With small-town roots, specializing in health care and security systems
BY ZACHARY ROTH
Many businesses, whether they are local or national, had humble beginnings. For Matt Giacomini, Brandon Keafer and Senergy Electric, it was no different.
“We waited three months for the phone to ring,” said Giacomini, Senergy’s president. “The first year was pretty slow. We didn’t do a whole lot. At this point, we have $6-7 million (in annual revenue) and 33 employees.”
Senergy began as two different companies started by two drastically different people. Giacomini’s specialties are in electrical contracting and alternative energy, while Keafer’s are in communications, marketing and business development.
The two men merged their expertise, Giacomini in electrical engineering and Keafer in technology, to form a new company based in Williamsville in 2016. Within a year, the company had bloomed and has plans to continue growing its footprint throughout central Illinois.
“I started this company primarily out of frustration with other options in the marketplace,” Giacomini said. “I saw an opportunity to start something that I didn’t think existed.”
Giacomini considers himself to be quite rigid in his beliefs and tactics in his chosen profession. And Senergy has become one of central Illinois’ fastest growing electrical contractors.
One of Senergy’s main focuses is in the health care sector, where it has worked with distinguished companies like Memorial Health System which built a new SIU family medicine clinic in Springfield, with the help of Senergy’s contractors. In addition to the clinic, Senergy also assisted in the renovation of operating rooms at Memorial Medical Center and a new addition to Sherman Villas, which is operated by Springfield Clinic.
“There’s a whole other element to being precise, being careful in health care,” Giacomini said. “There’s so many things that affect your customer and your customer’s customers (patients). They’re very sensitive and very particular about who does their work.”
Much of the company’s speedy growth can be attributed to Giacomini’s partner, Keafer, who started Cardinal Technology Solutions in 2013. He eventually merged his company with Senergy in 2016, becoming the company’s vice president, specializing in marketing and business development. Keafer’s expertise in technology has helped with the formation of Senergy Technologies, which assists in the installation of security apparatuses, IP networks and sound systems for various companies and institutions.
Senergy has also been involved with updating security systems for local schools, such as the Chatham School District and Springfield Public Schools. Keafer’s personal concern for schools and children largely comes from his side job as a part-time police officer.
“I’ve been involved a lot with schools, both as a police officer training in a school, as a teacher training school districts on a lot of things and now over here at Senergy on the security side of the technology that goes into schools,” Keafer said. “Schools are near and dear to my heart.”
Despite the quick and steady growth of Senergy within the last two years, it remains a small operation, albeit one that has a growing portfolio. However, the offices in Williamsville are small enough that one must squint to view them from Interstate 55. Nevertheless, Senergy has ambitious plans, including a futuristic project in conjunction with the Williamsville Police Department. There are plans for a series of wireless cameras spread out across the village to monitor daily activities.
“It’s a security system that will also handle access control,” Giacomini said. “In their squad cars, police can hit a button, control doors…we’re going to give them a la carte as to what they’re looking for.”
What they are looking for includes facial recognition software, from which data will be sent back to Senergy’s lab for use by the village.
“The analytics on what we’re deploying could be used for facial recognition, license plate recognition,” Giacomini said.
Fancy technology aside, it’s the implementation of a solid company culture that has helped Senergy grow from a small company of three employees to one that can secure such projects as one at Memorial Medical Center and another with the Williamsville Police Department.
“I think it’s an exciting environment,” Keafer said. “We do a lot of good work, and everyone who works here shares in it, and we just want to continue with that trajectory with more people.”
Giacomini noted that the culture separates Senergy from other contractors in the field.
“I would describe us as a family, and it’s something that’s very important,” Giacomini said. “I think what makes us different is the communication we have, the closeness we have as a group and the reliance we have on each other as team members.”
Zach Roth is a freelance journalist based in Springfield. He graduated in 2016 from Bradley University with a degree in journalism.