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Electrician duo scales up

Outkast Electrical takes advantage of new development

Karen Morales
Electrician duo scales up
(l-r) Paul Gray and Kevin Scarlett, founders of Outkast Electrical Contractors, Inc. Banner Photo

Dorchester resident Paul Gray had worked for United Electrical for seven years before he started Outkast Electrical Contractors, Inc. in 1996 with his cousin, Kevin Scarlett, also a former United Electrical employee. 

“We started off just the two of us, working out of a van,” Gray says. “Over the years, we slowly grew the business, getting bigger clients, bigger jobs.”

Following in the footsteps of other family members who were in the same field, Gray received training at Leo Martin Vocational School in Dedham, Massachusetts.

“A lot of people helped us out,” says Gray. “Without the help of family and friends we wouldn’t be here.”

Outkast’s first customers were contractors that the cousins were familiar with as colleagues in the field, and through word of mouth, their clientele grew from residential, to commercial — and now, industrial contracts.

“We began with projects as small as $250,000 all the way to $2 million,” says Gray. “It took us 20 years to get us to that large project.”

Outkast’s largest project to date was the first phase of the Ashmont Treadmark, a mixed-use commercial and residential building in Dorchester.

The company operates all over Boston, but the main project sites have been in neighborhoods like Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan and the South End.

Although increased development and construction in Boston has brought uncertainty for some residents, the activity has given Outkast more business.

“We get about 12 different contracts on a regular basis, but we get requests for bids from all kinds of projects,” says Gray. “Right now, there’s so much work, we can pick and choose what we want to work on.”

The projects they choose usually depend on scheduling and how much manpower they have, says Gray.

Outkast now has a total of 17 employees, including office administration staff and 13 electricians out in the field.

According to Gray, Outkast is in the process of joining a local chapter in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union, “for expansion opportunities, larger contracts and the opportunity to work on downtown projects.”

Other expansion strategies for the company include Outkast’s partnership with Suffolk Construction and its enrollment in the Business Equity Initiative program with Eastern Bank.

Gray says both programs have been essential in helping grow the business and receive mentorship. “It’s opened doors for us and we have been able to meet people we normally wouldn’t meet,” he says.

Currently, Outkast is working on a $1.6 million contract project: the Marriott Residence Inn on Melnea Cass Boulevard. The new hotel is being built on the formerly vacant city lot, Parcel 9.