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Entrepreneurship – Not out of will but of necessity


If we are anything alike, you have no problem dabbling with projects around the home such as plumbing, carpentry, landscaping, planting, tiling, or even hanging doors just to save a few extra bucks. Still, you’re totally hands-off when it comes to electrical projects.

Do you need help with wiring, ceiling fans, breakers, power problems, lighting installation, meter testing, outlets, switches, and more? VI Life&Style magazine has caught up with Ronson Barry of Barry’s Electrical Services! Whether it’s a lighting fixture installation or a huge electrical commercial project, we learned that Barry’s Electrical is well equipped to handle it.

L&S: When did you know you wanted to be an electrician?

BES: Initially, I didn’t know I wanted to be an electrician. The thought of being an electrician never once occurred to me.  It was only after exploring and working in this field that I developed a passion for the work.

L&S: What was your profession before becoming an electrician?

BES: I was employed as the display merchandiser for the Riteway Market and the beverage ordering clerk for Riteway, Pasea.

L&S: What made you interested in this particular type of work?

BES: Actually, I was never interested in this particular type of work. It was only through the persistent encouragement of Lowell Fahie, owner of Fahie’s Electrical Engineering Service Ltd., and under his tutelage, that I develop both a knack and passion for the profession.

Coincidentally, his nudgings came at the time when I had recently started my family, and I was contemplating ways in which I could advance myself in terms of a career and improve my financial security. So I pondered that learning a skill was something that I could benefit from, so I decided to give it a try with much apprehension.

So, I tendered my resignation with RTW and started working with Fahie’s Electrical Engineering Services in 1999. From the first week on the job, I was hooked. I found the work not only interesting but challenging as well. I found that it required me to be creative, innovative, and employ problem-solving skills, which I was naturally good at.  I started as an apprentice. However, I was determined to learn, and I caught on quickly.   Upon realising my potential and how quickly I was learning the technical aspects of the trade, Mr. Fahie took me under his wings and worked with me after hours and on weekends to teach me the theoretical side. Shortly after, he made me his foreman and was often left to supervise many of the jobs.

L&S: How did you get started, and how long have you been an entrepreneur?

BES: After some time on the job, Mr. Fahie encouraged me to pursue an electrical course, which I was reluctant to do at first, but he kept on encouraging me and made sure I stayed on top of things. Looking back, I believe this all was in preparation for what was to come because shortly after, he informed me of his plans to relocate to the United States. So it’s safe to say I became an entrepreneur not out of will but out of necessity. 

By the time he left, I had completed my course.  His departure from the territory forced me to try to source work to provide for my family.  In 2008 I passed the BVI Electrical License Exam and applied for a business license shortly after, and that is how Barry’s Electrical Services began. I operated out of the basement of my home for several years and initially struggled, but as I continued to get jobs and made a name for myself, the business began to grow. As I took on larger and larger projects, I decided to incorporate and establish a more permanent office in the commercial district. Presently, the business is located in Port Purcell, adjacent to Tortola Carpet in the JOMA Properties warehouse.

L&S: You must be proud of the jobs you have done, but is there any particular job you have done that you are exceptionally proud of?

BES: Yes! I am proud of every job I have done. I try to give each client the highest level of service, and I take pride that my business has thrived over the years, mainly through client recommendations. No matter the client, I endeavor to ensure the job is done the first time correctly. 

However, if I had to choose any that I am particularly proud of, it would have to be my two most recent projects, the Iris O’Neal Clinic, and Saba Rock. These two projects were really extensive and involved a lot of technical components as well as creativity and innovation. In the electrical field, you really have to be innovative and creative to deliver the results that the client is expecting and will be pleased with. Although these were multi-year projects that demanded a great deal of commitment, I think my team was able to rise to the occasion to meet, if not exceed, the clients’ expectations.

L&S: With great pride comes great challenges. Can you explain some of the challenges you have encountered as an entrepreneur? 

BES: Speaking of pride, I believe my work speaks a lot about who I am as a person. I take great pride in my work. I don’t cut corners, and I give clients value for money. When I execute a job, it is executed with pride, and it’s done to the best of my ability and the highest standard. Employees and clients know that I don’t make any exceptions to the rules; I follow the NEC codes that govern the safety of electrical works.  Having said that, some of the greatest challenges I have found as an entrepreneur are:

  • Finding and retaining employees with the same attitude and mindset towards the job
  • Sourcing employees who actually have the knowledge, training, practical and technical skills in electrical necessary to carry out the work, especially within the local labour force.
  • Additionally, sourcing some of the materials locally that the clients want, especially high-end materials.

L&S: Do you specialise in any particular area/s?

BES: Barry’s Electrical Service Ltd. is a full-service provider. Our services include electrical wiring, maintenance, and troubleshooting for residential, commercial, and industrial spaces.

In addition, we are now looking to expand into solar installations.  My son, who is an employee with the company, has recently completed the solar power course at HLSCC. So now there’s a certified NABCEP solar technician on the team, and we can advance in offering solar installation services.

L&S: What is the difference between an electrical engineer and an electrician?

BES: The simple answer is the former designs and the latter installs. The primary task of electrical engineers is to design various power systems and equipment distributing energy. Electricians are primarily responsible for installing, wiring, maintaining, and repairing electrical systems.

L&S: The construction cost in the BVI has been on a consistent rise. What tips can you offer first-time homeowners from an electrical perspective that will save them time and money?

  • Know what you want before starting the project. Before starting any project, have a sit down with your licenced electrician to discuss the drawing together. This will allow the electrician the opportunity to understand your vision for the project. Also, the electrician might be able to point out elements that may have been inadvertently left out. This way, you can get a realistic costing of this component of the project. It is best to deal with these issues before the project begins as they become much more costly once the project starts, especially when the project is well advanced. Change orders are very costly, and they slow down the progress of the project and wreak havoc on the project budget.
  • In terms of fixtures, I recommend led light fixtures and bulbs. They may cost more upfront but will save you a lot of money long term.

L&S: Do you source all your supplies locally? If so, why or why not?

BES: I source my supplies locally and internationally. Occasionally there are products that clients request that can’t be found locally. Additionally, to offer the best prices to my clients, I find it helpful and cost-effective to purchase material in bulk. Also, because of the supply chain and the logistics of getting materials into the territory, I find it is necessary to source from outside in large quantities and maintain my personal inventory level to ensure that materials are always available to meet the demands of any project. It can be very frustrating and costly to be delayed on projects because local suppliers don’t have materials in stock.

L&S: What advice do you have for young aspiring entrepreneurs?

BES: If you want to be successful at anything in life, you have to have a drive and passion to accomplish it. Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, but it is a very rewarding experience.

Stay humble, be willing to work hard, be willing to fail, and be willing to learn.

Barry’s Electrical Services Tel: 284-499-6248 or 545-6248 – Email: barryselectricalservices@gmail.com