How Smith & Keene Became A Hampton Roads Tradition

Archie Smith, Sr. and E. G. Keene, Sr.In 1947, two electricians at Newport News Shipyard, , decided to put their skills and knowledge of electrical wiring to work. They started Smith & Keene Electric Service, Inc., in Archie Smith's garage in Newport News, building their business on quick service, quality workmanship and superior equipment.

Smith & Keene developed its own organized method of wiring and placed a power generator at job sites, so construction crews could use their power tools and get the work done faster. As a result, the company grew along with the boom in Southeastern Virginia, opening offices in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

They also began doing work outside the area in Greensboro, Durham, Raleigh and Wilmington, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; and Roanoke, Virginia. They opened new divisions for Heating & Air Conditioning, Retail, Plumbing, and Commercial Heating and Air Conditioning.

In 1974, Mr. Smith, Sr. retired from the business, and his son Archie Smith, Jr., became a full partner. Mr. Smith, Jr.'s sons Gary and Tim Smith joined the firm. Mr. Keene, Sr.'s son, Emmett Keene, Jr., became the company's second electrical estimator. Mr. E. Gilbert Keene, Sr., the remaining founding partner, retired after 40 years in the business. His son, Emmett Keene, Jr., took up the reigns as a full partner. Finally in 1996, our company's third generation of ownership began when Gary and Tim Smith were made partners in the business.

Respecting and relying on the foundation created by its founding fathers. Growing and expanding to meet the needs of area businesses and homeowners. Maintaining a reliable and talented group of people in their workforce. Ensuring continuity at the same time it introduces innovation. That's the kind of thinking and action that has made Smith & Keene what it is today.

After more than 60 years of success, the many families that make up Smith & Keene look forward to providing our customers with quick service, quality workmanship, and good equipment for the next 60 years.

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