Q&A with Sandee Ebbott, President
Seacom is owned by the president and founder, Sandee Ebbott. Seacom was founded in 2010 in White Bear Lake, Minnesota as a low voltage and technology contractor.
We specialize in the installation of structured voice and data cabling, electrical cabling and fiber optics throughout the United States and Canada. We also install and support the installation of IT and wireless networks, Security, Fire and Burglar Alarm Systems, DAS Systems, Audio Visual, Sound Masking and Telephony Communications.
In 2013 the WBENC certified Seacom as a WBE and WOSB Company. In 2014 we were certified as a DBE, TGB and Cert Company.
WHAT MAKES YOU STAND OUT FROM COMPETITORS?
Seacom is one of the few women owned low voltage and electrical installers that work throughout the entire U.S. and Canada.
We have a national resource of over 4000 companies that are partnered with Seacom. We use only industry experts that are highly trained and licensed to perform our onsite labor.
Our dedicated project managers and support staff work with our clients to overcome challenges, manage timelines, resolve issues, work with our vendors to control budgets and continually keep our clients updated and informed.
Seacom project managers are highly motivated, fast-paced, and result-oriented. They are deeply committed to completing every project efficiently and effectively and bring quality and value to every project, large or small.
Standing out starts with building a relationship with your customers. When you focus on establishing emotional/working relationships with every customer you differentiate yourself from competitors who are focused on trying to retain one-time shoppers.
WHAT COMPANY SUCCESSES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE?
I have two successes that I would like to share. The first being one of my national clients Bankers Life and Casualty – a Conseco Company. Bankers Life has been a client of mine for 20 years, since 2002. They have roughly 600 nationwide offices, and we install their low voltage infrastructure, IT, wireless networks, and telephony networks.
Bankers Life was a client of mine when I was the president of another low voltage company in Minnesota. They transitioned over to Seacom, because of my dedication and the quality of work that we complete, allowing us to grow as a company.
Our latest success has been the signing of Amazon and Johnson Controls nationally. Our work with Amazon is to complete both electrical and low voltage infrastructure to many of their locations, along with a national rollout of low voltage upgrades. We also install Security Systems, Access Control and Fire Alarm systems for Johnson Controls for many of their national clients.
WHAT ONGOING COMPANY CHALLENGES/ BARRIERS ARE YOU FACING?
I think our largest barrier is in Minnesota, our local market. Most of the companies that we would be providing service to do not like that we do not have our own technicians, and that we subcontract our onsite labor.
I do appreciate their concerns, however if they knew how many successful jobs, large and small, that we run in a month or year, they would not have these concerns. On a daily basis we are managing subcontractors throughout the US, while working with the GC’s and various trades, ordering and tracking materials, all while we maintain the construction schedules.
IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO A NEW MWBE FIRM, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Success is a very comprehensive and dedicated everyday work, rather than luck. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you should not be afraid to make a move or change (otherwise your business will get stuck at the same point) Take responsibility for your actions, work hard to gain the respect of your team, and prioritize and delegate.
Never miss timelines. Never burn a bridge with one of your subcontractors and always pay your technician invoices on time. Remember that your database of subcontractors is your livelihood.
WHAT RECOMMENDATIONS WOULD YOU GIVE GENERAL CONTRACTORS AND OWNERS?
Get to know the local vendors. Do not just include them on bid invitations. Call the vendors and talk to them about any upcoming projects and why you would like them to bid on a project. Try not to send your participation work to the large companies and ask them to get WBE/MBE participation, because a lot of times they do not take it out to bid, they go to the same WBE/MBE companies that they always use.
WHAT IS SOMETHING ENCOURAGING YOU SEE HAPPENING IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY?
I feel that construction companies have recently created a culture of adaptability and opened the lines of communication for vendors to present their obstacles and solutions.
Many vendors are struggling with material and labor shortages which affect timelines. Instead of hunkering down and waiting for change, construction companies have carried on as usual and have become more flexible.
WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU LIKE US TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR COMPANY?
We work every day to provide our clients with the highest quality of work at competitive prices. We are able to offer competitive prices because our subcontractors offer Seacom pricing well below contractor rates, and we have low overhead.
We have two offices. One in White Bear Lake, Minnesota and the other in Denver, Colorado.