Local Leaders

Holiday job ignited extraordinary career path for Detlev’s electrical services boss

Katrina Condie26 June 2021
Grae Munroe sitting in Detlev's electrical services van

Grae Munroe now runs his family’s electrical business, Detlev’s, that has a $6 million annual turnover. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

A school holiday job of stripping machines for spare parts sparked Grae Munro’s passion for appliances and electrical.

He attended Erindale College, where he began working at Detlev’s electrical services as a casual employee on weekends and school holidays.

His first role was entry level, stripping machines and managing minor workshop repairs.

That’s when he first discovered his interest in the electrical industry… and an interest for his boss’s daughter!

Although his grades were good enough to enrol into university, Grae says he was not interested in taking that path.

“Like a lot of my peers, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life at that time so I figured I might take up the offer from Detlev’s, subcontracting to install whitegoods,” he says.

“Since I was only 17, I figured I would make some reasonable money and study building at CIT [Canberra Institute of Technology] while I figured out my life.

“After 18 months, the burning desire to start a career and make something of myself was undeniable.”

Fast-forward 17 years, Grae and his now wife, Stephanie, are running the extremely successful family electrical business.

The couple has two children and they are heavily involved in their community, something Grae says has always been very important to him.

As Detlev’s managing director, Grae is holding up the company’s reputation for going above and beyond to provide six-star personalised service every time.

Detlev’s has been delivering bespoke, high-quality electrical installation and maintenance projects to the Canberra community for more than 30 years, and Grae has a vision to keep growing the business.

“I’ve always been pretty business minded and I always strive for success in whatever I do,” he says.

“After managing the company for more than five years, I took over two years ago.

“It was very appliance based and I’ve focused on diversifying into other markets so that’s why we are now recognised as Canberra’s leaders in appliance, electrical and automation.

“We have built and managed a strong network of professionals across the residential and commercial sector.

“It feels great to be a part of building a strong future for our city and the people who live here.”

Grae works alongside his brother-in-law, Scott Mukojid – who married Stephanie’s sister – and who Grae says is also very driven, bringing another dynamic to the team.

Grae Munroe finding parts on shelf in Detlev's electrical services van

Grae Munroe started out working for Detlev’s during the school holidays and now he runs the business with his wife, Stephanie. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Together they are building the automation side of the Detlev’s business, recently installing a flagship smart home system for Shane, a National Disability Insurance Scheme client, giving him back his independence and also reducing the need for full-time in-home care.

“It’s fantastic to be able to have such an impact on people’s lives,” says Grae. “This is the kind of project I really love.”

With a team of more than 40 staff, from tradies to project managers, Grae says his mission is to build a “really good workforce” and to take on projects “that make a difference in people’s lives”.

Detlev’s continues to take on large commercial projects and they’re working on new technology to make buildings smarter and greener.

Grae says providing a holistic approach, with greener outcomes for buildings, and providing a better life for individuals makes him proud.

At the age of 35, Grae is running a company that turns over $6 million annually and has seen a 40 per cent increase in profit year-on-year for the past two years since he took the reins.

He says working with family and holding up the excellent reputation of the business is important to him. And having his father-in-law, Detlev Raese, around for support is an added bonus.

READ ALSO: Detlev’s smart homes changing the lives of NDIS clients

“It’s a fantastic family business,” says Grae. “Family and friends are so important to me – our house is always filled with people and children having fun.”

When Grae and Stephanie are not hard at work, they enjoy taking time out with their family.

“We enjoy good food, good company, adventure trips and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle,” says Grae.

With more than 15 years’ of electrical experience, Grae has completed myriad projects across Australia.

His knowledge and expertise in electrical maintenance and installation provide clients with comfort and confidence knowing their projects are in safe hands.

For more information on the company’s current projects and innovative home automation, visit Detlev’s electrical services.

Original Article published by Katrina Condie on The RiotACT.

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