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40 Under 40 - Class of 2015
Business Observer Friday, Oct. 16, 2015 5 years ago

David Connolly, 31

President, Mister Sparky Florida

David Connolly had a brief encounter with a spunky entrepreneur named Patrick Kennedy in 2007.

The owner of a Mister Sparky electrical services franchise in Sarasota, Kennedy came into the electrical supply house Connolly managed. Kennedy was there to open an account. Connolly glumly chatted with Kennedy about the recession, and how most electrical companies were shutting down.

Says Connolly: “He looked at me and said ‘I’m not participating in the recession.’”

To the then 23-year-old Connolly it was a remarkable show of confidence amid adversity. “It changed my outlook on life,” says Connolly. “It changed everything for me. I started to learn that if I look at things in a positive way and put my focus on things I can impact, nothing is out of reach.”

Connolly soon went to work for Kennedy at Mister Sparky, one of three home services franchise brands owned by Sarasota-based Direct Energy Services. Connolly started as a service technician. He worked his way up and last year he bought the business from Kennedy. Now that unit is one of the largest Mister Sparky franchises in North America, says a Direct Energy spokeswoman, with locations in Tampa, Miami and central Florida, in addition to Sarasota.

Connolly, besides running the business, helps train other Mister Sparky electricians. He remains grateful for the encounter with Kennedy, and the career boost it provided him. Being an entrepreneur and business owner, says Connolly, “is really fulfilling.”

— Mark Gordon


Name:  David Connolly

Age: 31

City of residence: Sarasota

Twitter handle: N/A

Employer:  Mister Sparky Florida

Title: President

Birthplace: Annapolis, Md.

Years on the Gulf Coast: 27

Marital status/children: Married, with one 9-year-old boy

Alma mater: I attended Manatee Technical Institute. I completed the electrical course while going to high school.

Best place to network: Franchise conventions

Coolest business experience: In 2007 I was managing an electrical supply house. The previous owner of Mister Sparky came into my office one day after meeting up with one of his new employees (in a brand new truck) in my parking lot. He was coming in to open an account. After talking with him a bit, I found out he was from out of town. Thinking I am doing him a favor, I told him that we were going through a recession and most electrical companies are shutting their doors. He looked at me and said, “I’m not participating in the recession.” It changed my whole outlook on business and in life. I started to learn that if I look at things in a positive way and put my focus on things I can impact, nothing is out of reach.

The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Perspective can change the outcome of a situation

One website that makes your job easier: Google

One community group you’re most involved with: Children’s Miracle Network

Favorite off-hours activity: Boating on the weekends

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Steve Jobs, Robin Williams

What you would be doing if you could pick another career: Accounting

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: Jumping off bridges when I was younger

What’s at the top of your bucket list: Traveling through Europe

What new skill would you like to learn: Speaking a new language

Who would play you in a movie about your life: Live Schreiber

If I had a magic wand I’d: go back in time with the knowledge I have today.

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