Now the purveyor of electrical systems and lighting design for many of Santa Barbara’s most exquisite custom homes, Turner Electric had the humblest of beginnings. In 1981, Paul Turner opened shop in his backyard on the Westside. He had already developed a strong taste for the trade overseas as he picked up work during a bit of traveling after college at UCSB.
A few years later as business grew — back then he was mainly wiring up tract homes — Brian Frederick came aboard. They’d met at Graybar Electric Company supply shop in Goleta, where Frederick was working at the time. Frederick wanted to get out from behind the counter. Turner needed another set of hands in the field. An apprenticeship was born.
By the mid-’80s, they’d opened shop in Goleta. About a decade later, they moved downtown. Back then, Turner Electric did a few jobs with a young and growing Giffin & Crane, but they really hit it off professionally about 15 years ago on an extensive, high-end project in Montecito called Cima del Mundo.
Since then, Turner Electric has worked on dozens of Giffin & Crane projects, from small remodels to brand-new estate homes. Along the way, Frederick has risen through the ranks, from helper to project manager to multiple-job coordinator. While the company has worked on offices, retail stores, hospitals, and projects in the hospitality industry, the bread and butter of the business has always remained in custom homebuilding.
“For the past 15 years, we’ve concentrated on high-end residential,” says Frederick, who became a partner in 2012 and is now president of the company, as Turner is mostly retired. “What sets us apart is we’re really detail-oriented and we do a lot of design work. We figure things out on the jobsite so [the general contractors] don’t have to drag in the electrical engineers whenever there’s an issue that needs to be resolved. And we’re able to really fine-tune what the owner [of the home] needs.”
Frederick points out that lighting is the biggest and most obvious benefit a homeowner gets out of a vast and complicated electrical system. Light is what happens when they walk into a room and flip a switch, and it’s important to get it right.