Local News

Published on May 1st, 2013 | by UC&D Magazine


28th Annual IEA Awards

GSL Electric founder Craig Taft recognized for lifetime industry contribution.

Utah Electrical Firms, Individuals Honored
at the 28th Annual IEA Awards

After nearly a half century of working in the electrical contracting industry, Craig Taft, 66, was honored with the Delamar Holt Service to the Industry award during the Intermountain Electrical Association’s (IEA) 28th annual awards banquet March 1 in Salt Lake City.

Taft, who retired December 31, 2012, co-founded Sandy-based GSL Electric in the spring of 1981 with brother Don Taft Jr. and Guy Moore, and served as the firm’s top executive since 1995 when Moore retired. Taft credits his wife, Meg, his family and GSL employees for their contributions to his career success. Two sons work the firm; Joey Taft is an electrical engineer, while Andrew Taft serves as a foreman.

“I’m very honored to receive this award from the Intermountain Electrical Association; I owe a lot to the good people around me,” said Taft. “Without their support and hard work our company would not have the success it has had, so I’m very appreciative of that.”

According to Craig Taft, GSL has completed more than 2,300 projects during the firm’s 32-year history, totaling over 15 million man hours and $1 billion in revenues. Taft started working for his father, Don Taft Sr., in high school in the mid-60’s, and earned an engineering degree from the University of Utah in 1971. Upon graduation he went to work at the Salt Lake western regional office of Howard P. Foley Electric, a huge national electrical contractor, and spent 10 years with that firm before deciding to help launch GSL Electric in 1981.

“We started with virtually nothing,” Taft recalled. “We had one used truck and $2,000 worth of tools, and took out a $50,000 loan that we paid off within our first three months. We’ve been going ever since.”

The firm, which currently has 450 employees, opened an office in Las Vegas in 1986 and has had a strong regional presence throughout the western United States during its history. GSL is licensed to work as both an electrical contractor and electrical engineer in eight states. It started to see exponential growth in the latter part of the 90’s, and has maintained average annual revenues in the $60 to $70 million range the past 15 years.

“The company really exploded in 1997,” said Taft. “We went from 100 employees to over 400 in two years. Part of the reason was we got the LDS Conference Center, which required almost 300 employees. Even after that job ended we were able to maintain that level.”

Taft said GSL (which stands for Great Salt Lake Electric) does approximately 70% of its business in the industrial and infrastructure markets, including work for Kennecott/Rio Tinto, mines in northern Nevada, and municipal water and wastewater owners. Besides the LDS Conference Center, he points to a number of high profile building projects that bring him satisfaction, including the LDS Temple in Nauvoo, Illinois, Phase II of the Huntsman Cancer Center, the Salt Lake Library, and the Millrock Park Corporate Center. The firm is wrapping up work at the Utah Data Center, as well as the LDS Temple in Ogden.

Taft continues to go into the office on a daily basis, partly because he’s still a prominent stockholder (one of 19 GSL partners with ownership in the company), but also because he has a mountain of paperwork still to file through.

“You don’t just walk away from something you created from nothing,” Taft said. “My main reason for staying on is that we do a lot of bonded work, and until I’m not the largest single stakeholder, our bonding company wants me to stay on. I’ll still serve as Chairman of the Board and probably will for a few more years. There are some great projects coming up that we anticipate getting. We have great employees and I’m excited about the future of the company.”


UC&D.May13-69Commercial – Private

Merit Medical Systems
Production Facility

Electrical Contractor: GSL Electric

This 400,000 SF, three-level facility required careful electrical coordination due to a unique 70,000 SF clean room, and a large number of owner-specified change orders at the beginning of the project. GSL spent more than four times normal man hours ensuring that all wiring and cabling could be fit into ceiling spaces. The project includes nearly 950,000 LF of electrical wire, 370,000 LF of systems and V/D cabling, 3,000 LF of fiber optic cabling, 4,460 light fixtures, two UPS systems, two 4,000-amp services, 17 transformers, and 71 panel boards.


UC&D.May13-70Commercial – Public

City Creek Center

Electrical Contractor: Wasatch Electric

The electrical challenges were many for what was one of the largest commercial public projects in the nation. Wasatch provided demolition services in addition to traditional electrical contractor services, which required the need to keep large portions of Block 75 up and running during demolition time. At one point Wasatch had to suspend a bus duct in midair to keep Key Bank Tower powered up. After the demo of Block 75, two 4,000 amp bus ducts were installed. Wasatch provided electrical services to Nordstrom’s and Macy’s department stores along with the Cheesecake Factory, along with other tenant improvement spaces.


Adobe Lehi Campus

Electrical Contractor: Wasatch Electric

The communications and data center aspect of this project was monumental for Adobe, since it handles both local traffic as well as global information to support the firm’s large-scale customer service needs. There are 12 communication rooms throughout the campus, in addition to multiple lab areas, which has enough cable to stretch the entire length of the State of Utah. Wasatch also installed high fidelity and resolution cabling for an advanced Audio-Visual System, including tele-conferencing, theater-style productions, full conference room interaction, monitors, displays and touch screen technology. The AV cabling manages over 100 monitors and displays.



Brigham City LDS Temple

Electrical Contractor: GSL Electric

LDS Temples always present unique challenges to the construction team. The ornate design of this particular temple had considerably more lighting fixtures than other temples of a similar size. Because the ceilings were hard lid, it meant a limited amount of space for GLS to work in, and required the job to be completed right the first time and for the contractor to carefully consider all routing conduits without exceeding the number of allowable bends. The 35,626 SF building includes 353,000 LF of installed wire, 106,000 LF of conduit, and nearly 2,300 fixtures. It marks the 14th LDS Temple completed in Utah.


IMFT Campus

Electrical Contractor: Wasatch Electric

This project included the retrofit of a 65,000 SF building at IM Flash Technologies’ Lehi Campus into a state-of-the-art full clean room for the manufacture of NAND flash memory chips. The scope of work required a new power distribution system with two 4,000 amp services, four 2,500 kVA medium voltage transformers, a 1,200 kW generator with two transfer switches, a 300 kVA UPS for critical systems, a 75 kVA UPS for life safety systems, and associated lighting and power for general use. Wasatch provided electrical and control/data cabling for 39 new manufacturing tools and also installed an extensive, structurally designed catwalk system under the FAB floor to support electrical, mechanical, and process piping systems and components.



Custom Residence at
Montage Deer Valley Resort

Electrical Contractor: Wasatch Electric

This one-of-a-kind, 7,000 SF luxury vacation residence includes an awe-inspiring surround-sound music system, state-of-the-art lighting control systems with dimming controls throughout and a specially designed iPhone app to create myriad custom lighting levels.   >> Approximately 300 custom designed lighting fixtures were installed, with many requiring on-site conversions. These fixtures were connected to just over 100 dimming zones, which allows the owner an infinite range of lighting ambiance options. Lighting types included LED, tungsten halogen MR16s, and various fluorescent and incandescent fixtures. Along with customary electrical loads, power was required for restaurant grade kitchen equipment, balcony snow melt mats, flip down TVs, and other myriad high-end electronics.


2012 Awards Finalists

Outstanding Electrical Manufacturer’s Rep of the Year

Lyle Williams Company


Outstanding Lighting Manufacturer Rep of the Year


Quantum Lighting


Outstanding Factory Direct Salesperson of the Year

Allan Wursten, Eaton Electrical


 Outstanding Electrical Engineering Firm of the Year

BNA Consulting, Inc.

Envision Engineering


Salt Lake Area


Outstanding Electrical Distributor Firm

Codale Electric Supply, SLC


Outstanding Electrical Distributor Manager

Todd Saunders, CED, SLC


Outstanding Electrical Distributor Outside Salesperson

Brian Bown, Crescent Electric, SLC

Chad Barney, Codale

Chad Shepherd, CED


Outstanding Electrical Distributor Inside Salesperson

Jesse Hoffman, CED

Kristin Laws, Codale

Reed Farnes, Crescent


Outstanding Electrical Distributor Purchasing Agent

Jay R. Holt, Codale


Outstanding Electrical Distributor Quotations Manager

Max Marler, EWS, SLC



Outside Salt Lake Area


Outstanding Electrical Distributor Firm

Royal Wholesale Electric, Ogden


Outstanding Electrical Distributor Manager

Kent Chadwick, Codale, Ogden


Outstanding Electrical Distributor Outside Salesperson

Craig Favero, Royal

Kelly Hatch, EWS, Logan

Rick Carter, Crescent, Orem

Travis Prather, Platt, Pocatello


Outstanding Electrical Distributor Inside Salesperson

Chuck Elliott, Royal

Dallas Sever, Crescent

Jason White, Codale


Outstanding Electrical Distributor Purchasing Agent

Andy May, EWS

Outstanding Electrical Distributor Quotations Manager

Clint Mann,  EWS


Electrical Contractor Category


Outstanding Electrical Contractor Over 50 employees in Salt Lake

Wasatch Electric


Outstanding Electrical Contractor Under 50 employees in Salt Lake

AC Electric


Outstanding Electrical Contractor Outside the Salt Lake Area

CR Lighting and Electric


Outstanding Project Manager of the Year

Jeff Otto, Taylor Electric

Tony Hendrickson, Hunt Electric


Outstanding Estimator of the Year

Ben Homer, Wasatch Electric


Outstanding Design-Build Individual or Team

Jake Taft, GSL Electric

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