2021 Entrepreneur of the Year: Megan Doherty

President and CEO of F.D. Hayes Electric Co.

Whoever came up with the idiom that you shouldn’t change horses midstream never met Megan Doherty.

The Lansing native left Michigan State University in 2007 with a degree in animal science and agri-business management to successfully pursue a career as an Indianapolis-based professional equestrian. However, Doherty’s career path took an odd detour off the trail in 2014, when she returned to the family business at F.D. Hayes Electric Co.

She assumed the role of president and CEO after she her husband purchased the business from Doherty’s father in 2016 — and she’s been riding tall in the saddle ever since, growing the company and bringing its reputation and recognition to new heights. It’s why Doherty was selected as the Entrepreneur of the Year in the 2021 Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Awards.

“When I bought the company in 2016, I felt the enormity of the legacy left behind by the outgoing president of 35 years — my dad, Patrick Hayes,” Doherty said. “I quickly realized that in order for us to succeed, our future vision was as important as our legacy. I also knew I couldn’t do any of this alone. I’ve got a tremendously talented and dedicated team that uses their drive to carry out this vision every day. This award is a credit to our collective ability to develop a vision and then bring it to life.”

The Sparrow Advantage

Based in Lansing, F.D. Hayes Electric Co. is one of Michigan’s leading electrical contractors. The construction and facility services business provides electrical and telecommunication design and construction services to commercial, industrial and institutional facilities throughout the state. F.D. Hayes has been family owned and operated since its inception in 1923. Doherty is the fourth generation of the Hayes family to take the reins of the company.

Doherty grew up with the business, serving in a number of roles before being named as controller upon her return in 2014. In the time since she became president and CEO two years later, Doherty established two primary goals for the business. The first was to solidify F.D. Hayes’ position as a trusted community partner and elite construction partner with staying power for the next generation. The second was to become established in niche and developing markets that would complement F.D. Hayes’ existing line of business and propel future growth.

In line with those goals, F.D. Hayes strategically acquired three construction companies in mid-Michigan since 2018. The acquisitions and outlined targets for continued success has pushed F.D. Hayes back into a growth-success stage of business. Doherty also implemented the Entrepreneurial Operating System as the company’s management system and strategic planning tool in 2018, which has helped focus the business on its values, mission and vision.

Doherty has cemented the excellent reputation and longstanding community relationships established at F.D. Hayes by her father and developed a vision for further growth and success. Since taking ownership, the company has grown from 40 to 80 full-time employees and received recognition from within the industry for safety and standards. Building and maintaining strong relationships with both employees and clients has been a key to the continued success of the organization.

“Our customers value that they can call one provider to fulfill many of their facilities’ needs, and that we can save our customers time and money by being able streamline the delivery of our products and services,” Doherty wrote in her nomination form. “Most of our major customers today have a relationship over 20 years long with F.D. Hayes. Some of our longest-standing relationships go back over 50 years.”

In addition to clients, F.D. Hayes has continued its mission to play an active role in the community where its employees live and work by giving back and supporting such projects and initiatives as Women in Skilled Trades, The Davies Project, Mid-Michigan Recovery Services, Lansing Promise and other investments.

As for the future, Doherty said F.D. Hayes will continue to adapt innovative approaches to its work as times, attitudes and needs continue to evolve.

“Construction is an exciting place to be right now,” Doherty said. “With such a focus placed on clean energy right now, we are poised and ready to help our customers with all of their power needs: energy-efficient upgrades or new builds; low-voltage, structured cabling; AV needs; back-up generator power; and EV charging.”

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