Facing the retirement of three executives with more than a century of combined experience at the top of its leadership pyramid, San Jose-based Rosendin Electric began working on a succession plan nearly three years ago that has produced five major appointments announced by the company today.
Mike Greenawalt of Tempe, Arizona, will become CEO, and Paolo Degrassi of Anaheim will become president as of Jan. 1, 2020, taking spots previously filled by CEO Tom Sorley and President Larry Beltramo, who are both retiring. Sorley, who held the top job 21 years, and Beltramo, who has 44 years with the company, will retain their seats on the company’s board and remain in the company through 2020 as mentors for the new team.
In addition, Rosendin will now have two COOs, Matt Englert of San Jose over the West Region and Keith Douglas of Sterling, Virginia, over the East Region. Their positions grew out of a restructuring due to the retirement of Executive Vice President Jim Hawk at the end of next year. Justin Tinoco will be the new EVP.
“This is a very, very big thing for our company,” Greenawalt told the Silicon Valley Business Journal in an interview. “It was early 2017 when the retirement dates were announced. We would travel to secret locations and lock ourselves in conference rooms and hotels all over the country and spend days making the plans for this.”
According to its website, Rosendin was founded by Moses Rosendin 100 years as Rosendin Electric Motor Works with eight employees and a garage on Race Street in San Jose where it serviced an agricultural community by wiring homes, rewinding well pumps and building power lines for electric companies.
Since 1992, Rosendin, now one of the nation’s largest electrical contractors with more than $2 billion in annual revenue, has been an employee-owned company. About 1,800 of its 7,000 employees are stockholders spread over 17 offices from Hawaii to the East Coast. The company is No. 2 on SVBJ’s 2019 List of electrical contractors in Silicon Valley, ranked by the number of electricians in Silicon Valley offices.
Despite the long succession planning effort, Greenawalt said the employee ownership model made the process simpler than for publicly held companies.
“We’re not chasing a stock price,” he said. “We don’t have to please the perceptions that Wall Street has about the leadership that this gave us.”
Greenawalt said the company’s headquarters will remain in San Jose, which is still its area of highest growth.
“Even in the worst of times, the Bay Area is amazing compared to the rest of the country,” he said.
The second strongest market is around Washington, D.C., where Greenawalt says the market driver is the growing concentration of data centers in Ashburn, Virginia, the commercial market, federal work and secret work. Baltimore is a healthcare-driven market and Charlotte is commercial work, he said.
“We’re not chasing a stock price. We don’t have to please the perceptions that Wall Street has about the leadership that this gave us.”
Mike Greenawalt, CEO, Rosendin Electric
Greenawalt began in the construction industry as an apprentice electrician more than 40 years ago and joined Rosendin as a division manager in its Arizona office. Degrassi began as an apprentice electrician in 1985 and has been with Rosendin since 2006, working mostly in Southern California.
Douglas began his career in Sterling, Virginia, with the company in 2012; Englert has been with Rosendin 19 years beginning as an assistant product manager. Tinoco is another former apprentice electrician, joining Rosendin in 2001 in the last year of his apprenticeship.