Tom Wolden, has enjoyed a long career in the line contracting industry. He graduated with his B.S. in civil engineering from Ohio State University in 1975, and after, joined Columbus Southern Power Company as a Project Engineer. Wolden worked his way up through the company’s engineering ranks and moved into division budget management and communications program. Tom earned his MBA from Xavier University in 1985. He joined New River Electrical Corp. in 1992 as Executive Vice President and became company president in 2000, the chief executive job he holds today. Tom is also a registered Professional Engineer in Registered Professional Engineer in Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
New River Electrical Corporation was founded in 1953. Sherrill W. Stockton, the firm's founder, who was a chief electrician in the Navy, envisioned the opportunity for other reputable outside contractors for the major utilities. From the first contract with Ohio Power Company to build a small distribution substation, NRE has grown into a diversified and progressive company that is ESOP employee owned, with ESOP participation down to Foreman level, boasting 600-700 employees and $120 million in revenue. Ninety-five percent of the company work continues to be outside line construction, with the remaining five percent industrial.
How did you get involved with NECA? Why have you remained active in the association?
NRE executives participate on the negotiating committees of numerous local NECA/IBEW Agreements. Tom currently serves as Governor of the American Line Builders Chapter, NECA, NECA’s national Executive Committee, and Chair of NECA’s Political Leadership Council and has served on several local and national NECA committees.
“If you perceive problems in our industry, you should become active in a leadership profile to facilitate change instead of just complaining,” Tom says.
Under Tom’s leadership, ECPAC and the PLC have grown tremendously, both in terms of member support and influence on Capitol Hill. ECPAC is now the leading specialty contractor PAC and one of the top 50 PACs nationwide. EPCAC has also established an administrative fund to ensure the majority of EPCAC contributions are used directly to work with Congressional leaders.
What do you believe is the most valuable service NECA offers?
“Definitely labor relations activities, but with governmental advocacy at the national level a close second.”
What changes in the industry have you observed?
“There is increased customer focus on contractor safety performance, skilled labor shortage due to demographics, industry image and lack of customer work stability.”
What is your proudest achievement?
“Establishment of Substation Technician Classification in local labor agreements and expansion of Sub-tech Apprentice program at ALBAT.”
What are your tips for newcomers to NECA?
Use your attendance at NECA events as an opportunity to network and find out what your competitors are doing. You also might just find a few great friends.
OUT OF THE OFFICE
Tom and his wife Gayla have a grown daughter Chelcie. He enjoys deep sea fishing, golf, shooting sports, military history, and travel.