The year was 1974. Eric and Connie Netter began a small business called Dispatch Welding & Amp, Erectors (later changed to Electrical Builders, Inc.), out of their home near Beaver Lake, just north of Kimball.
Today, Electrical Builders is one of the nation’s leading high-power conductor service providers. It provides services in industrial electrical construction, power plant maintenance including servicing 60 percent of the domestic nuclear fleet and more than 3,000 projects at fossil, hydro and solar plants from coast to coast. EBI also works with many of the leading utilities including Exelon, Entergy, MidAmerican Energy, Midwest Generation, Phillips 66, Progress Energy, Xcel Energy, GRE, MN Power/Allete and PG&E.
But it didn’t always come easy for the Netters.
Connie, a New Hampshire native, had met Eric while they were both training in Mississippi with the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War era. They settled in Central Minnesota and Eric worked for a time with his father.
“A few short years after getting married, we founded what was then called Dispatch Welding & Erectors,” said Connie, who serves as president and chief executive officer of EBI. “I took care of the office and administrative functions and Eric performed the technical services in the field.”
“As a struggling new company with meager funds, four young children, and Eric working in the field for the first 27 years, work frequently rolled into the late hours of the night and weekends. Anyone who has started a business knows that it takes a lot of effort to maintain some sort of work/life balance. This becomes even more challenging when your partner is your spouse and you find your meal-time conversations engulfed with topics of business. However, we persevered and are very excited to be celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary this year as well.”
In 2005, the company purchased its first official office building in Clear Lake, Minn. During this time, their son Derick Netter, operations manager, and his spouse, Sara, office manager, began working for the company. In 2007, daughter Jessica (Netter) Ducharme, became a partner and filled the vice president of sales and marketing position.
“Since our inception, EBI has found our success in dedicating ourselves to pioneering new standards in the high power industrial electrical industry, setting and raising the bar in safety, efficiency, innovation, quality, leadership, customer service and technical expertise while maintaining the highest level of craftsmanship in the market,” said Eric, vice president of construction and company co-founder.
As growth and success of the company continued, in 2008 they moved into a new 25,000 square foot building in St. Cloud, equipped with an in-house fabrication shop for hard to find, obsolete components.
“It is gratifying to reflect back on the fact that we started as a two person team in 1974 and have grown to nearly 100 employees in 2013,” Connie said.
EBI has earned honors such as the “Key Contractor Award” for Bechtel Corporation for consecutive years. An owner also has been appointed to the Communication Committee of the American Nuclear Society.
The company holds an exclusive relationship with Doble Corporation for online EMI diagnostic testing at nuclear facilities in the U.S., and is frequently solicited to present best practices for inspection and maintenance to utility and power plant personnel worldwide.
As EBI looks to the future and another 40 years of success, exciting new opportunities are on the horizon for this steadily growing company.
Said Jessica Netter Ducharme: “A recent internal project we completed was the launch of our new website. As we were refining the technical details and finalizing content, it was overwhelming to read all the positive performance reviews and notes of appreciation from our clients. We want to express our utmost gratitude to all of our clients who have given us the opportunity to demonstrate our quality and expertise on their projects. We look forward to exceeding expectations for another 40 years and beyond.”
To learn more about EBI, please visit: www.electricalbuilders.com.