Building a line of new VR training simulations for a trade is a complex job — no one can do it alone! That’s why Trio Electric and Transfr teamed up to build an industry-defining package of simulations designed to help programs of all kinds give their trainees a background in essential skills for the field, making them more effective on day one.
We sat down with Trio CEO Beau Pollock and Transfr CEO Bharani Rajakumar, and labor expert Eric Seleznow from Jobs for the Future for a fun, fast-paced conversation on the electrical industry, Trio’s unique program, and the future of electrical construction training.
Executive Produced by Alexandra Zaccaria
Produced by Jack Cieslak & Ryan McLaughlin
Recorded, Mixed, Edited by Ryan McLaughlin
Music by Ryan McLaughlin
Senior Advisor and Founder
Eric M. Seleznow has been an apprenticeship, workforce development and reentry expert for more than 30 years. He was the former executive director and founder of JFF's Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning. Prior to joining JFF, Eric served as the principal deputy assistant secretary for the US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, where he focused on implementing the Obama administration’s vision for workforce development, skills training, and registered apprenticeship. Before joining DOL, Eric served as state policy director for the National Skills Coalition, executive director of the Maryland Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and local workforce board director for the Montgomery County (MD) Department of Economic Development. His experience also includes nearly 20 years in the corrections system operating jail-based training, employment, and pre-release programs—re-entry efforts for which he is still regarded as a national expert.
Eric was born and raised in the DC metro area and currently resides in Washington, D.C., and the Delaware shore.
President & CEO
Having grown up around the electrical business, Beau decided to take a different route after graduating from college. Before joining TRIO, Beau was a principal with The Mercanti Group (TMG), a merchant bank in their Los Angeles office which was purchased by Imperial Capital. Prior to TMG, Beau was with Merrill Lynch & Co. in the Mergers & Acquisitions group in Chicago. After spending almost 8 years in the investment banking business, Beau decided to pursue the inevitable by joining his father in the electrical field at TRIO Electric which was established in 2003.
Since arriving at TRIO Electric in 2005, Beau has assumed various management roles including warehouse operations, pre-fab, project management, estimating, service and HR. As a project manager/estimator, Beau completed more than 500 projects (ground up and tenant build out). He now serves as the firm’s President & CEO. Under Beau’s leadership, TRIO has continued to grow and diversify geographically and operationally. TRIO Electric has become one of the largest electrical contracting firms in Houston and Austin and is now performing electrical design, construction and service projects for commercial, light industrial and multi-family clients across Texas and occasionally in other states.
In an effort to support TRIO Electric’s growth, Beau developed an in-house Department of Labor (DOL) approved 4-year electrical apprenticeship training program called the TRIO Apprenticeship Program (TAP). In 2017, TRIO refined the program by forming a unique partnership with independent school districts, charter schools and community colleges to offer electrical training to high school students called the TRIO Pre-Apprenticeship Program (TPAP). In just three years, more than 750 students will be enrolled in TPAP. In 2018, TRIO Education was spun-out of TRIO Electric to continue the success of TAP & TPAP and focus on curriculum development and training to address the skilled labor shortage in the construction industry.
Under Beau’s leadership, TRIO also launched TRIO Talent, a staffing business designed to recruit, and place electricians produced from TPAP & TAP and the industry at large that cannot be utilized by TRIO’s core business. TRIO Talent has placed electricians all over the United States to assist contractors on their projects. In 2020, TRIO Talent was sold to BUILDFORCE, a software company helping construction firms simplify their HR and hire the best construction workers. Beau is also the Managing Director of Diversified Capital Holdings (DCH) and JBP Investments, which has investments in numerous real estate and other business ventures across the United States.
Beau graduated with honors from Washington University in St. Louis with a double major in finance and marketing and a minor in pre-medicine. He has his Master Electrician license and has attended courses in electrical estimating and design. He is a graduate of the Electrical Project Management Institute at Purdu and is a LEED AP-O&M. Beau is an active volunteer at Congregation Emanu El in Houston and serves on several corporate boards including BUILDFORCE, C2C Technical Services, Hamilton Health Box, and Mikada Holdings. Beau is also a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and currently serves on the Executive Board of the Houston Chapter. In his spare time, Beau enjoys being outdoors on the water or in the mountains. He is married to his college sweetheart Sarah who is a CPA and amazing mother to their three children Bryce (16), Marin (12) and Grahm (5) and two dogs.
Founder & CEO
Bharani Rajakumar is an education technology entrepreneur who focuses on developing learning experiences that simulate the effectiveness of learning from an expert. He is the founder and CEO of Transfr, which is on a mission to create alternative pathways to career success and upward mobility through intuitive learning methods. The company provides training simulations in virtual reality to help people acquire the skills needed to get a job.
Prior to Transfr, Bharani completed his MBA at Carnegie Mellon where he launched his first start-up, LearnBop, an automated tutoring software for teaching mathematics. The company won several awards and was eventually acquired by Stride (LRN). Prior to working in education, Bharani worked in the financial services industry where he saw first hand how technology could dramatically improve performance. Bharani is a proud graduate of the University of Florida where he received a Bachelor of Science in Finance