A leading-edge company, Shockwave Electric is firmly grounded
When Darren Cronin was a kid, he had the same aspirations as most boys—he would grow up to be a firefighter or policeman.
But when adulthood came and it was time to define his place in the world, it turned out to be the words of his grandfather that steered his direction. Carl Johnson had spent his life working at a series of nut and fruit farms in California. He told his grandson that if he could do it all over again, he would start his own business.
Those words resonated with Cronin. He’d started working early—as a teenager growing up in Kaneohe, he was already bagging groceries at Safeway and doing plumbing jobs on the side. He wasn’t afraid of hard work, was open to anything, and he liked working with his hands.
Then one day, the proverbial light bulb went on.
His dad, Frank Cronin, was building the family house in 1989 and had hired Bobby Ahu of High Tech Electric as his electrical contractor. Ahu asked Darren to work for him. “He taught me everything he knew,” says Cronin. “My education was entirely on-the-job training.”
By the time High Tech pulled up years later, Ahu’s insightful offer had opened a career door for Cronin. With seven years of electrical experience at High Tech under his belt, he quickly moved on to Castle Medical Center, where he worked another seven years as a maintenance electrician.
That was when his grandfather’s words began tugging at him. In 2001, a family man with a second baby on the way, Cronin decided to strike out on his own. A friend jokingly threw out a suggestion for a business name, and Cronin loved it. He and wife Michelle opened Shockwave Electric.
As business picked up, they added employees. Now Cronin runs the electrical side while Michelle keeps the books and runs the office. Daughter Kiana is now 7. And already their 17-year-old son, Brent, wants to learn electrical and train to become a radiology technician.
Shockwave’s customers include Denver Broncos owner Pat Bolan, who has a house on Oahu, as well as clothing designer Anne Namba, interior designer Mary Philpotts, and of course, RSVPstyle’s own home design diva, Cathy Lee. Services range all the way from basic wiring to the seemingly futuristic.
“We’re known for providing electrical, wiring, plugs, switches, lights and other electric contracting,” says Cronin. “As the times change, though, people want more for their homes. So we are learning more about the new technologies available.”
For example, one of the new systems uses the Internet to control and enable timers, which comes in handy for people who travel. They can check the security cameras and adjust timers on lights from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.
“It’s very space age,” Cronin says. “The newer stuff is more interesting, and constantly evolving. Now, with the integration of computers, home electrical systems are not just wiring.”
Eight years after he adopted his grandfather’s dream, Cronin is keeping current for his customers, figuratively and literally.
“His dream to start his own business just kind of stuck with me,” he says. “If he saw me today, he’d be so pleased.”