March 24, 2022 | As a licensed general contractor and certified journeyman electrician, Ronald Turner serves the Stockton area with Turner & Turner Electric, Inc, which he co-owns with his wife, Jehnell Livingston-Turner. After spending several years in Louisiana, where he applied his contracting skills to help rebuild from the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, Ronald returned to California. He soon realized that, because of the Great Recession, residential and commercial contracting jobs would not provide steady business. Getting certified to bid on government contracts, particularly with the Department of Transportation, was the key to continue operating Turner & Turner Electric: In addition to the prospect of large projects, as a veteran, Ronald was eligible to certify Turner & Turner Electric as a Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise and a Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Business, which opens up unique resources and set-aside government contracts.
Finding new opportunities
After attending a seminar hosted by Norcal PTAC where they learned about California Capital FDC’s suite of business services, Jehnell began working with Women’s Business Center counselor, Charles Thomas. Charles helped Jehnell write an actionable business plan based off of a capability statement she had created, but it was not until several years later that the opportunity to apply for a loan through the California Capital Lending Center came up. As part of the Caltrain Modernization Early Investment Program, Caltrain’s program to electrify their transportation operations, Turner & Turner Electric secured a contract to install poles and light fixtures at the service’s electric power stations. With this sizeable job, a bid submitted for a second contract, and plans to apply for a third, an infusion of working capital would make the growth more manageable.
Capital infusion creates jobs
“I had never considered getting a loan,” explains Jehnell, who manages the operations and administration of Turner & Turner Electric. “But I was working with Charles and Daisy [Po’oi, Lending Center Portfolio Manager], and they both encouraged me to try, just try and see what happens.” Jehnell and Ronald decided to apply for a loan, which proved to be an enlightening process. Being loan-ready meant considering details of their business that they hadn’t before, such as the importance of keyman insurance coverage. “When small business owners come from Corporate America, like I did, there are many details [of business ownership] that they don’t think about because they’re the employee,” says Jehnell, emphasizing the key role that free information sessions offered by lenders play in making capital accessible. “A lot of times, people don’t take advantage of free services in their community to know what’s out there.”
Turner & Turner Electric was approved for a loan, made possible through the Wells Fargo Open for Business Grant, in August of 2021–and the impact has had a ripple effect on their community. With part of the loan going towards payroll expenses, Ronald and Jehnell hired three new employees, and their support has been crucial to navigating the fast-paced construction industry. With this support, and continued guidance from their WBC counselor, Turner & Turner Electric is performing on their contracts, and keeping more opportunities in mind.