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Graham Trafford PhotoGraham Trafford is the General Manager of Mott Electric. Mott is one of the oldest and largest electrical contracting companies in the Lower Mainland of BC. Graham has been with Mott for the last 30 years and in a leadership role for the last 12. We spoke to him about his career journey and what the next generation should know about becoming a leader in the industry.

Mott Electric LogoGraham Trafford, General Manager
Mott Electric

Tell us about your career journey.

I knew at an early age that I wanted to work in the trades. Even in the junior stages of my career, I aspired to become a leader. I was fortunate enough to have joined an industry leader that has given me the opportunity to progress and build on my success. I’ve never second guessed my path, there have been speed bumps along the way, but persistence can overcome any issue.

I faced difficulty initially breaking into the trade. At the time, it was difficult to get in, especially with the union. To get my foot in the door, I moved to Alberta for two years to start my apprenticeship. With that experience under my belt, I was able to come back to BC and dig into the electrical industry.

I see great benefit in getting diverse experience throughout your career. I have been lucky to work in a company that has given me a wide diversity of opportunity. Mott’s projects range from schools, hospitals, high-rise residential and multi-use buildings, to hi-tech facilities, tunnels and bridges. I think it’s incredibly valuable to expose yourself to new experiences and learn from them.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I like working with people. Our company is a very close, family-oriented environment. We treat our employees’ families like our own and help out in any way we can. I like playing a part in determining our company culture and creating a cohesive team.

In your opinion, how important is networking?

Get to know people in the industry. We’re heavily involved with construction associations in BC, especially the Electrical Contractors Association. Networking helps build stronger relationships with business partners.

What advice would you give to the next generation of professionals aspiring to become a construction leader?

Never stop learning; don’t limit your learning to courses and training, but make an effort to learn from people you work with. Technically, develop a solid understanding of the construction process and learn as many sides of the business as you can.

As a leader, you’re responsible for keeping up with industry trends. The industry is so dependent on technology, for example BIM, on-screen take-offs and AutoCad. You must be aware of upcoming technologies and how they can benefit the business.

Finally, you need to understand that the majority of your job is managing people; train yourself to become the best manager possible. Continually improve on your communication skills; they are critical to your success. You need confidence, patience and flexibility as a manager.