MENANDS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — An Albany County electrical company is not only celebrating 75 years but being a certified woman owned business in a male dominated industry.
Contracting, electrical work, construction… These are all fields of work that you associate with men, but this business in Menands, owned by a woman, is celebrated for having lasted 3 quarters of a century in a male dominated industry.
Becky Kasselman is the President and CEO of Kasselman Electric. It’s a 135 employee company that handles everything industrial from contracting to construction. Its customers include several local governments — and that’s why so many of them came out to give her official proclamations today.
Kasselman says when she took over the business from her father-in-law and husband 10 years ago, she had difficulties maintaining clientele, being an industry outlier.
SOT, Becky Kasselman
“I will not lie. It was a struggle for quite a few years because it’s a woman owned business” Becky said.
Ms. Kasselman’s son Brad, jokes that he’s the man behind the woman. Brad says he’s witnessed Becky’s difficulties himself.
“Sometimes it definitely feels like I am standing behind my mom with a shield, and a bat…It’s definitely a tough industry for women, historically, to crack into…” said Brad.
But watching his mom persevere and having his family business withstand seven-and-a -half decades, gives Brad hope for the next generation.
“It’s incredible because I recently had a daughter of my own who is two now, and all I can think about — as I’ve said it to my mom is — she’s going to grow up seeing you as an incredible grandmother and incredible CEO of a great company and a business leader, and a community leader, and that to me is like a game changer” said Brad.
And it’s hope for the next generation that pushed Castleman to donate $7,500 to an organization supporting troubled youth, and launch a new annual trade scholarship for young women. And if they want to own their own business, Kasselman has some advice.
“The struggle is worth it. It’s a struggle ahead of you, but the more you struggle the better the outcome don’t ever give up. It’s all about perseverance…” said the CEO.
This business owner, operating out of the village of Menands, admits starting your own business often takes a village.
“It’s all about being strong and finding other people who support you and go ahead and depend on them” Becky said. “I have a fabulous team…” she added.