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Woman-owned electrical contractor delivers on some of city's big jobs.



How many companies does it take to change 12,000 light fixtures at Lehman College Lehman College: see New York, City University of. ? Just one when that company is Egg Electric, the city's only electrical contracting firm led by a woman.

Aside from changing light bulbs, ballasts and fixtures as part of a Power Authority energy saving program, the five year old company has also lit the scoreboard at Shea Stadium Coordinates:

    [
, illuminated il·lu·mi·nate  
v. il·lu·mi·nat·ed, il·lu·mi·nat·ing, il·lu·mi·nates

v.tr.
1. To provide or brighten with light.

2. To decorate or hang with lights.

3.
 the archaeological digs at the Federal Courthouse, powered new subway signals and electrified numerous office towers and Fortune 500 companies.

No one should underestimate Egg Electric's president, Ellen Aschendorf. The spunky spunk·y  
adj. spunk·i·er, spunk·i·est Informal
Spirited; plucky.



spunki·ly adv.
 blond is making inroads inroads
Noun, pl

make inroads into to start affecting or reducing: my gambling has made great inroads into my savings

inroads npl to make inroads into [+
 into the male dominated world of electrical contracting by providing hands-on service and personal attention. "We're fair but tough," she said.

As Aschendorf puts it: "You get your foot in the door because of the Women and Minority Business Enterprise program, but my employees and myself have taken it from there. You have to prove yourself . . . and what really counts is performance."

Her company's performance has brought her numerous repeat jobs for companies like Olympia & York, Chemical Bank and Digital Equipment, not to mention invitations to sub-contract for companies like Tishman and Lehrer McGovern Bovis.

By starting with a station wagon full of coiled cable that she and vice-president Pamela Eagle lugged from job site to job site, Aschendorf has developed a thriving company that employs between 45 and 60 primarily male electricians and billed $8 million last year.

You might say, however, that Aschendorf has electricity in her blood. Her dad owns Arctic Electric, where one of her brothers now works. Aschendorf got her start there after obtaining her accounting degree at Baruch. She handled the business end, never expecting to do any field work.

But when no one else was around one day, she skillfully skill·ful  
adj.
1. Possessing or exercising skill; expert. See Synonyms at proficient.

2. Characterized by, exhibiting, or requiring skill.
 handled crises for three of her dad's biggest clients and decided she liked it. "I was there and made the decisions and just handled it, she recalled.

After spending day after day working together, however, Aschendorf soon realized she wanted her "family back" and together with Eagle, founded Future Memory Communications, an electrical company dedicated to communications wiring for the mushrooming fiber optic industry.

Within two years she changed the name to Egg Electric in order to enhance her reputation as a full service electrical contractor. The Egg stands for new beginnings, as well as how they care for clients and their jobs.

To save money for clients, Aschendorf says Egg does value engineering, basically by re-designing where it would be beneficial for the client. For one six -- story health care facility in Brooklyn, they realized the owner could save a lot of money - and told him so - by going with a standard conduit and wire system rather than the design called for in the drawings.

She also has only one small warehouse and a room in her office dedicated to often-used parts. With good planning, she says, materials are sent directly to the job sites by the manufacturers. "A client comes here, they see a working environment," she said of her office. "No one is too proud not to do anything. We all pitch in and we all wear many hats.

Aschendorf says she finds it very exciting to be involved with the big projects in the city and has worked with Forest City Ratner at 11 MetroTech Center; the Foley Square Foley Square is a green space formed by the intersection of Duane Street, Lafayette Street, Centre Street and Pearl Street, and — by extension — the surrounding area in lower Manhattan on the site of the historic Five Points neighborhood and named after a prominent  Courthouse; on the terminal stations for the people mover people mover
n.
A means of mass transit, such as a moving sidewalk or a monorail, used to transport people, usually along a fixed route.


people mover
Noun

Brit, Austral & NZ same as
 at Newark Airport; and at a number of hospitals.

Sometimes Egg is a prime contractor and sometimes a sub. She considers her estimators critical to obtaining the job. "The wonderful thing about having an organization is that we discuss it and see where we can do value engineering and what personnel we have available," she said. "That is the backbone of our business and we take it very seriously to come up with the best number."

Aschendorf is very grateful for the Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE MWBE Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise
MWBE Maximum Welch-Bound-Equality
) programs, but concerned the new mayor will undermine its effects. "If Giuliani takes a big stand against it, I'm afraid of what effects it would have on everyone else in the city who's been making such wonderful efforts to make this occur.

The programs have "really gotten our foot into a lot of doors," she admitted. "It would have taken me ten years to get where I am today as far as recognition in the construction community. The programs for me work. They do what they were set out to do."

For instance, she said, ten years ago a job like the nearly 1 million foot Foley Square office building and courthouse would have been given to one contractor. "That would have been the end of the story and no one of my size or even larger would have had anything to do with it," Aschendorf noted.

Instead, the government is breaking up these jobs. At the Foley Square office building, Egg literally got in on the underground floor, providing the electrical services Electrical service, in building wiring, refers to the wiring that connects the electric utility's cables in the street to the building. Specifically, electrical service is the wiring from the street, through the meter and up to the panelboard, but no farther.  on that level. Last winter, they brought in the temporary lights and power for the archaeologists Archaeology is a discipline that was virtually unknown until the 19th century. Archaeology, originally an amateur pastime, is becoming increasingly popular, and it is now possible for archaeologists to become minor celebrities as a result of media exposure.  working on the old Negro burial ground Burial Ground
Aceldama

potter’s field; burial place for strangers. [N. T.: Matthew 27:6–10, Acts 1:18–19]

Alloway graveyard

where Tam O’Shanter saw witches dancing among opened coffins. [Br. Lit.
. As a result of their experience with Tishman Construction at that job, Egg was awarded the contract for the U.S. Attorney's Office seven-floor 175,000 square foot fit out. Contrary to what one might expect from publicity about the MWBE program in which contracts are allowed to be given to women and minorities even if the bid is 10 percent higher than the lowest bidder, Aschendorf says no project she is aware of has been given that break.

"We have not gotten any work because of the ten percent differential," she added." All these wonderful firms decided to work with the city's goals and have more minority and women's firms involved. None of us got a 10 percent advantage. It was just a way of encouraging us and breaking up the projects small enough for us to be working on."

She obtained the Shea Stadium contract by simply bidding it. "I got it because I was low bid, plain and simple . . . end of story. It had nothing to do with the 10 percent bid. I made it by the skin of my teeth."

This feisty lady also doesn't believe, as she puts it, "have to play the all-female marching band Noun 1. marching band - a band that marches (as in a parade) and plays music at the same time
band - instrumentalists not including string players
 song." While her first employees were female and are the "heart" of the company, in the past year she has hired a couple of male project managers because they were the most qualified for the position. "We don't discriminate, " she noted. Recently, Aschendorf, together with the Joint Employment Office that sends electricians to all the jobs in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
, found a woman apprentice to take into her nest and train. "I thought it would be interesting to get a woman her first day," she explained. "To initiate her with an open mind. If I didn't take the extra effort, who would?"

As part of the new signal program that the MTA (1) (Message Transfer Agent or Mail Transfer Agent) The store and forward part of a messaging system. See messaging system.

(2) See M Technology Association.

1. (messaging) MTA - Message Transfer Agent.
 is developing since the fatal 14th Street subway accident, Aschendorf's company is handling the powering of the signals.

"We pray a lot and take precautions precautions Infectious disease The constellation of activities intended to minimize exposure to an infectious agent; precautions imply that the isolation of an infected Pt is optional, but not mandatory. , she said of the subway environment. For the Jamaica line Jamaica Line refers to the following transit lines:
  • BMT Jamaica Line (rapid transit)
  • Jamaica Avenue Line (surface) (bus, formerly streetcar)
, Egg designed a special vandal proof cabinet. "We were afraid of them stealing the copper before it was livened," she explained, since there is a period of time when the wire is installed but not yet powered with its deadly high voltage The term high voltage characterizes electrical circuits, in which the voltage used is the cause of particular safety concerns and insulation requirements. High voltage is used in electrical power distribution, in cathode ray tubes, to generate X-rays and particle beams, to . "We put on extra guards and locks on the equipment and we work with Con Edison to get it powered up as quickly as possible because it is a concern."

Robert Shasha, her husband of a year, is president of the Cotswold Group and is an owner/manager of strip malls strip mall
n.
A shopping complex containing a row of various stores, businesses, and restaurants that usually open onto a common parking lot.

Noun 1.
. "We both deal with owners and tenants but we're just in different aspects of it," she noted. "We have a lot of common ground but enough space." When they were dating, and even now, it is not uncommon for the Aschendorfs to drop by a job site on their way to a black tie or other event.

"That's why I like construction," she said. "It's so tangible. I can walk outside with anyone and say, 'I worked in this building.' You can see the space, you can see the results. Even though I'm just the electrical portion, I feel that we were involved in it. Egg Electric produces and contributes. "
COPYRIGHT 1993 Hagedorn Publication
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Egg Electric
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Dec 15, 1993
Words:1402
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