Fifty years after his grandfather, Walt Kuharchik, founded Kuharchik Construction in Exeter, Pennsylvania, CEO Robert Bresnahan announced his run for Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District. Kuharchik Construction became a member of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) in 1973 and established a foothold in Northeastern Pennsylvania. According to Bresnahan, his grandfather started the business that same year with a station wagon and a ladder.
Growing up in the electrical construction community, Bresnahan became the company's CFO at 19 years old. He developed his passion for the industry by utilizing NECA resources and events. “I started getting involved with my local Wilkes-Barre Chapter shortly after becoming the Chief Financial Officer,” said Bresnahan. “I jumped in while I was going to University of Scranton and started going through the accounting processes and the financial statements and seeing what we had to do.”
After becoming more involved with his local chapter and Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC), he helped to negotiate collective bargaining agreements. Eventually, Bresnahan assumed his grandfather’s role on the Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter Board of Directors. “I've always been dedicated to the electrical industry and to the services that our company provides. NECA has been instrumental with networking as we continued to grow throughout the state and eventually out of Pennsylvania in and of itself.”
However, Bresnahan’s draw to a political future wasn’t sparked until he attended the 2015 NECA Legislative Fly-In held in the nation’s capital. “I just found it incredibly fascinating and eye-opening! I don't know if people realize how important government affairs is and the actual direct correlation to the outcome of people's lives,” exclaimed Bresnahan. “The work that the NECA government affairs team actually does and how it correlates back to our business is huge. It really just gave me a spark that has never been able to be extinguished.”
Following that experience, Bresnahan took action and he pivoted his focus to local politics back home in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Bresnahan has always valued supporting and improving the northeastern region of Pennsylvania, whether it be through property redevelopment or providing employment opportunities through the family business. “Ever since taking over from CFO to CEO, we were able to grow the company from 50 employees to 150 employees and see 400% revenue growth over that period of time,” said Bresnahan. “This is an opportunity to give back to Northeastern Pennsylvania in a way that I never dreamed imaginable and obviously represent contractors because I was on the side of it.” Bresnahan believes his construction management experience and relationships with skilled workers would benefit him immensely in public office.
As a contractor, Bresnahan knows the challenges, the costs associated with the escalation of materials, the impacts of equipment and the accessibility of ready, skilled manpower. “I grew up in the trenches. I grew up doing this and seeing it on both sides of, you know, looking at it from a legislative perspective, looking at it from a practical application perspective.” The push to electrify the country and encourage green energy has Bresnahan prioritizing a proper implementation of how we build a 21st century infrastructure system. The concern of putting the ’cart before the horse’ has Bresnahan focused on advocating for the necessary infrastructure investments in the right operational order. The issue of inflation and rising costs is also a key item on Bresnahan’s political agenda. “When you're financing a project and over a period of years you see copper wiring fluxgate up to 400% and those numbers weren't allocated in your original budgeting. Then you throw the interest rates on top of it. Those inflation percentages add up to real dollars costing everyone opportunities.”
Bresnahan is looking to take his many years of business knowledge and his company’s more than 50 years of experience to Washington to help propel more efficient processes in government and cut wasteful spending. He prides himself as a fiscal conservative all the while helping to grow the economic conditions of the business and impacting communities. He hopes to beat out incumbent Matt Cartwright (D) for the congressional seat, a position he has held since 2013. When it comes down to how Bresnahan plans to differentiate himself from his opponent to win voters: infrastructure. “I think at the end of the day we've all worn the same hat together and I think people will know that I'll be a champion for this industry to the fullest extent. I hope to bring a practical, sensible approach to Washington D.C. and that's certainly something I pride myself on,” said Bresnahan.
With election day on November 5, 2024, Bresnahan has nearly a year to pitch his platform and run a serious campaign. Since his announcement to run for Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District, Bresnahan has expressed his gratitude for the support and encouragement from his NECA friends and peers.