Norman A. Kopperud probably wouldn’t recognize Norman’s Electric Service (NES), the business he started in 1946. “Our dad was a visionary,” Glen Kopperud said. “But even he wouldn’t have predicted how different his business is today. Technology and electronic advances have played a huge role in dramatically changing our work. What he would recognize though, is that we’re still a family business that puts the customer first. He’d be very happy about that!”
NES is located on Hwy. 43 in Rushford Village on the original homestead that Norman and his wife Helen raised their family. Norman was a hardworking man who was fondly referred to by his family as “Stormin’ Norman.” He started the business with the philosophy of team work and customer service. He put the customers’ needs as the main focus and that’s how it is still run today.
The company was set up and continues to be a non-union shop. In the early years, the primary business was agricultural and residential wiring. They soon branched out into commercial and industrial and became the business that schools, nursing homes, churches and large industries relied on for lighting and electrical projects. Norman was always striving to be innovative by breaking new ground. One of his projects was designing, building and installing the first cable television system in Rushford in 1950.
In 1980, Norman’s son Glen and his wife Letitia joined the business and shortly after, Norman’s other sons, Tom and Jerry, got involved. Recently, Megan, Glen and Letitia’s daughter, came on board as office manager, along with her husband Pete LaFleur. As the next generations became a part of the business, they wanted to maintain Norman’s vision to stay ahead of the rest by continuing to offer innovative ideas and excellent service to their customers.
“Today, we’re working on cutting-edge products and shipping them to places like Poland and Mexico,” Glen said. “It’s pretty amazing when you think about how the world has changed in the last 20 years. We can be even more customer focused through the use of technology. For instance, if one of our customers is having a problem, we can instantly troubleshoot via computer and remotely connect into their system, often fixing the problem right on the spot.”
NES offers total solutions to electrical concerns and needs, including engineering, layout, plans and specifications, pricing, installation, documentation and service. Their expertise in automation allows them to provide a total electrical package not offered by most electrical contractors. NES is recognized in SE Minnesota as a leading contributor in the electrical industry by customers, inspectors, distributors and their fellow contractors.
“We work with hundreds of customers,” Glen said. “Most of our work is done in industrial and commercial markets, but we’re still here for all our customers. On occasion, we’ll get a call from someone whose lamp is broken and we’ve fixed it. It’s still a family business and a part of our community. Sometimes we’ll get a check in the mail with a nice note thanking us for our service. That makes us feel good.”
Education has played a huge role in keeping up with the times. Glen obtained his master electrician licensure and NES was able to branch out into many different areas in the electrical contracting business. Tom, a graduate of Dunwoody College in Minneapolis, expanded NES into the Industrial Automation Technology field. Whereas Jerry, also a graduate of Dunwoody and of Dakota County Vocational School, focused his attention on received his lineman’s training and expanding the business into underground and overhead power distribution.
Their 11 employees have credentials including one Master and five Journeyman licenses. Continuing education has included General Electric’s Nela Park in Cleveland, Lithonia Lighting in Atlanta and many others. As they continue to grow, they broaden their areas of expertise to provide a total electrical solution to customers, continuing to make service and innovation their priority.
“We’re fortunate to have great employees and family who want to continue working with the business,” Megan said. “I serve as the office manager, but that also covers HR and overseeing our safety program, which has become a critical component in serving our customers. We have to comply with safety and other regulations in order to remain competitive in the global marketplace. It’s a big job, but I love it and the best part is I get to work with my family and our dogs!”