Founding Member: Electric Construction Company
Change is constant in business. Throw in a global pandemic, technological advances and an evolving economy, and the Sioux Falls of 2022 looks vastly different than the Sioux Falls of 1922 or 1907, or even earlier.
Several long-established businesses in the area hold the designation as “founding members” of the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce. This means they were early investors in the city’s premier business organization and have maintained their Chamber membership for 100 years or more; through changes in name, location or even ownership. The constant has been their belief in investing in Sioux Falls.
Electric Construction Company
In 1906, Sioux Falls streetlights still operated on fuel. Electric Construction Company was formed by Herman Clause and T.G. Cook, to build the lines that brought electricity to the city.
Today Electric Construction still does residential, commercial and industrial wiring and is one of the largest and oldest electrical contractors in the state. The company was owned by the Kuhle family from 1940-2012 and then purchased by several employees — Damon Dykstra, Jay Soderquist and Duane Mergen. Later Ben Delay and Justin Koepp bought out Mergen.
The company was known as Electric Construction & Appliance until 1984 when the appliance portion separated to become its own company and the construction portion focused solely on contracting work.
“We still do service work for residential and commercial,” said Damon Dysktra, Vice President. “Our primary work is with commercial and industrial. Smithfield Foods, Wells Fargo Banks, SDN Communications are just a few of the larger customers we do work for.”
Electric Construction has completed large scale projects from the Ft. Randall Dam in Pickstown, South Dakota to retail shops at Lake Lorraine in Sioux Falls. The core of the business is in the Sioux Falls area, but their footprint expanded to include Wagner in 2016 and Brookings in 2018. Some customers have worked with Electric Construction since its early days.
Slow and steady growth over the years has also seen the number of employees nearly double since the early 2000s, Dykstra said, to approximately 140-160 employees today.
The future of their industry includes renewable energy and solar energy. Continuing to expand the company’s physical location is also a possibility.
“We’re still navigating growth within the company and facing employee challenges with the workforce shortage,” Dykstra said.
Dykstra and his partners appreciate the work that the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce does on behalf of the business community, Dykstra said. He and his team can focus on their day-to-day needs, knowing that the Chamber is maintaining the growth of the Sioux Falls area. Each member of the ownership group started out as an apprentice, working their way through journeyman and foreman positions before moving into the office.
As a young partner coming in, Dykstra was told that support of organizations like the Chamber was the right thing to do and pays dividends — and that the new owners should remain members. So they did. “The Chamber does great work. It’s an easy decision to pay our dues,” Dykstra said.