Our Company

Responsive and Reliable

ESCO Group has been built upon the blood, sweat, and tears of many people throughout our past generations. As we continue to grow into the future, we are focused on world-class results for our clients. We will always celebrate our past legacy that has made us the responsive and reliable company we are from yesterday to today.  -Ray Brown, CEO, ESCO Group

Our History

Founded in 1964 by Wayne and Shirley Engle, ESCO was a small electrical contractor that was run out of the Engle home. By the early to mid-1970s, ESCO had grown into one of the most successful electrical companies in the Midwest, working on both residential and commercial projects, such as the Hiawatha Post Office, the Stouffer’s Hotel in downtown Cedar Rapids, the Ground Transportation Center, and the APAC building. ESCO also saw opportunities outside of the residential and commercial markets and began growing the business in the industrial markets, first acquiring General Mills and Quaker Oats as clients then adding more Fortune 500 companies to ESCO’s client list.

When ESCO moved into its second generation of ownership, Dave Engle, Wayne and Shirley’s son, was in charge and moved the company further into the industrial market, saying goodbye to the residential market. ESCO experienced a lot of growth and, to this day, continues to enjoy vast diversification in clients within several markets such as food and beverage, seed and seed research, oilseed, municipalities, and OEM. With ESCO heading into its fourth generation of ownership, growth and subject matter expertise is in focus. ESCO is now 40% employee-owned with a forecast of 100% employee ownership within five years.

ESCO Group History

1964

1964

1964

ESCO was founded by Wayne Engle as a small electrical contractor called E&S Electric. Wayne and his business partner, Larry Swan, completed their first commercial project – the Post Office located in Hiawatha, Iowa, that still stands today. Shortly after forming E&S Electric, Wayne bought Larry out, and ran E&S Electric until the mid 1980s when he added his two sons, Dave and Dan. From 1964 to 1985, E&S Electric expanded, doing business in five different states with over five branch offices. The primary focus was wiring street lights, commercial projects, light industrial projects, and residential homes for Skogman Construction.

1982

1982

1982

Wayne started to diversify the business and took a lead role in the development of the Cedar Rapids Ground Transportation Center. As the first building to actually face north in downtown Cedar Rapids, what was to be called the Engle Center changed the landscape of Cedar Rapids forever.

1986

1986

1986

The business was reorganized into two business units with new leadership. Wayne’s oldest son, Dave Engle, became CEO while his brother, Dan Engle, became a business partner. Dave’s role as CEO focused on business development, while Dan ran operations along with Wayne.

 

E&S Company dropped the “&”, becoming ESCO Electric Service, Inc. and ESCO Electric Company. ESCO Electric Service focused on the residential homes market, while ESCO Electric Company would focus on commercial and industrial markets.

1988

1988

1988

With industrial automation becoming a frequent topic of discussion during the 1980s, both Dave and Wayne recognized that a new skill set was needed to compliment the electrical construction division. These skills included electrical design and programming to automate manufacturing plants. After being awarded an electrical project at General Mills to install a new conveyor and packaging system, Automation Systems and Control (now the automation business unit of ESCO Group) was founded.

1994

1994

1994

With growing competition in the residential market reducing project margins below sustainable levels, Dan and Dave made the decision to shut down the residential unit and focus resources back into the more profitable markets of industrial, commercial, and automation.

1994

1994

1994

To expand our reach, ESCO opened an office in Des Moines, Iowa.

1995

1995

1995

The growing capabilities of the ESCO business units caused Dave and Dan to make the decision of picking a fictitious name, ESCO Group, in order to market combined service as a group, while still providing services and capabilities separately in each business unit.

1996

1996

1996

Dave became the sole shareholder of ESCO Group and Wayne continued working for ESCO as a business advisor, in business development, and as a project manager. Due to the potential of electrical deregulation, Wayne and Dave strategically started a new company called Lambda Lambda Lambda (doing business as ESCO Energy Services, “EESCO”). This company focused on providing electrical engineering services for municipalities with pending potential of the deregulation of the utilities industry in Iowa. This company was led by Wayne Engle and was eventually led by shareholder, Lynn Hamrick. ESCO Energy Services went on to become a leader in NETA testing companies.

2005

2005

2005

After seeing a need for training ESCO clients in the standards of OSHA and NFPA 70E, a new business unit was created, ESCO Safety, led by John Luke. John visited clients onsite and delivered 4-hour and 8-hour safety presentations to make sure ESCO clients knew how to stay compliant and safe at work.

2006

2006

2006

ESCO Group, now comprised of ESCO Electric, ESCO Automation, and ESCO Energy Services, needed a succession plan and although ESCO was not ready yet, first discussions of being employee-owned began. Dave Engle chose five key employees who believed in the same company cultural ideals and divided 80% of the ownership among them. After a successful transaction, the new owners were as followers: Jamie Shea, Mike Miller, Lynn Hamrick, John Luke, and Ray Brown who all understood servant leadership and put the employee first in order to achieve world class results for the clients.

 

Wayne Engle officially retired. Today, Wayne still remains close to ESCO Group and is currently the mentor of the current CEO, Ray Brown.

2008

2008

2008

ESCO stepped into action when our clients and community needed help to recover from the epic flood that overtook Cedar Rapids, Iowa in June 2008. Our employees worked many hours in a short time to respond to the needs of our community. In a very trying time, ESCO was proud to power through and assist those in need. Many of our employees volunteered to fill sandbags and help small businesses protect their stores and homes, while our electricians worked non-stop to get our local plants back up and running. Many of our engineers worked night and day to get the city’s municipals back on track. Even our retired electricians went out into the community as “ESCO’s Old Farts,” to help neighbors whose homes had no power and damage to their electrical systems. It was a time to come together and we were there to help.

2011

2011

2011

After working closely with Shermco Industries out of Dallas, Texas during the epic flood of 2008, ESCO Group decided to sell the ESCO Energy Services business unit to Shermco.

2012

2012

2012

In 2011 ESCO Group saw continued growth and needed a new office building to accommodate for the employee increase. The company shareholders made the decision to build a 36.5k square foot facility as the new headquarters in Marion, Iowa.

In 2012, ESCO Group moved into its new headquarters in February.

2014

2014

2014

January 2014 welcomed Ray Brown as the new CEO of ESCO Group, a position he continues to hold today.

In August Ray’s mentor and ESCO’s fearless leader, Dave Engle, passed away from an unexpected heart attack.

2014

2014

2014

In November 2014, ESCO opened a new office in Louisville, CO, near Denver.

2016

2016

2016

ESCO Power, a new business unit for the Group, was created in November. This BU is led by Doug Yates and is comprised of electrical engineering, field studies, arc flash analysis, and safety consulting/training. The business unit, ESCO Safety, and its services were transitioned into ESCO Power with the announcement of the upcoming retirement of John Luke.

2017

2017

2017

ESCO opens a new building for the Des Moines location as the branch continues to grow.

2018

2018

2018

ESCO Group’s shareholders sold 40% of shares to employees, making ESCO an ESOP (employee owned) company.

2019

2019

2019

With more expansion, ESCO opened remote offices in Indianapolis, Omaha, and Saint Louis.

2020

2020

2020

Today ESCO continues to innovate and perform for our clients to achieve world-class results. We celebrate our yesterdays and learn from them for our tomorrows.

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