Alums Power Vaccine Villages

May 30, 2021
PHOTO COURTESY GRIFFIN ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS
The “vaccine village” set up by Griffen Electrical Contractors at the Pratt & Whitney runway in East Hartford.
 
If you receive your Covid-19 vaccine at one of Connecticut’s large drive-thru clinics, there’s a little bit of Silver Lake in your shot!

Griffin Electrical Contractors, owned by Silver Lake alumni Ken and Sean Griffin (Camp Family 1985 and ETF 1986), designed and built the electric infrastructure for Community Health Center’s “vaccine villages” at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Stamford, The Danbury Fair Mall, and Wesleyan University in Middletown. Getting the vaccine centers up and running required speed, cooperation, and creativity. Their first site was Rentschler Field, essentially a vacant lot with no electricity. They had only four days to design and build a vaccine village with 600 amp power, specialized equipment, and redundant generators.

“On Thursday I was standing on the tarmac with nothing there,” Ken said. “By Sunday night we had the thing powered up, lit up, and ready for vaccines on Monday.”

The sites in Danbury, Middletown, and Stamford were a little easier (they had off-street power), but all of them had unique challenges and all of them were built on quick deadlines. The Griffins were able to use long-standing relationships with companies in the electrical supply business to get equipment to the projects on tight turnarounds.

The Griffin Electrical staff was up for the historic challenge. “It brought our guys together,” Ken said. “They jumped to it. If it was Saturday, Sunday, rain, snow. It united our staff to get these places up and running.”
 
PHOTO COURTESY KEN & SEAN GRIFFIN
Ken and Sean Griffin (on shoulders) at camp in the 1980s with counselors Rodney Brown and David Gifford and two other campers.
Sean, Ken, and a third partner started Griffin Electrical Contractors in 1997 with, as Sean says, “a van and a credit card!” The company has grown leaps and bounds over the years, to 75 employees (and still hiring) and several major projects completed. Griffin Electric’s work includes Hartford Tower, Cigna, Seabury, and Sikorsky.

The Griffins say Silver Lake is foundational to their success. Ken recalls learning a work ethic on Camp Family, making sure dishes and freds were “Spanky clean” for a perfect health inspection score. “We strive for that today. To make sure everything is done right and correctly.” Sean’s experiences working in community at Silver Lake gave him valuable human resources skills for his professional life. “Building teams and working together with other people. You go to camp and you’re working with people you’ve never met before, and you have to work with dynamics of people’s personalities,” he said. “That’s pretty much what we do now on a daily basis. We build teams and have people work together that can work together.” Of course, the Griffins have fond memories of early morning stretching and mentoring from Camp Family Dad, Bryan Breault, mowing straight lines for Alden, and walks up and down the hill morning, noon, night!

When you get your Covid vaccine shot, look for the Griffin Electric sign and sing a Silver Lake song as you wait your 15 minutes!

You can learn more about Griffin Electrical Contractors at www.griffinelectricalinc.com.

By Brian Lapis

Silver Lake Conference Center

Silver Lake Conference Center is a ministry of the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ.
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