Dan Harwood has been in Powell River for eight years, but his new venture, Harwood Electric, is the logical progression in his trades career.
“I’ve been in the industry since I was 16,” says Dan, who is a Red Seal journeyman electrician. “I worked in Vancouver before I moved to Powell River, and I’ve been subcontracting in town since I came, but this past year I felt it was time to start my own company.”
Electrical work wasn’t what brought Dan to the qathet region initially. Instead, he was hired as a guide for Powell River Sea Kayak.
“Part of what got me the job was that I was an electrician,” says Dan. “They wanted to install a complete solar system at their Cabana Desolation Eco Resort, and in me, they got both a guide and someone who could plan out and install that system for them.”
An avid kayaker and lover of the outdoors, Dan still does some guiding during the summers, but working in the electrical field has been taking up more and more of his time. Harwood Electric is a full-service company, and Dan can help anyone from cabin owners to commercial property tenants with their electrical needs.
“I’ve also done a lot of residential renovation work, including completely rewiring homes in Townsite,” he says. “It can be very interesting going into a house that’s over a hundred years old and seeing what’s been done over the years.”
From decommissioned mill switches to old knob-and-tube systems, Dan has had adventures rewiring some of the area’s older homes.
“It can be tricky when you want to upgrade the electrical system in a heritage house,” says Dan. “It takes a bit more time and patience to understand the house’s construction, especially when various renovations over the years mean you might not have the same kind of access you do in a modern home. In one case, I had to come up an old chimney chute into a crawl space beside a second-floor bedroom. That kind of problem solving makes my job fun.”
Dan also has experience with commercial electrical work, having done that in Vancouver.
“Powell River is really growing and changing, and I think that will continue for many more years,” he says. “I’m glad to be a part of that. The first thing that drew me here was the abundance of nature, but as I got to know the community, I really started to appreciate the culture of living in a smaller centre.
“Coming from the Lower Mainland, you feel like one grain of sand among many, whereas once you’ve been here long enough, you know people anywhere you go.”
Dan is also excited about the possibilities offered by new solar generation technology, which has come down in price enough to be more affordable for the average homeowner.
“The innovation we’re seeing in the renewable generation sector is very interesting,” says Dan. “The return on investment in a solar system has dropped from 25 years to 15, and that will keep going down as battery storage capacity gets better. And, being on the coast, our electricity goes down pretty often, so having solar and generator backups is starting to be on more people’s minds.
“Solar and generators are also the best things for cabins or remote locations, and I have done those installations.”
Dan and his wife Andrea, together with their four-year-old twins Oliver and Jada, are looking forward to what the future will bring.
“I love my work, I love this community, and I love the opportunities it affords my family,” he says. “I’m looking forward to growing with Powell River for a long time.”
To reach Dan with questions about electrical work, residents can call him at 604.223.7901, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.