Today I met a country singer. I had no idea until I did some internet “research” (ahem, stalking) afterward.
I had a meeting scheduled with Steve Thurman, owner of Abstract Electric. As expected, we spoke mainly of the electrical business. He never mentioned that he has four songs on iTunes. He’s legit, y’all. But back to the electrical business.
After working as an electrician in high school, Steve decided to join the Air Force and later worked in avionics. With the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11, his position was eliminated. He’d always enjoyed using his electrical skills, so he decided to try again.
Steve spent the next several years honing his craft, always working for someone else. On the heels of a cancer diagnosis for his wife, Jamie, he decided to open his own company. More than ever, flexibility in his schedule seemed like an important factor. He earned his residential contractor’s license. He held his breath. He prayed. And he listened to Jamie when she said, “Leap and He will catch you!” And He did. Oh, and in-between the cancer diagnosis and the opening of Abstract? A house fire that claimed everything the Thurman family owned. With the help of the Claremore and Sequoyah communities, and church family, Steve has been slowly rebuilding everything himself, paying as he goes. Today, he is about 90% complete with the project.
Do you know what struck me as interesting, and showed me what kind of person Steve Thurman is? Throughout our interview, he spoke only of the business, with the exception of one comment about his wife being ill. He never mentioned that Jamie is a proud six-year survivor of breast cancer, that she continues to fight with a smile on her face. He didn’t bring up the house fire that destroyed all of their material possessions. He didn’t tell me that he has songs on iTunes.
I discovered all of that on my own, through my “research.” I called Steve out. I sounded like a complete lunatic, I’m sure. But when I asked, he opened up and told me what I asked. He is so proud of his wife. He’s pleased about how his two (almost grown) children are turning out. He told me how grateful and blessed his family is by the support of the local folks in town. And he said that he’s more of a songwriter than a singer. The bottom line is, that Steve isn’t looking for sympathy. He is interested in growing his business, and that’s what we discussed. He never gave me a sob story, American Idol-style. He was incredibly humble and down-to-earth. His demeanor was kind, honest, and a bit quiet. Steve Thurman is one of those “still waters run deep” kind of guys.
Steve’s company, Abstract Electric LLC, was born in 2012. So he’s an electrician, you say. What makes him different? Abstract Electric deals strictly in the residential arena. If you build a fast-food joint and need it wired, Steve’s not your man. As he pointed out, commercial work and residential jobs are two completely different animals, which makes perfect sense. Steve prefers to stick with his area of expertise. If you are building a new home or remodeling, Steve’s your guy. Your garden tub conks out, you’re incapable of installing a ceiling fan, or you want some fancy recessed lighting in your kitchen…Steve can help.
Abstract is based on honesty and a strong work ethic. The reason being, if a customer is happy with the service, he or she will call again. It’s a simple, yet effective, strategy that more business owners should employ. In a nutshell, Steve wants to be “your electrician.” The guy you have on speed-dial, so you don’t have to waste time and energy finding the best deal, the soonest appointment time. Just call “your electrician.” Steve. An example I received of this kind of service was when Steve was working for someone else, a customer called with an electrical issue. The fix was literally the push of a button. Steve gave instructions on how to solve the problem over the phone, and was promptly reprimanded by his boss for not making the house call and collecting a service charge.
The company’s slogan is “Think outside the box.” Steve gave me a couple of ideas on how this comes into play, to prove that it’s got a meaning that he lives by, and isn’t just a random phrase to add to his business cards. He’s even got QR code stickers to affix to your breaker box; you can scan it and call Abstract while you’re standing at your breaker box in the dark, so you don’t have to track down his phone number.
Abstract’s operating hours are Monday – Friday from 8a – 4:30p. If you have an after-hours emergency, call anyway; Steve will answer the phone. Appointments are usually scheduled for the same day, but generally no more than 48 hours. I asked Steve if he gives an all-day window like the cable company, and he laughed. He offers a two-hour window, with a 30 minute “heads-up” phone call.
Steve Thurman is the man you want to be “your electrician.” Honest.
Keep it local, Claremore.
-MCM Staffer Ashley,
who gets a kick out of internet