ELECTRI International’s Legacy for Excellence initiative is honored to recognize a planned gift commitment from NECA member Thomas Kyle and his wife, Jean Kyle. At a recent meeting of the ELECTRI Council, we spoke with Tom to learn more about his work in the EC industry and what ELECTRI means to him and Jean.
ELECTRI: Everyone involved with the Foundation has an interesting history about how and why they became involved with electrical construction. Tell us about your path.
TOM KYLE: The story really starts with my dad. When he returned from serving in World War II, he worked for a local contractor, became licensed in Oregon, and then bought into the business in 1967. The business was a member of NECA’s Oregon Columbia Chapter.
I began as an electrical apprentice in 1965. I worked on a large Paper Mill Project out of Astoria, Oregon. After working with my dad and taking other job opportunities, I started “Kyle Electric, Inc.” in 1979.
ELECTRI: You knew about NECA from your dad. When did you become involved yourself?
After processing all the paper work it takes to form a company, the first thing I did was to join NECA’s Oregon Pacific Cascade Chapter. I’ve served as our chapter’s Board Member, Treasure, Vice President and President. I’ve been a licensed electrician for 55 years and I ran my own business for 40 years, licensed in both Oregon and California. I employed between 20 and 60 wiremen. We weathered several recessions and experienced a gradual change from an industrial-based economy to commercial.
ELECTRI: Tell us about one highlight in your career that you especially care about.
I was extremely pleased to be accepted into the Academy of Electric Contractors. I would not have done anything different in my relationships or activities concerning my professional career as an electrical contractor. The award is a cherished gift that I truly appreciate.
ELECTRI: Is your company still operating today?
Recently, I sold my business, along with the name, to one of my employees. Both he and his father worked in the business. The new owners, husband and wife, are active in NECA serving as a Board Member, on Apprenticeship and Negotiations. I still have two family members who are licensed and active in the industry.
ELECTRI: What about you and ELECTRI going forward?
I just recently retired from active participation in contracting but not from involvement in NECA and with ELECTRI. I still serve our Chapter as Chair of the Cascade Pension Board, Vice Chair of the Oregon State Electrical Board, Vice Chair of the Oregon State Energy Board and Chapter Representative to the ELECTRI Council.
ELECTRI: The Legacy for Excellence is an important part of ELECTRI International’s resource development initiative. What made you and Jean decide to include the Foundation in your estate plan?
The commitment Jean and I have made through this planned gift is just our small contribution to the industry that has provided financial security, professional acceptance, and respect from my peers. I am grateful for the industry that also gave my father, brother and nephew a rewarding and financially-secure career.
My loyalty to electrical contracting runs very deep. I know ELECTRI International is here to help protect the future of our EC industry with its very valuable research and education agenda. I am proud to be part of its effort.