When Disaster Strikes, Call These Guys

From their headquarters on Seeley Road just north of the village of Kalkaska, C.C. Power Electrical Contracting dispatched 100 men, bucket trucks and other equipment to Florida in early September.

They were there to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms to ever make landfall in Florida. They worked for 25 days to restore power to four million powerless Floridians, mostly in the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale areas.

“We were working on all types of restoration work: broken poles, spans down, all sorts of things,” said Josh Godden, president of C.C. Power, which specializes in constructing, maintaining and repairing overhead and underground power lines for public and private utilities. “We were a small component of the whole effort down there where over 20,000 workers were involved.”

C.C. Power was founded in 2001 by owner Chris Copeland. His sons Chad and Craig serve as vice presidents and have extensive backgrounds in the power industry. Godden, who graduated from Elk Rapids High School, ran his own concrete company before bringing his business expertise to C.C. Power a decade ago. The company has about 100 field employees and 20 administrative and maintenance staff.

“About 75 percent of our people have been with us for more than 10 years,” said Godden. “We take really good care of our people. They’re the heartbeat of our company.”

It takes a lot of equipment and capital investment to keep C.C. Power on the road serving customers: 500 pieces of equipment, which includes more than 300 vehicles.

Fleet Manager Daryl Walton, who has been with the company since the beginning in 2001, oversees the trucks. Last year the company spent more than $1 million on the fleet, including about 30 new trucks – both pickups and bucket trucks. A fully equipped, but used, bucket truck can carry a price tag of $100,000 to $200,000.

“In the past year, we made it a big priority to invest in the company,” said Godden.

In addition to the fleet upgrades, C.C. Power opened a new headquarters building on their Beebe Road property. DLH Builders of Elk Rapids put up the new office.

By aggressively seeking work, the company has seen rapid growth recently, almost doubling over the past five years. But Godden expects that to level off.

“We’ll see steady growth in the five to 10 percent range for the next five years,” he said.

In a business that involves high-voltage power lines, safety can’t be overemphasized. C.C. Power has an ongoing program that helps control hazards and risks which minimizes injuries, damage to a customer’s property and damage to its property and equipment. Their full-time safety team helps implement a safety and health program and ensures that job sites are safe, healthy and accident-free. The team is certified to teach CPR, first aid, hurt man rescue, bucket and pole top rescue and aerial lift training.

In addition to restoring power during this year’s hurricane season, C.C. Power crews were also called into action during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“For Katrina, we were down in Louisiana and Alabama and for Sandy we were in Long Island for a month,” said Godden.

When not working in the aftermath of a disaster, the company’s crews keep busy handling maintenance projects for a number of clients, including Traverse City Light & Power, Consumers Energy and Cherryland Electric Cooperative. Their trucks and crews are currently tackling projects on the east side of the Lower Peninsula, Petoskey and Traverse City.

But there’s very little down time and a lot of unpredictability in the work at C.C. Power.

“Mother Nature is a big driver in what we do,” said Godden.

Gratitude a ‘Rewarding’ Part of Disaster Recovery

The printer in Josh Godden’s office whirs and spits out another email.

“I just want to thank you for helping to restore my power after Hurricane Irma,” writes Kimberly from Florida. “Thank you isn’t enough. Those guys rolling down our street in bucket trucks, they were our heroes. I saw ‘MI’ on the door of the truck and my face fell into my hands. I was moved to tears by the workers who came from all over to help save us Floridians from the deadly heat … a kind gentleman insisted our power would be on within one hour, and he didn’t let us down. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.”

“We get these every day,” said Josh Godden, president of C.C. Power. “People get emotional. We’ve had the privilege of restoring power to millions of people throughout the United States when natural disasters strike.”

Godden makes a point to read those thank you letters to his crews at company meetings.

“Hands down this is the most rewarding part of our job,” he said. “And our guys really take it to heart.”