EASTERN Electrical is a family owned business with a proud heritage.
The owners and directors, Val and Hettie Howe have worked side-by-side for 50 years, on big and small developments, specialised hospital projects, reticulation and maintenance projects with their staff who have been with them since the 70’s and 80’s.
It is not unusual to find Val on site in his shorts, climbing up ladders or in ceilings, even now in his 80th year. His love for his occupation and his meticulous attention to detail has earned him a reputation for being a perfectionist.
John Groep, who has been with the company for 35 years, says of his boss: “He has mellowed with time. When we started out as apprentices, “Mr Howe was on our cases all the time but he made sure we learnt how to do things properly”.
“Oom Val”, as he is affectionately known in the industry, has a long and proud legacy in East London. A man of few words and of great character, Val has quietly succeeded in weathering the storms of change and Eastern Electrical is the oldest original-name electrical contractor in town.
They are also one of the original members of the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) and have now been members for 42 years. As a husband and wife team, Val and Hettie have always agreed that their staff are part of the family and they have educated and housed the families with whom they work. They never speak of their contributions in this regard but anyone who knows them, knows that they are generous and gracious people.
It is not unusual to find Val on site in his shorts, climbing up ladders or in ceilings, even now in his 80th year
Hettie has a soft heart and helps various charities including the Shalom Ouetehuis in Adelaide, a project she cherishes. Her support behind the scenes extends beyond managing the office and it is not unusual to find the couple helping neighbours and friends over weekends – or after hours. The passing of the generations has been carefully planned and their son, Brian relocated from Johannesburg in 2006 to learn the ropes alongside his parents. He has qualified as an electrician, is currently studying to become a Master Electrician and studying an MBA so that he can move the company forward into a new era.
Brian also studied computer programming and his knowledge of electronics will no doubt influence his leadership style. Brian has now been made director of the company and with the support of his wife Gill, Eastern Electrical is set to achieve even greater heights in the next decade.