It was 1998 when the lightbulb went off for Gary Gulu. He wanted to start his own electrical contracting business.
It was a risk. Gulu only had his extensive electrical knowledge and a spare bedroom for his office manager to work in as a starting point.
However, according to human resources manager and wife Kathi Gulu, Gary also had the loyalty of his family.
“When Gary started Gulu Electric, he had two employees,” Kathi Gulu said. “They were my sister and Gary’s cousin. They helped him get started, and I eventually helped with the hiring. We were all able to help each other and learn more about the electrical business.”
Gulu’s connections to family and business began at a young age. When he was 12, his father, an electrician, would oftentimes bring him to job sites to strip wire and assist in smaller jobs.
“Many electricians get involved in the electrical field because of a family member, and Gary has the same story,” Gulu said. “He just always felt comfortable in that environment with his dad.”
Gulu Electric has grown from a young man’s vision into a trusted commercial and residential electrical company. Gulu Electric is now in a renovated building with 10 staff members in its office. Three of the staff members are family members, including Leslie Pico, receptionist and niece of Kathi Gulu.
Polly Dobich, office manager and sister-in-law to Gary, has been with Gulu Electric since the beginning. She has upgraded from working in a spare bedroom to handling daily business in an office. She attributes the company’s success to its loyalty to employees.
“It is important to have good leadership, but employees are what make a business,” said Dobich.
Overall, although time has passed since Gulu Electric’s beginning, Gulu’s commitment to family has not changed.
“What could be better than working with family?” Dobich said.
Gulu Electric is a member contractor of NECA-IBEW Electricians, an association of IBEW union locals in Warren and Youngstown, and signatory electrical contractors in the Mahoning Valley.