Wycliffe Division Surges
Maryland-based Power Comm embraces core values to make a difference
CEO Barbara Wycliffe built Wycliffe Enterprises as a general contracting firm with a goal to be the best a small business could be. Once Wycliffe Enterprises became successful, Barbara, as a graduate of the Small Business Administration 8(a) program, was ready for the next step: expansion. And Power Comm was her brainchild.
The Power Comm division of Wycliffe Enterprises provides sustainable power integration systems services to governmental and commercial institutions, health care facilities, mission critical infrastructure, and secure rooms known as Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities. The company is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and green technology and processes help guide the company’s methodology.
Why Power Comm?
Barbara created Power Comm, based in Lanham, Maryland, to serve the federal and commercial markets by providing single-source solutions for systems integration. She wanted to be a leader in setting examples for other USGBC members, not relying on special treatment as a U.S. Small Business Administration-certified economically disadvantaged, women-owned small business (EDWOSB). Rather, she set her sights on jobs at critical facilities and other national and multinational agencies.
Controlling even the smallest of details helps to enhance green building solutions. From using energy-efficient, environmentally friendly products and processes, to employing companies who collect debris and handle recycling products appropriately, Power Comm makes it all happen. The plan to provide these types of services for as many jobs as she could is an approach that has been part of Barbara’s business model since the inception of Power Comm.
As a major player in systems integration, Power Comm helps clients to integrate electrical systems, structured cabling, premise/outside plant, passive optical networks, wireless communications, alarm monitoring, video surveillance, access control, intrusion detection, audio-visual and distributed antenna systems. “Utilizing green technology and processes is always a primary concern,” Barbara says.
Vice President Brandon Alexander explains, “We like that we can begin with the initial phase of project design and plan advanced solutions and systems that mitigate rapid obsolescence. Our many years of experience ensure that each project is specified in such a way that there are no gaps in the scope, and that means issues and potential problems can be discovered before the project begins. It’s our core values that drive us to do everything possible for our clients.”
Core Values Save the Day
When Brandon speaks of the Power Comm leadership’s core values—whether it’s diversity, honesty, ethics, safety or well-being—or the leadership’s commitment to providing clients and employees with the highest quality of work and atmosphere, he has an example of how those values come into play. Recently, while Power Comm was in the preconstruction commissioning phase of a job involving installation of a video management system for a large data center, a design flaw was discovered.
“We noticed that the approved system would be unacceptable to our customer and the tenant, and it was a make-or-break situation. Our customer could have lost a tenant for a $465 million data center,” Brandon explains. To help the customer save the day for its tenant, Power Comm stepped up to the challenge. “Honesty means that you help correct problems even when they’re not your own,” he adds.
Power Comm brought in a new vendor and installed a completely new video management system in a single weekend. “It’s unheard of,” Brandon says. “Knowing a catastrophe was in the making, we immediately broke through the red tape and made [a quick solution possible].”
Personal Side of Expansion and Growth
Power Comm has grown to the point where 70 percent of its jobs come from existing clients and referrals. Only 30 percent come from job bids, and that allows Barbara to begin most of her projects with the personal relationships she loves to foster.
“You’ll never hear Barbara sound like a saleswoman,” Brandon says. “She doesn’t need to sell anything because our work says it all. She likes the personal connection. When we’re at conventions or conferences, she’s not selling. She’s asking the people she meets about where they’re from, if they’re enjoying the event…everything is real person to real person.”
Business Is Life and Vice Versa
Barbara’s open-door policy with clients and employees was developed through her desire to add the personal aspects of life to business relationships. She makes sure that people know they can call her directly with any questions or concerns—though they rarely have concerns, she says. For Barbara, business endeavors are more fun and successful when they’re backed up by a personal touch.
When asked what compels her to establish special relationships in her work environment, Barbara says, “A person’s core values shouldn’t be reserved for personal life. Integrity is a core value, and it includes honesty, ethics and the commitment of keeping our word. Our core values permeate our business model.”
To expand these types of relationships to those she can’t reach personally, Barbara reaches out through philanthropic work. Churches, children’s charities, charity golf tournaments and a host of other worthy recipients benefit from Barbara’s sense of social accountability.
“Whether it’s the education and tools she gives employees for our own development, an open-door policy that never makes us feel that we’re her subordinate, or just passing Barbara in the hall and knowing that she’ll stop to chat a moment, we know she’s there for us,” Brandon says.