialised hospi­tal projects, retic­u­la­tion and main­te­nance projects with their staff who have been with them since the 70’s and 80’s.

It is not un­usual to find Val on site in his shorts, climb­ing up lad­ders or in ceil­ings, even now in his 80th year. His love for his oc­cu­pa­tion and his metic­u­lous at­ten­tion to de­tail has earned him a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing a per­fec­tion­ist.

John Groep, who has been with the com­pany for 35 years, says of his boss: “He has mel­lowed with time. When we started out as ap­pren­tices, “Mr Howe was on our cases all the time but he made sure we learnt how to do things prop­erly”.

“Oom Val”, as he is af­fec­tion­ately known in the in­dus­try, has a long and proud legacy in East Lon­don. A man of few words and of great char­ac­ter, Val has qui­etly suc­ceeded in weath­er­ing the storms of change and East­ern Elec­tri­cal is the old­est orig­i­nal-name elec­tri­cal con­trac­tor in town.

They are also one of the orig­i­nal mem­bers of the Elec­tri­cal Con­trac­tors As­so­ci­a­tion (ECA) and have now been mem­bers for 42 years. As a hus­band and wife team, Val and Het­tie have al­ways agreed that their staff are part of the fam­ily and they have ed­u­cated and housed the fam­i­lies with whom they work. They never speak of their con­tri­bu­tions in this re­gard but any­one who knows them, knows that they are gen­er­ous and gra­cious peo­ple.

Het­tie has a soft heart and helps var­i­ous char­i­ties in­clud­ing the Shalom

It is not un­usual to find Val on site in his shorts, climb­ing up lad­ders or in ceil­ings, even now in his 80th year

Ouete­huis in Adelaide, a project she cher­ishes. Her sup­port be­hind the scenes ex­tends be­yond man­ag­ing the of­fice and it is not un­usual to find the cou­ple help­ing neigh­bours and friends over week­ends – or af­ter hours. The pass­ing of the gen­er­a­tions has been care­fully planned and their son, Brian re­lo­cated from Jo­han­nes­burg in 2006 to learn the ropes along­side his par­ents. He has qual­i­fied as an elec­tri­cian, is cur­rently study­ing to be­come a Mas­ter Elec­tri­cian and study­ing an MBA so that he can move the com­pany for­ward into a new era.

Brian also stud­ied com­puter pro­gram­ming and his knowl­edge of elec­tron­ics will no doubt in­flu­ence his leadership style. Brian has now been made di­rec­tor of the com­pany and with the sup­port of his wife Gill, East­ern Elec­tri­cal is set to achieve even greater heights in the next decade.

Pic­ture: SUP­PLIED

POWER PLAY­ERS: East­ern Elec­tri­cal staff cel­e­brate their 50th an­niver­sary this year but still take the same pride in their work as they have done over the years. The own­ers and di­rec­tors, Het­tie and Val Howe, right, have worked side-by-side through­out the 50 years

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