Saturday, October 21st, 2017

S Shopper Stories


W.T. FRANCIS ELECTRIC COMPANY, LLC

Former Navy electrician serving the community for over 30 years

by Kay Carey


Bill Francis and The Shopper Publisher Jean Loxley-Barnard

Bill Francis and The Shopper Publisher Jean Loxley-Barnard

Bill Francis believes in taking care of people, and it shows. He’s not just a guy with a tool belt strapped around his waist; he is a big-hearted community humanitarian.

As the owner of W.T. Francis Electric Company, his mission is to provide quality, affordable electrical service. His philosophy of service started years ago when he joined the U.S. Navy. Originally from Syracuse, NY, he was stationed in Norfolk and worked as an electrician. Bill explains, “When the placement officer asked what field I was interested in, I told him that my grandfather was an electrician. ‘Electrician it is, then,’ he replied. And that was that.”

Bill is a master electrician, and also holds a degree in industrial controls from Tidewater Community College as well as an advanced certification in organizational leadership from Syracuse University. He and his wife, Rita, who is the company’s bookkeeper, have an adult daughter, Rachel, and two grand-dogs named Max and Moxie.

Rachel describes her dad as extremely charitable. One day as he was volunteering in the clothing closet at the People in Need Ministry, he saw that the things needed the most weren’t available that day. He ran out to the store and came back with armfuls of new garments to fill that need. When he heard tennis shoes were needed, he started a drive at his gym, and presented PiN with 20 pairs of tennis shoes in good condition to share with the homeless. At the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center, Bill has generously volunteered to fund one of their weekly Saturday breakfasts for those in need on at least one occasion.

The Alzheimer’s Association of Southeast Virginia plays a large role in Bill’s life. His mother-in-law, Rosie Ward, is in the late stages of the disease. Both Bill and Rita volunteer at the organization’s fundraisers, attend meetings and provide support wherever they are needed. Rachel is a member of the chapter’s Board of Directors.

“Like so many families in our community, ours has been affected by this debilitating and devastating disease. We want to do everything we can to help other families deal with the many issues it brings and eventually to eliminate it,” Bill affirms. Rosie was diagnosed five years ago at age 74 with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Today, she doesn’t recall that she has children or grandchildren, can’t bathe, dress or feed herself, and cannot connect with anyone or anything around her again.

Bill started W.T. Francis Electric Company in 1986. He employed several electricians and grew the company into a thriving business. But Bill felt the size of the company distanced him from providing personalized service to each client, and he made the decision to downsize his business and handle every job himself.

“My clients deserve the best possible service. It’s extremely important to me that I ensure the quality of my work and my integrity, and I back up everything I do 100 percent,” the electrical expert declares.

The company serves Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach. “We sometimes forget how dependent we are on electricity -- until something breaks or something new needs to be installed. And there is no job too small,” Bill assures.


“Whether the job is small or large,
we take the time to communicate with our customers,
provide safe and efficient electrical work and hope that
we will be able to serve them again
whenever they have additional needs.”

—Bill Francis


Jean Loxley-Barnard, The Shopper publisher and owner, has trusted Bill for many years. “Bill has been my electrician for my business and my home for about 20 years. He is a master electrician in every possible sense. I used to own a very old commercial building that was really in need of a lot of work, and I was thrilled that I had him to keep an eye on it so that I could feel safe there. He still takes care of our current building where we create our publications, as well as our home. He is a gentleman to work with and he has become a friend to my husband, Terry, and me. We both think the world of Bill Francis and recommend him to everyone.”

Daniel McDonald of Suffolk had a challenge. “I have an older home and had Bill come out to solve a complex wiring issue that had perplexed two other electricians He diagnosed and fixed it within 20 minutes, along with repairing an outlet he wasn’t originally scheduled to work on. I am very pleased and will definitely call him again with any other electrical issues that pop up.”

Bill is known for looking out for his customers’ best interests. For example, he recommends LED lights; not only do they reduce electrical costs over time, but Dominion Energy offers rebates for installation to off-set some of those expenses. That’s a win-win for his clients.

Bill takes care of his customers in other ways, too, although he is very humble about it and prefers not to take credit for going above and beyond. If he sees something that needs to be done, he just does it, whether it was part of the original job or not. Lori Granger called Bill for an electrical problem in her home. On his way out, Bill noticed the garage door opener was broken, with some parts hanging from the ceiling. Before Lori knew it, Bill had fixed it at no extra charge.


Bill, Rachel and Rita Francis with their beloved dogs, Yorkie, Max and German shepherd, Moxie

Bill, Rachel and Rita Francis with their beloved dogs, Yorkie, Max and German shepherd, Moxie


Running keeps Bill healthy. He runs a couple of times a week, sometimes with Rachel at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. He has run in half-marathons, including one in Syracuse last year and the Shamrock in Virginia Beach this year.

Bill and Rita love the adventure and excitement of traveling, especially seeing new sights and trying new foods. They have been to Alaska, the Caribbean and Europe.

The history and art of Italy, particularly Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican, have left a permanent imprint on Bill. “And it’s amazing that the 2000 year old ruins of the Colosseum exist side by side with modern buildings and technology,” Bill remarks. He also did “the cowboy thing” on a trip to Montana, riding horses and trying his hand with a lasso. “It’s not that easy, but I sort of got the hang of it,” he comments, with typical modesty.

W.T. Francis Electric Company is dedicated to the values of hard work, service and honesty. Bill sums up his way of thinking: “Every project receives the same treatment based on these values. Whether small or large, we take the time to communicate with our customers, provide safe and efficient electrical work and hope that we will be able to serve them again whenever they have additional needs.”




WT Francis Electric

757-724-6933