WAY back in 1972, a young George White left his job as an electrical engineer to ‘go out on his own’.

It is a common story for those with an entrepreneurial streak, but it also brings with it an element of risk and uncertainty.

But Mr. White isn’t one to shy away from a challenge, and along with his first employee, the late Ivan Neely from Ballinamallard, they began carrying out electrical work across the local area.

Fast forward 52 years, and Mr. White is still amazed at the growth of his business, now known as G R White and Son Ltd.

Regarded as one of Northern Ireland’s leading electrical contractors, the business employs a total of 70 employees and has an annual turnover of just over £7m.

Contracts, North and South, include large-scale electrical installations within the health, education and industrial sectors, and the firm has been involved in several high-profile projects over the years.

Meanwhile, a separate division provides 24-hour response maintenance and compliance services to over 15,000 properties throughout the province, with a dedicated call centre situated in the heart of Tempo village.

Indeed, the old adage, ‘Big trees grow from small acorns’, applies.


Mr. White, company Chairman, is both proud of what has been achieved and excited for what the future holds.

His son, Rodney, continues to drive the business forward as Managing Director, while his wife, Karen, is also a Director in the business.

“It all started on the first of January, 1972,” Mr. White recollected. “I always had the ambition to start my own business, and at the time I had a good job with a company as an electrical engineer.

“I knew that the pressures couldn’t be much different, so I set about starting out on my own.

“In those early days, it was mostly small electrical contracts, the simpler stuff. There wasn’t as much large-scale stuff going on.”

As time passed, the business grew accordingly. A decade later, between 8 and 10 employees were on the books.

“We always wanted to keep broadening our image all the time,” Mr. White said. “It has grown substantially, but I still regard it as a family business.

“I had great support from my wife, Cynthia, and the family. Problems and successes, we shared them all.”

The business continued to grow and before long, Mr. White’s son, Rodney, decided to follow in his father’s footsteps.

First training as an apprentice at age 16, he cut his teeth out on the sites before gradually transitioning to pricing jobs and project management.

Eventually, the business began expanding outward into more complex projects, much farther afield, helping to boost its profile.

Mr. White still works closely with his son, whom he says has been “invaluable” in moving the business forward.

“He has the head and ability for it, and I got behind him and it’s been growing since,” Mr. White remarked.

Similarly, Rodney praised his father’s support and encouragement in taking on the family business, which boasts a dedicated team of employees.

“I suppose you could say I put my own slant on things, but it’s always been with dad’s support,” he said.

“We also have an excellent management structure in place, and like any business, we are only as good as our employees.

“The support I get from my co-Directors, management team and work force is superb.

‘Busy environment’

“We firmly believe that if you look after your employees, they will look after your business. It’s a very busy environment but we have a very flexible and committed workforce. We can’t praise them enough.”

Indeed, a powerful mix of family, a committed workforce and high standards has helped propel the local firm to success.

The company continues to pride itself on delivering excellent service from enquiry to finished job, with a track record to match.

“We have been involved in some very high-profile projects,” Rodney White continued.

“The company has secured many large and varied projects over the years and have a significant amount of secured projects within the public and private sector.

“We can offer new and existing customers a complete in-house solution from design right through to installation and handover. Following on, of course, with excellent back up service.”

However, despite continued success, the father and son team have been sure to keep their feet firmly on the ground.

“A person who needs an extra socket wired in his or her house is as important to us as many of the large contracts we can deliver,” George White remarked.

“You never want to forget the way you came up, and the way you started. You have to keep your feet on the ground.”

Indeed, Mr. White has never forgotten his roots in his home town of Tempo.

The business continues to be headquartered in the village, with several local staff, and some from further afield, employed in the busy state-of-the-art premises.

On the outside wall of the building, a defibrillator was recently installed.


Paid for in full by the business, the device is intended for use by the local community and can help save lives in the event of cardiac arrests or heart attacks.

“The installation of the defibrillator is very important to us,” Mr. White said.

“It’s an important piece of kit that can save lives and anyone can use it. We always try to give back something to the community in any way we can.”

Undoubtedly, G R White and Son Ltd. has made a lasting mark on both the local community and remains a family outfit at its finest.

With this in mind, the team are excited for the future. Rodney White said that long-term contracts are ongoing, providing security, while other projects are also in the pipeline.

“We have long-term contracts secured up until 2028 within the maintenance and compliance division, and the building services side of business looks as if it’s going to have a robust performance this year,” he said.

“Of course, it’s a moving target all the time. We could be bidding for jobs over a year ago, then you get a call out of the blue to tell you that it’s been successful.

“We try to plan as much as much as we can and keep on top of it.

“Based on our reputation and performance, and the brand we have built in the industry; we get the chance to bid on most major projects.

“It’s a challenging market, but we pride ourselves on delivering excellence and value for money.”

Decades of business can be hard to sum up. George White has seen it all – the highs and lows, the good times and bad.

But how would he sum up the remarkable journey that has seen a two-man outfit transform into one of Northern Ireland’s leading electrical contractors?

“Terrific,” he concluded. “Truly terrific."