Fresh from graduating from Bowling Green State University in March 1992, Rob Schwind decided to plug into the business world by launching his own electric business.
Now, Schwind Electric is having its 25th anniversary as Schwind has built the business into a successful operation with four employees.
“It was rough to start any business at the time, but with a lot of hard work, I made it happen,” he recalled.
Schwind was charged up after having worked for a contractor in the city throughout college, where he received his degree in construction management through the College of Technology.
“I got my license and insurance and decided to give it a shot,” Schwind said. “It took a while, but it definitely paid off.”
He credits his success to the people of Bowling Green where he was born and raised. He quickly added that the same applies to people in the surrounding communities, noting, “There are a lot of nice people here, it is a good community.”
He said his business is fairly equally divided between residential and commercial customers. He said he and his crew usually have an interesting mix of jobs from wiring new homes to rewiring and remodeling projects as well as standard service calls when there is a problem.
“We do a little bit of everything,” he said.
Over the last quarter century, like in many fields of business, Schwind has seen great technological changes in the industry.
“There are new computers and equipment which change the way we do business. They also change the code regulations every three years, so we have to stay on top of that,” he said.
Schwind also noted the new products which can make the job easier, such as the elimination of ballasts when converting fluorescent lights to LEDs.
His work area centers on Bowling Green, but he also has customers from Toledo to Findlay and Port Clinton to Whitehouse primarily.
After proving himself over the years, much of his work now comes from referrals. While most of the work is scheduled, he will stop and attend to an emergency situation if someone is without power.
Among his major projects were the wiring for the Copper Beech townhouses development on the corner of Napoleon and Dunbridge roads, the Heinzsite apartments along North Enterprise Street and the Harbor Bay Estates development in Port Clinton.
One job took him all the way to Florida. It was for a friend, but the “customer” did pay for his time as well as gas for the trip. One of his most challenging, yet interesting jobs was the work done to convert the old Millikin Hotel downtown into graduate student studio units.
“It was really neat to see the history of the hotel. It was neat to see the history and be part of basically bringing it back to life,” Schwind said.
He toted the intercom systems which he categorized as a “tin can telephone system.”
He said there were tin tubes where people would yell down to the kitchen through the tubes for their room service.
Schwind operates out of his shop at 318 N. Grove St. After initially working out of his garage at home, he purchased the building in 1996.