October 23, 2018

Apprentice Spotlight: James McNown, Encore Electric

Committed to Encore Electric Focus:

Power, Technology, Energy


Meet James McNown, IECRM 4th year apprentice at Encore Electric. Encore is known for highly technical projects from residential and industrial to healthcare and hospitality. The company focuses on three things: Power, Technology and Energy. James is a big booster of this philosophy and focus.

“At Encore, we quickly learn that commitment to innovation and technology behind complex projects can change the way people live and work,” says James. “The training and education I get on the job as well as through IECRM is giving me an incredible opportunity to aspire to something beyond just a traditional apprentice position. I’m also able to pursue development of my skills in next generation tech like CAD, BIM, VDC, preconstruction, and systems.”

Originally from Kansas City, James spent six years in Austin, TX working as a screen printer before moving to Denver in 2014 with his wife and their two dogs. Part of the objective for the move was to change his career path and find a career in electrical contracting.

Today James says, “At Encore, I’ve had the opportunity to advance into leadership positions and continuously develop my installation and maintenance skills on a variety of exciting projects, furthering my electrical career.“

Favorite job…

James currently works on a four-story commercial remodel in Broomfield for Elevations Credit Union. Prior to that, he did various industrial projects along the Front Range, mainly in water treatment for local municipalities. “My favorite all-time project so far in my career was the Desanti Recharge Facility in Brighton,” he says. “It’s a water reclamation facility that takes ditch water and run-off, then filters and cleans it up to pump back down into wells for reuse.”

“Essentially, recharge facilities flood an area and allow water to percolate down through the soil, replenishing underground aquifers. Desanti was a new build that I got to see through from start to finish with motors, instrumentation, and controls,” James says.

Most successful work habits….

James says he’s all about safety on the job. “Safety is most important to me at work,” he says, “If I can’t do it safely, I won’t do it at all.”

He also believes in not sacrificing quality for quantity. At the end of the day, he’d rather have work that he’s confident is professional and will function properly versus rushed work that the customer will be unhappy with.

Preplanning also is a big work habit for James. “If I can start a task with a clear plan for how to do it, then understand and assemble the materials I will need, the project goes much more smoothly and efficiently.” he says. “Plan your work and work your plan.”


Hands down, James’ hero is his wife. “I can honestly say I wouldn’t be here doing what I’m doing without her,” he says with a big smile. “She keeps me sharp and grounded and showed unwavering support when I decided to start a completely new career at age 30.”

Best advice for apprentices and colleagues…

“You don’t have to do what you love for a living; very few people are lucky enough to make that claim. But you should at least care about and respect the work that you do,” he advises. “If you genuinely care about the quality of your finished product, understand how and why you did it, and take pride in a job well done, you’ll be happy in your job and feel a sense of accomplishment from doing it.”