How One Pennsylvania Woman is Redefining Our Image of Electricians
Laura McManus is the founder and owner of Little Light of Mine, and part of the Cyr Team’s network of skilled service providers for homeowners. Laura is a woman who has blazed her own trail, following her heart to build a successful business doing something that she loves. Her passion for her work shines through in everything she does, and her outstanding online reviews stand in testament to her quality. Laura has been an electrician since 2008 and started Little Light of Mine Electric in 2017.
Laura specializes in residential electrical work, preferring homes that are already completed over new construction jobs. A lot of the work done by Laura and Little Light of Mine is centered around “convenience fixes” and upgrades; adding lighting, swapping out old, ugly fixtures for prettier and more efficient ones, changing a pull chain light over to a switch. The electrical and lighting layout of a home is so important to the overall look and feel of the space, but people tend not to realize how much of a difference even a small change can make.
We had the opportunity to chat with Laura about her business, her experiences, and her passions. Here’s what she had to say.
What Sets Little Light of Mine Apart From Other Businesses?
One of Laura’s loves (and maybe even a “subspecialty”) is learning about new products so that she can offer the perfect solution to every single one of her clients. In general, the average homeowner simply isn’t up to date on the latest trends in home lighting and electrical options, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in them. “It’s about learning about the products and then talking to customers,” Laura explained. There is something that would be a great fit here, and they probably don’t know about it. I can end up doing a lot of smart home upgrades because of this as well,” but she notes that most of her clients had never heard of these types of solutions prior to her consultation. It’s important for customers to be able to make an informed decision about the service they receive and the options they have.
Absolutely nothing is worse than spending money on an acceptable upgrade only to find out later that you could have had an incredible upgrade. “My favorite thing is when I’m all done, and people are really excited about it. If I can offer them the ‘fun things,’ then that happens. Otherwise, it’s just ‘oh, there’s another outlet now.’ It’s more fun when it’s fun!”
How Did You End Up Becoming an Electrician?
When people are very passionate about their jobs, it’s always interesting to hear how they ended up there. Some people have always known what they wanted to be, while others find that life takes them where they needed to go. For Laura, it was a bit of both. “I kind of fell into it,” she said. Laura’s mother, a dentist, frequently went to Puerto Rico on volunteer missions to lend a helping hand. When Laura was a teenager, her mother started taking the family with her for a week out of the year.
“One year, they assigned my dad and me to change out some fixtures from single keyless fixtures, like a pull-chain closet light, to four-foot fluorescent fixtures. It made a really big difference!” This was the pivotal moment for Laura, remarking that “it kind of struck me.” She was a freshman in high school at that point, but has never forgotten how it felt to make a positive impact.
How Does it Feel to be a Woman in a Male-Dominated Industry?
If you’re thinking “wow, there can’t be that many female electricians around, can there?” you’d be right! As of 2016, only about 3% of electricians in the US are women. That’s more than just a gender imbalance in the works – that’s a landslide of a difference. But for Laura, she’s never really felt out of place at work. “I’ve always done the male-dominated kind of activities,” she told us. “I played the drums,” she reflected, “I was on a roller hockey team in middle school. So this was never really a culture shock for me, because it’s kind of been that way always.”
When we asked Laura if she has ever had a bad experience, her response was light, encouraging, and upbeat. “There’s been a mix, I’d say. There’s been some bad, but mostly, when I’ve gotten onto a job site and people see me working and getting the job done, I’ve had overall a very, very positive experience.”
A Little Light Making the World a Brighter Place
It’s clear that those teenage trips to Puerto Rico influenced more than just Laura’s career choice. They also instilled in her a deep love of volunteering. Laura has donated her time and effort during three different volunteer trips with Appalachia Service Project to help Americans in need, and she also donates 5% of her profits to a different charity each month.
The full list of charities that Little Light of Mine Electric has supported can be found on their website here. There are two things you’ll notice about Laura’s charitable giving: first, the diversity of the causes she has donated to, and second, the transparency with which she reports her giving. Clients of Little Light of Mine has helped Laura donate to organizations like St. Jude, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Postpartum Support International, and UNICEF, amongst others. Each organization shown also lists the amount and date of the donations.
If you’re in need of electrical work in Pennsylvania, you can find Little Light of Mine Electric at their website or on Facebook.
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