23 Aug 2014
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McWire Electric: A Businessman Who Gets a Jolt Out of Life

Andrew McGuire, who started the business in Santee in 1999, is a beach-loving family man who says he still uses his father's wisdom as a guiding light.

McWire Electric: A Businessman Who Gets a Jolt Out of Life McWire Electric: A Businessman Who Gets a Jolt Out of Life

At an early age boys and girls are taught that water and electricity are a volatile combination. Mix the two, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Yet for almost as long as he can remember, Andrew McGuire has been plugged into both. Growing up in Imperial Beach, McGuire was a water dog. He fell in love with surfing, swimming and fishing, activities that still bring a smile to his face at age 40 -- especially now that he can share those passions with his children.

At the same time, McGuire tagged along with his father, an electrician, and became fascinated by all that his father knew about currents, wiring and the power that coursed into people’s homes.

By age 8, he helped his dad wire a home. Seeing the end result – a complex, tidy design of multicolored wires throughout the structure – connected with him. To him, it’s a work of art.

“He gave me a taste of electrical work at a young age,” says McGuire. “To me I thought it was a form of art work when you actually install the wires in the wall and how you made them look and then the end result, of course, of powering an entire house.

“To me, it kind of sounds goofy, but I really think of what we do as -- if you treat it that way – as art. It looks that way and it works that way.”

Today, McGuire still gets a jolt – figuratively, of course – from his career as CEO and president of McWire Electric, Inc., a company he started in Santee in 1999, the same year  he and his wife moved to the city.

The company has grown and prospered, even during the recession, and now has 40 employees and handles commercial and residential electrical and solar projects throughout Santee, San Diego County and as far north as Orange and Riverside counties.

All the while, the former Imperial Beach water dog still bounds toward the ocean to surf and fish with his kids. How often?

“All the time,” he says, laughing.

* * *

From that first wiring project, McGuire was hooked.

After high school, he attended Southwestern College, then earned his bachelor of science in electrical engineering at the University of San Diego.

For four years he worked as an electrical engineer for a large San Diego electrical firm, handling the company’s bidding processes and then doing project management for its work on apartment complexes.

It was a great learning experience that led him to leave and start his own business.

“Over the years I developed my own spread sheet on how to bid and how to project manage big, multi-family projects,” he says. “And then I saved my money to get my own (contractor's) license and at that point I started bidding on my own and I landed a big job up in Orange County. At that point I gave them my two weeks’ notice.”

That’s when he launched McWire Electric in 1999 and moved to Santee with his wife, Valerie.

Through the years, McWire has grown steadily. Early on, he got into solar energy, which now accounts for as much as 60 percent of the company’s income. McWire installs solar systems in new residential projects, existing homes and commercial properties, while doing standard electrical work and installing gas-powered backup generators to homes and businesses, too.

The company’s work includes big projects – hotels, residential developments and businesses – to smaller-scale work for homeowners.

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