O’Connell Electric Company is pleased to announce that Thomas W. Parkes, a well-respected and accomplished leader with more than 48 years’ experience in the electrical construction industry, has assumed the role of chief executive officer. Following the company’s succession plan, Parkes succeeds former CEO Victor E. Salerno upon his retirement after nearly half a century serving the nationally ranked electrical services provider.
As a fourth-generation IBEW electrician, Parkes brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new role. He worked his way up through the ranks of the company, beginning as an electrician’s apprentice, advancing to journeyman electrician, foreman, general foreman and project manager before joining the executive leadership team as president and chief operating officer.
Upon taking the helm of the company that Salerno and Parkes’s father, Walter T. Parkes, worked hard to build over the past 54 years, Parkes is eager to put his mark on the business as the company’s third CEO, shepherding plans for continued, sustainable growth. As CEO, he will ensure O’Connell Electric remains fiscally responsible, makes wise investments to keep the company in a strong market position, remains competitive, invests in capital improvements and cultivates an environment that continues to recruit, train and retain top talent.
“I’m tremendously honored to have been entrusted with the role of CEO of O’Connell Electric, a company that has been deeply ingrained in my life since I was 12 years old,” Parkes said. “While I’m looking forward to the opportunity to chart a new and prosperous path for our team of more than 1,000 dedicated and hardworking professionals, I fully intend to honor the long-standing legacy and achievements that my father, Walt, and predecessor, Vic Salerno, instituted to cement O’Connell Electric’s status as an industry leader in safety, workforce training and customer satisfaction.”
After completing his term as CEO at the end of April, Salerno transitioned into a new role as a member on the board of directors, where he will continue to support customer relations and help secure new business when necessary. In addition to spending more well-deserved time with his family, he’ll continue to support several local community organizations, some at the board level, and will maintain his responsibilities for representing O’Connell Electric in the industry nationally through associations.
“I’m grateful to Vic for his guidance and tutelage over the years as he’s shown me the ropes and helped me realize the global success of the company,” Parkes said. “His contributions have been invaluable, and he’s left me with an incredible blueprint to drive the business forward into a new era of continued success.”
Parkes will oversee and lead the company in executing strategic initiatives, general corporate decision-making, growth of divisions, management of financial decisions and responsibility for the well-being of the company’s workforce. Among his list of critical short- and long-term priorities is to build on O’Connell Electric’s success in recruiting and training top talent by establishing more strategic and creative recruiting programs to attract employees to the firm.
Michael Parkes, Tom’s son and fifth-generation electrical construction professional, has been named by O’Connell Electric’s board of directors as the new chief operating officer, as which he will oversee day-to-day operations, including estimating, planning and scheduling for each division of the company. Before assuming the role of COO, he served as a senior electrical engineer and general manager in the field for several years before becoming vice president of the Power Group, where he fostered significant year-over-year revenue growth.
Alongside Tom Parkes, O’Connell Electric’s leadership team and divisional vice presidents will continue finding ways to differentiate the company from its competitors, with an eye on the latest technological and safety advancements in the field to better serve its customers, including growing and nurturing new and existing relationships that affirm its reputation both locally and regionally. They’ll leverage their expertise to tackle projects that address notable and growing industry trends in renewable energy, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, live-line bare hand service, vegetation management, building and modernizing substations to meet evolving energy needs as well as upgrading transmission and distribution systems for greater broadband access.
O’Connell Electric’s commitment to the communities it serves will not waver throughout this transitional period and will remain a key priority among the leadership team. Since the 1980s, O’Connell Electric has made significant contributions to various charitable organizations, including the establishment of the Mary M. Parkes Center for Asthma, Allergy and Pulmonary Care, and the Parkes Family Foundation, which provides supplemental aid to charitable organizations throughout the communities where O’Connell Electric employees live and work.
Susan Parkes-McNally, a founding family member and board member of the Mary M. Parkes Center and the Parkes Family Foundation, has led O’Connell’s philanthropic initiatives for the past five decades. She also manages HR service provisions, policies and programs, and supports corporate strategic initiatives and events. O’Connell Electric will continue to give back where needs are greatest, encouraging volunteerism and philanthropic support to a variety of community-based and industry-level organizations and institutions.
Headquartered in Victor, New York, O’Connell Electric also has offices across the state in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, as well as an office in Pennsylvania with plans for continued expansion though the establishment of new operations and partnerships across the mid-Atlantic region.