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New West family business on the move

Mott Electric, owned by New West family, relocates to Burnaby's Big Bend area

It's a company that started in New Westminster in 1930, moved just across the border to 14th Avenue in Burnaby in 1969, and on July 21, it made its biggest move yet, to 4599 Tillicum St. in the Big Bend area of South Burnaby.

Mott Electric, which has more than 220 employees, has moved into the Commonwealth Building, which was originally designed by Fred Hollingsworth, who worked with and learned from legendary Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson.

"It's an absolutely gorgeous building," said Mott Electric president Dan Mott. "We have two-and-a-half times more space than we have in our 14th Avenue location and we're going from two acres to four acres. - Plus, we're grandfathered in here so we can have equipment like cranes on site as well."

Dan, a longtime New Westminster resident, is the third generation of his family to run the business, which started with William Mott in 1930, passing down to Dan's father Don and now to Dan.

"I've managed this since 1986," said Dan. "My son Derek is a third-year apprentice at BCIT so he could be the fourth generation."

Mott Electric is one of the oldest electrical contracting companies in the Lower Mainland.

The company gained renown for installing the lighting for the Pattullo Bridge and followed up that success with work on the Cassiar connector in Vancouver, the Matsqui regional health care centre, and Capilano pumphouse and substation in North Vancouver.

Mott is currently working on the Ruskin dam and generating station, the Telus Garden and Salt residential developments in Vancouver, the Metrotower III office tower in Burnaby, and the Marine Gateway commercial/residential facility.

Mott also provides electrical services through their service and small contracts, and tenant services departments.

The company is no stranger to moving. In 1948, the company alighted to 1111 Royal Ave. and in 1969, they moved to their 14th Avenue site, never thinking they would outgrow the space.

The company also has a downtown office, at 527 - 744 West Hastings St. and according to Mott, about 70 per cent of his employees are based in Burnaby, with the rest based in Vancouver.

The company has extensive experience and specialized knowledge in all aspects of electrical contracting. Their projects include schools, hospitals, high-rise residential and multi-use buildings, substations, SkyTrain expansion and upgrades, high-tech facilities, tunnels and bridges.

As the company started to outgrow its 14th Avenue space, Dan said the biggest sign that change was afoot was when the neighbouring warehouse site used by Safeway shut down and the plan was to bring low-rise residential in its place.

"We have sold the old building and I guess it will change with how the area's changing there," he said.

As the company looked for its new location, South Burnaby was a logical place.

"There isn't much on this side of the river where you can have this much space," he said. "This area has really changed. I remember when it was all farms here. It really has come a long way."

And as much as he loves New Westminster, he knew there wasn't a com-parable industrial space in the city to rival what the company has on Tillicum Street.

Dan counts New Westminster Mayor Wayne Wright amongst his friends but said there wasn't anything Wright could do to get him back to the Royal City.

"He could have given me the hard sell and it wouldn't have worked," said Dan. "Where we are now is pretty special."

Wright agreed, saying that while he would have loved to have seen Mott have its head office in New Westminster, that wasn't an option.

"They needed a bigger space than we have available," said Wright. "We would love to have them back, but what they have is pretty special and it's great for their business. It's a great location for them to get into Vancouver and also to get into New Westminster and out to the Valley."

Wright said he considers Mott Electric a homegrown New Westminster business.

"They'll still be doing business in New Westminster and they'll still be a part of our community."

At the July grand opening party, more than 200 staff and invited guests attended.

"We hope to be here for many more years," said Dan.