Master Electric is a leader in the electrical industry and has earned its title by providing customers with highly-responsive, day-or-night service. The company’s service-oriented approach to electrical construction and technical services has proven that quality is more than just a word in its slogan—it is the driving philosophy behind its success.
Master Electric was founded by John Loftsgaarden in 1972. Since then, it has expanded its reach beyond its Savage, Minnesota headquarters to include a second office in Mankato, Minnesota. Although their primary customer base is in the Twin Cities, Master Electric holds licenses in multiple states across the country. In short, they strive to be where their customers need them.
Tony Loftsgaarden, president of Master Electric, explained: “Due to travel required of our specialized services technicians, we have become licensed in numerous states from North Dakota to Texas. However, our primary focus is the Twin Cities metro area and southern Minnesota where we have our office in Mankato.”
The company has the resources to get the job done on time, on budget and by the highest standards of quality and safety. As it has grown, it has not sacrificed its commitment to quality and service as it expands across the United States.
According to Tony, when the Mankato location was acquired, it had three trucks. “And now we’ve got nine. So, we brought our influence into Mankato immediately. We put more trucks on the road right away.”
“We have GPS in all of our vehicles,” explained Vice President Larry Stier. “So when a customer calls us to address XYZ, it’s easy for us to determine which of our service technicians is in the area. Many times, we’ve arrived at the customer’s facility within fifteen minutes of their call.”
Kim Loftsgaarden, CEO and founder John Loftsgaarden’s eldest son, added, “We run, probably, forty-five service vehicles around the metro area at any given time so we can get anywhere pretty fast. Chances are, we can be several miles away from someone when they call.” Given the rapid pace at which the market moves, prompt response times and reliability are key.
Master Electric specializes in design-build services, owner-direct predictive and preventative maintenance plans, as well as around the clock technical services. “We do a ton of design-build work,” said Matt Pirkl, Vice President of Construction. “These projects are not engineered by an outside firm—our name is on them. We have to make sure we install products that are going to last using project-proven installation methods.”
Master Electric has come a long way since its early days as a family-owned business that operated out of the family’s garage. It is now a major industry presence with a reputation built upon a long history of industry expertise.
“My grandfather, John, began his career as an electrician in rural southern Minnesota,” Tony explained. “Folks came to his hardware store to buy electrical appliances, but either didn’t have the know-how to install these appliances or didn’t have electricity in their homes.” Tony laughs as he tries, earnestly, to imagine a time when electrified homes were not a given. “Grandpa John formed Loftsgaarden Electric in the 1950s to ensure those customers from his hardware store knew at least one safety and quality conscious electrician.”
Kim started helping his father at twelve years old. After moving to the Twin Cities in the 1960s, he and his father formed Valley Electric which later became Master Electric. From that point, John, Kim, and John’s other son Jeff worked to build the business into what it is today. Though the company started by providing residential electric services, commercial and industrial work is now its specialty.
Consistency is a key cog in the wheel of success and innovation at Master Electric. “We consistently provide training and support to our field and office staff to ensure that they have the tools and skills necessary to give our customers not only what they want but, also, what they need,” said Tony. “We consistently pursue better products, better processes, and better technologies. And we consistently use these resources to provide quality customer service every time.
This customer-centric approach is echoed by their CEO. “We pride ourselves on doing it right the first time: we do our research so that we provide the right products,” Kim stated. “And because we provide the right products, we’re not always the least expensive company to use, but we’re the most cost-effective. Selling our customers cheap products is not our model. If you want the cheap product, we can provide it—but not before we will explain the pitfalls of a substandard product. We want repeat customers, but we don’t want to repeatedly fix or replace bad products.”
Two projects that demonstrate Master Electric’s ability to take on projects of varying size and complexity are Prime Pork and Central Park Commons.
Prime Pork is a complete electrical and controls renovation of a pork processing plant in Windom, Minnesota. The renovation includes a complete replacement of the 13.8kv electrical distribution system, refurbishment of electrical distribution, as well as a ground-up design and installation of controls and automation systems. “It’s a state-of-the-art pork processing facility,” Larry explained. One usually doesn’t think of agriculture as a hotbed for technology but, “They are installing some pretty impressive and sophisticated machines all controllable through a completely customized automation system.”
Matt Pirkl, VP of construction, is currently working on the Central Park Commons (CPC) Project. CPC is a seventeen-building, multi-tenant retail project sprawling over 150 acres in Eagan Minnesota. Master Electric was responsible for all site and street lighting throughout the complex and the intelligent controls for the system. This was the first new retail development in Minnesota to include 100 percent LED lighting. In addition to lighting, the company also installed the underground fiber optic cable infrastructure system that ties the buildings together, offering each tenant multiple choices for telephone/communication needs.
Also, as part of the CPC Project, Master Electric installed the underground utility power infrastructure conduit system to provide a means of ingress for the utility to bring power to the buildings without having to excavate. Finally, Master Electric wired multiple buildings and tenant build-outs throughout the complex.
“Master Electric has worked on some of the most exciting projects and with some of the best people across many industries,” Matt acknowledged. “We provide the highest quality commercial, industrial, and preventative/predictive electrical services around. Quality electrical service and quality customer service are our highest priorities. We know that our adherence to this philosophy has begun to resonate in the industry.”
Master Electric is a factory certified repair company for GE/Zenith automatic transfer switch (ATS) units as well as Toshiba and Powervar uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems. The company also provides and installs energy monitoring systems, provides power quality and harmonics analysis, energy savings analysis, retrofits and customizable electrical equipment and control panel fabrication through their UL 508A panel shop. And the company is a TEGG service provider, the world’s foremost electrical preventative maintenance organization.
“TEGG is an electrical preventative maintenance franchise that offers us ongoing, advanced training in every aspect of the high-tech realm of electrical diagnostics,” Tony explained. “We currently have almost a dozen level one and level two thermographer technicians. We also specialize in energy management systems, automation and control, UPS and battery maintenance, motor testing, power quality, troubleshooting and machine maintenance. Additionally, we perform arc flash hazard analysis and training. All of the above specialties have now been captured and rolled into a technical services division which we have branded as t.e.s.t.t.: technical electrical services testing and training.”
Through its t.e.s.t.t. division, Master Electric provides transformer oil testing, injection testing for circuit breakers, uninterrupted power supply (UPS) maintenance, infrared (IR) window installation, lightning protection systems, transient voltage surge suppression (TVSS), and automation and integration services.
“With the creation of our separately branded t.e.s.t.t. division, we have the unique ability to assist other electrical contractors that don’t have the tools that we have, the testing equipment that we have,” said Larry Stier, VP of Technical Services. “We can go into their customer’s facility in a uniform that says t.e.s.t.t. and not encroach on their business. In this capacity, we operate as an unbiased, non-competitive subcontractor.”
Master Electric is compliant with the most stringent quality and efficiency standards in the industry. Of chief importance to upholding these standards is their team of dynamic and creative project managers and field supervisors.
“Master Electric is one-hundred percent built upon the success, respect, and furtherment of our employees,” said Tony. “Many of our electricians have been working for us for over twenty-five years. We take pride in that. We hire and promote from within whenever possible and seek to extend careers by providing advanced training.”
The company encourages an open-door policy with company leadership to ensure that the needs of its customers, its employees, and its operations are being heard and addressed. Open lines of communication are key to efficient performance.
Their open-door approach has paid off: Master Electric has created a family-oriented work culture that helps its industry-leading professionals thrive. It is this commitment to its talent that enables it to attract and retain trusted employees.
As the company expands its services and the area it serves, Master Electric will continue to be a full-service, end-to-end provider of electrical construction, technical service, predictive and preventative maintenance, power studies and various other shop services.
Many years have passed since the hardware store in rural Minnesota and Master Electric has grown—breaking through both geographic and innovative borders, but at the core they are still the same company that John Loftsgaarden envisioned: a highly-technical, customer-centric company who strives, above all else, to ensure their customers know at least one safe, responsive, and qualified electrician.