NORTH HAVEN—Keeping the lights working—and the furnace, water pump and cook stove—on an island means having a reliable electrician. This island has two: Tri-Digit Electric and Goodell Electric.
Goodell Electric, which recently expanded to hire a full-time employee, was founded in 2005, when owner/electrician Trenor Goodell moved with his family from Peaks Island to North Haven.
“I wanted to determine my own future and live where I wanted to, which was here,” he said. Goodell’s wife Jenni grew up on North Haven, and he said they pictured their three daughters growing up and going to school there.
Prior to earning his electrician’s license, Goodell, who earned a Masters degree in electrical engineering from University of Maine Orono, was a microelectronics design engineer in Portland.
“I worked for Bell Labs and Lucent and Agear,” he said. He was given the option of moving out of Maine or leaving his position, and opted for the latter, seizing the opportunity to get out from behind a desk.
“We showed up and there was an immediate demand,” he said. “I’ve barely had a day off since I arrived.”
Tri-Digit Electric was already well-established, and Goodell said there’s been enough business to support both.
Goodell Electric operates out of a workshop at Goodell’s house on South Shore Road.
“Our truck holds most of our materials for the day so that we don’t constantly have to be driving around looking for parts,” he said. The truck was purchased from a plumber on Peaks Island with a North Haven Development Corporation loan, he said.
Goodell handles predominantly residential work.
“It’s really fun to build with the island folks,” he said. “It’s noteworthy that these new-construction jobs pay the bills and that’s what makes me available to go change a lightbulb for somebody,” he said.
He also has done substantial work at Turner Farm, including on the new greenhouses there.
“They’re fully automated. It has a weather station, and a shade curtain that opens and closes,” he said.
“When the summer visitors are here we have demand. Sometimes six people couldn’t handle the work,” Goodell said. He was able this year to hire an electrician’s helper, Cora Comstock. When Comstock planned a move to Portland, Goodell hired Toni Vacca, who was leaving her job as bus driver for North Haven Community School.
“I really needed somebody with an interest in the field, and with the drive and motivation to learn and show up every day,” Goodell said.
Vacca seems to fit the bill on all those counts.
“I love it,” she said. Vacca had no prior experience as an electrician but said “I’ve learned more in a month than I have in the past three years. Trenor is a patient and good teacher.”
In addition to his electrical work, Goodell serves on the town fire crew.
“He’s always ready to jump and drive somewhere,” said his youngest daughter, 13-year-old Macy. Her two sisters, 15- and 16-years-old, attend Maine School of Math and Science in Limestone.
Goodell said he enjoys “country living” on North Haven. “For every generation I can remember the Goodells have had a garden,” he said. Goodell grows a variety of vegetables and fruit on his 2.5 acres. Although his family originally purchased a house on upper Main Street, they moved out of town in 2007.
“We wanted to move out of town so we could have the garden, heat with wood, have cats,” he said.
Goodell appreciates getting out from behind an engineer’s desk.
“I’m way more physically active,” Goodell said, “and being self-reliant and in charge of your destiny is worth something.”
From high-tech automation to small repairs, Goodell Electric serves all.
“You have to do everything,” he said. “It’s an island. Who else would do it?”