John Larson—Bear Valley Electric, Menomonie, WI
We are excited to feature John Larson, owner of Bear Valley Electric in our newsletter this month! Bear Valley Electric is a family-owned-and-operated electrical contracting company that was founded in 1991.
John’s father, Tom Larson started the business after the Uniroyal Tire Factory in Eau Claire announced it was closing. John took over for his father in 2010 when Tom retired from contracting to become a Wisconsin state legislator. Bear Valley Electric is located in Menomonie, Wisconsin, and they provide professional, affordable services for commercial, industrial, sand mine, agriculture and residential customers. John’s uncle and nephew work alongside him as they continue to grow the family business.
John prides his business on safety and training. Every two weeks, all employees are required to attend mandatory training. Wearing the proper PPE at all times is discussed and enforced. They develop programs and hire outside organizations regularly to come in and talk about safety with their team.
One of the main reasons that John chose to join the Electrical Association was because of the training offered through the EA organization that he would then be able to provide to his employees. Bear Valley Electric puts their apprentices through the Association’s 4-year electrical apprenticeship program, his apprentices are more knowledgeable on the job site and more prepared to pass their Journeyworker exam.
John is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and received all of his electrical knowledge through on-the-job training. He can see the value of education through a class and textbook setting to learn the theory and calculations. John would encourage new contractors to invest in the training and development of employees. These young and upcoming electricians are the future of the industry and we need them to be well-trained individuals.
When asked for advice for new electrical contractors, John described two large hurdles that he faces while trying to run a solid business. First, finding qualified talent and people who want to become industry professionals. This has been an ongoing issue for years now and does not seem to be going away anytime soon. Next would be, navigating the inspection and compliance process across multiple municipalities. The electrical industry is very highly regulated and compliance needs to be a top priority for all. Completing safe and quality work is how Bear Valley Electric has maintained a top-of-the-line reputation with regulating agencies as well as their customers.
Bear Valley Electric currently has a team of about 17 and is looking to grow. They have open positions for a project manager and a superintendent. One of their largest projects was a 770,000-ft² warehouse and distribution center for one of the regional home improvement and building
They are currently working on a large farm, wiring up a robotic dairy system. At another farm they are wiring up a system that captures the methane generated from dairy cows. The gasses are scrubbed and transported in semi-trucks to a natural gas pipe line where it us ultimately burned along with the natural gas.
John's wife, Jenney, is a high school special education teacher, and their son, Daniel, is 11 years old. They live outside of Menomonie and enjoy watching Daniel’s baseball games, spending time on the lake in their pontoon and traveling.
We are so grateful for Bear Valley Electric’s continued membership with the Electrical Association.
Bear Valley Electric