Women’s History Month Spotlight: Janet Martin
Janet Martin Takes the Helm as President of DC-based Independent Electrical Contractors
In honor of Women’s History Month in March, IECRM is proud to spotlight our very own history-making, trailblazing, Janet Martin. Janet is vice president and owner of Bret’s Electric, Inc. in Denver and serves as the IEC National 2021 president. While women comprise only 10% of the construction industry, Janet is the second woman to head the predominantly-male electrical and systems contracting industry organization. Her term began on January 1, 2021.
She has proven herself a great leader and entrepreneur in her 30 years of corporate and small business experience.
“President Martin is a true champion of the merit shop in America,” said Spenser Villwock, IEC National CEO. “She has served the industry and association at the local chapter, regional, and national levels. Her commitment to our mission and her steadfast leadership has advanced our work greatly over the last decade. This year, as National President, she will guide us even further to greener pastures as we continue to strive for our vision through the values and virtues of IEC.”
Janet became a member of IEC shortly after her business opened its doors in 1993 and believes the value IEC provides to its members is priceless. She credits serving on IEC national committees and attending events around the nation with keeping Bret’s Electric one step ahead of major industry changes.
“Along with providing training to more than 13,000 apprentice electricians annually, IEC is the leading voice for the merit shop community and supports our interests on Capitol Hill,” says Martin. “During my 2021 term, the organization will place a special focus and emphasis on advocacy to ensure that we continue to grow and prosper during the new presidential administration. I look forward to giving back to the organization that helped me achieve my success and goals.”
Don’t be surprised when you visit the Bret’s Electric website where a powerful message reads “Energizing lives and buildings.” It’s a confident and proud statement that epitomizes the kind of perspective Janet brings to the company she and her husband, Bret, founded in the 1990s. Since then, Bret’s Electric has become a nationally award-winning company that has grown into a second generation of leadership, opened a new corporate headquarters, and become an employer of choice for military veterans.
“I’m a big believer in a high level of industry engagement,” Janet says. “My involvement in chambers of commerce, IECRM, and on the IEC national board has helped to propel business growth and brought benefits to Bret’s Electric.” She also believes that her regional and national work within the IEC organization continues to advance the industry in meaningful ways that impact the issues that merit shops and the trade face.
Janet continues, “For associations and membership organizations like IECRM, members are its reason for being, so getting and keeping members truly engaged in the organization is critical for survival as well as for members to truly garner the greatest benefit from membership.”
“Giving back is at the heart of my life passion,” she says. “I want my legacy to be that I made a difference by helping to build a brighter future, both literally and figuratively, for others.”
Most Successful Work Habits…
“I like to start my day early which enhances my own productivity,” Janet says. “There are many task-related habits that I also stick to like keeping a ‘to do’ list, setting goals for meetings, and responding to email and phone calls in a timely manner.”
Above all else, Janet is committed to honesty and integrity in everything she does. “People often define integrity as doing the right thing even when no one else is around,” she says. “I believe that honesty and trust are central to integrity. Keeping your word, acting with honor and truthfulness are basic tenets in being seen as a person and organization of integrity.”
Bret’s Electric looks for integrity as one of the fundamental values it seeks when hiring. “Our company culture is all about the habit of integrity and practicing honesty each and every day,” Janet says. “Out of that comes the very best work possible, results for our customers, and is why we can say with pride, ‘energizing lives and buildings.’”
“My past employers are my business heroes,” Janet says. “My parents, however, are my life heroes. They were successful entrepreneurs and taught me how a successful business is built. More importantly, they also taught me how to live life in the best possible manner.”
Best Advice for Colleagues, Apprentices, and Business Owners…
“I’d be remiss if I didn’t encourage my colleagues, apprentices, and employees to find something meaningful to become thoroughly involved in – whether it’s in business, an industry, or in the community,” Janet says. “Through engagement and participation, you’ll find the mentors that you need and the guidance to stay focused on your goals, stay motivated, and feel challenged.”
She points out that you’ll also learn to appreciate other business owners and leaders who have walked the walk and done the talk before you came along. “Learn from their success, but more importantly, learn from their mistakes,” she suggests.
One parting suggestion from Janet Martin: “Join an IECRM or IEC National committee. You’ll be enriched as a result.”