by Ben Schooley
Ira Smoot, owner of Survivor Electric, is no stranger to getting his hands a little dirty. Having been learning the electrician trade since his teen years, Smoot has ultimately transitioned to the role of business owner, and has fast filled his schedule with great clients…while maintaining the flexibility that his life requires as the father to 4 children.
“Let’s just say I’m from the extreme east side of San Antonio”, Smoot laughs as he begins. “My dad was a firefighter and mom was a Travel agent. I started doing electrical work when I was in high school for the family company called Tim Smoot Electric, who is a cousin of mine. I was just a helper. I liked it then, because I always liked the physical labor – because let’s be honest, I wasn’t always the best student. I knew college wasn’t for me. But that’s what got me started and within 3 months I knew that I really liked it, so I turned 17, started working more and more doing the electric work and I knew that I would become an electrician, which was a blessing as most kids don’t have that clarity.”
With his career path decided, Smoot began the process of getting the education necessary to perform at the highest level. He continues, “In the electrical industry, it’s all on the job training. You can do trade school and that furthers your licensing, but I never did that. I just went straight into the workforce and learned hands-on. You have a 4 step license which begins with Apprentice, then you have to do a certain amount of years and hours to step up through the levels of licenses until you are a Master Electrician, which I am now.”
But that journey from Apprentice to Master Electrician was not a fast process for Smoot. He continues, “I was an Apprentice at 17. I wasn’t a Master Electrician until I was 43. Most people stop at the Journeyman license unless you want to own your own business, which I did. I had worked for Tim Smoot Electric, Profile Electric, and Turney Electric…and I so appreciated all of my employers. They gave me such great experience, but I knew it was time to do my own thing, and I finally went full time on my own in ‘21.”
Working with his business partner, Mike Ploch, who just so happens to be the same man that has trained Smoot since he was 19, the duo have fast filled their schedules. “When the two of us show up, you are getting two extremely knowledgeable electricians and we take tremendous pride in the service we provide.”
Since the business has gotten started, Smoot and his partner have remained extremely busy, typically booked a solid 2 weeks in advance. That volume of clients is exclusively from referrals, and for that, Smoot is quite humbled. “I tell you what – my business is basically 100% word of mouth and the people of Kendall County have absolutely kept me busy and have helped me realize my dreams. If it wasn’t for the word of mouth from my neighbors, I wouldn’t have the work. I don’t advertise at all…it’s all about connections and I’m so grateful for their help.” For that support, Smoot returns some of his time and energies back toward the community.
“I’m a Director with the Kendall County Junior Livestock Association as well as a Board Member for the Youth Agricultural & Equestrian Center. My family stay busy with the rodeos and agricultural events, and we take great pride in that.”
Allison (wife), and children (Mason, Jatin, Sloan, and Tegan) remain deeply connected locally, and Smoot works tirelessly to guide his family for now and in the future. “Mason wants to be an engineer. Jatin thinks the military is for him. Sloan wants to be a trashman or something, I think! Tegan wants be a vet. If my children are successful, I’m good with all of their choices. I just want them to be happy and successful and to follow God and have a successful life. I’ve done that, and I’d wish that for them. I thank God every single day for my blessings.”