Fishing for a Career: SEMCA Alumnus Makes Mark as Electrical Contractor

Sean Fisher began his career at age 18 after he graduated high school early. Fisher is a high energy guy and it was apparent in high school: he had a paper route and he left school early each day to work at a restaurant in a co-op position. He didn’t have a car then, but he borrowed a classmate’s car each day and returned it when his shift ended. “My parents would have bought me a car,” he said, “but I told them not to-I wanted to buy it myself.” That attitude has driven Fisher his entire life. He’s a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of guy.

When Fisher graduated high school, he went to work for a friend’s dad who was an electrician who did a lot of wiring that was embedded in landscaping, working long hours, and loving it—even the grime that went with it. “He had everything I wanted, John Deere tractors, a cool truck, lots of money. He let us do anything we wanted on our off time, and every day was fun.” Fisher recalls long hours digging trenches, cutting pipe, installing sprinklers, mounting antenna 70’ high, and wiring waterfalls and pump houses. “Now, when I drive around the SE Michigan area I can point out all the places I worked-all the things I installed. That’s an amazing feeling,” he said.

Fisher paid $25 for his State of Michigan apprenticeship card and worked under a Master Electrician, but he wanted more. His friends were in college, but when he tried to find Electrician-related classes, he couldn’t. He then found SEMCA and loved it. He fondly recalls taking classes in the garage area or downstairs of the old building and even at Fitzgerald HS. It didn’t matter where he was learning, however, it was the love of all things electrical and SEMCA instructors that hooked him, especially Sadowski and Toward. It was hard work and they were demanding, he said, but every class was relevant and interesting because it related to what he was doing each day. “I knew my instructors were in the field like me; they owned businesses and do this work every day—it was inspiring, and I was such an excellent student years 1, 2 and 3,” he said. Something happened year 4, however. “I crashed,” he admitted. It was the math, but he stayed in it. The hallmark of a true apprentice: persistence and problem solving. He figured it out and graduated in 2005. He took his Journeyman test right away and passed. Two years later, he took his Master Electrician test and passed that, too. “I wanted to just rachet up as fast as I could,” said Fisher. Where was he going?

Up—he was going up: after a few years, he decided to open his own business. In 2009, he opened Fish Electric, a small electrical business in Troy, MI. The look on his face as he talks and his energy are undeniable: Fisher loves what he does. Fisher reveals the secret to his businesses’ success: a focus on customer service and no middle man. Fisher keeps his business small, intentionally. Customers like that he answers a call or shows up at their house when they need help. They tell him time and time again that Fish Electric stands out among its competitors for that reason. “Trust,” adds Fisher. “Trust is also important in my business. I wouldn’t have this business if it wasn’t. People invite me into their homes. When we’re done, it’s like we were never there, but the work is done and life is better for them.” Although Fish Electric provides typical residential service, their focus is on technology like Nest, Ring and electric charging spaces for electric cars. “The new technology allows our customers to manage risk and be proactive, not reactive,” he said. Cameras and coordinating apps allow customers to add security features to protect their house or manage doorbells and air temperature while away from home.

Fisher has added a new focus for his business: rehabbing Detroit. He has worked with Habitat for Humanity wiring houses in Southfield for years and now is working with a developer in a commercial space with historic buildings in Detroit. “I just love these buildings. They’re amazing even though they present challenges. A few years ago, I didn’t appreciate the beauty of the buildings in Detroit. Now I do…now I do,” he said with a smile.

During the interview, TJ, Fisher’s apprentice and soon-to-be SEMCA student, is reveling in the boss’s story. He, too, wants the same things Fisher once wanted and he is happy to be riding on his coattails. He knows he has a good boss who wants the best for him and will support him in his journey. TJ started school in Sept.

Fisher was adamant that he works hard and then leaves to have fun. “I drive my boat, my mustang. I don’t fix up a house—I need fun,” he said. Fish Electric just joined ABC of SEMI. Why now? Fisher said it was serendipity. He was invited to a golf outing a few years back and Ms. Tina remembered him and that ‘warmed his heart.’ The golf outing was held at a golf course where he installed the pumphouse and waterfalls and he knew it was time for his helper to become an apprentice and enroll in school. “It was time to join ABC. I have the ABC spark back in my life,” he said proudly.