Andersons receive Chamber award
Anderson Electric of Blue Earth and Wells has been around since 1985. Over those 25 years the company has seen steady growth, and has been an asset to the community.
On Monday night, owners Randy and Deb Anderson will be honored as the Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce 2009 Business of the Year.
The award will be given at the chamber’s Annual Meeting and Banquet at Hamilton Hall.
“We were both pretty shocked when Shelly (Greimann, chamber executive director) called and told us,” Deb Anderson says. “We told her there must be a mistake. All we have done is run our business and tried to do the best that we can.”
The husband and wife team has done exactly that, and has done it well. Their business has seen steady growth over the past 25 years.
After graduating from Blue Earth High School, Randy worked for a local electrical contractor while going to school at Mankato Technical College. He got his journeyman’s license there.
Then, while working for Winnebago Drainage for two years as the maintenance electrician, he got his master electrician’s license.
“I was offered an opportunity to buy into half of an electrical contracting company in 1985, and I did,” Randy recalls. The firm was called R and R Electric, and both owners were named Randy.
In 1992, Randy Anderson bought out the other Randy and changed the name to Anderson Electric.
Deb, meanwhile, had gone to school to become a nurse, and was working at UHD.
Eventually she replaced her mother, Donna Jordahl, as the bookkeeper/office manager at Anderson Electric.
“For a while I did both (nursing and office manager), but after three years I went full time here,” she says.
The electrical business kept growing and the Andersons kept adding employees. They now employ five full time and one part time staff – besides the two of them.“Andy Stevermer has been with us right since the beginning, in 1985,” Randy says.
Over the years they have added Tony Adams, Kerry Mastin, Kelvin Kastens and Dan Werner.
“Dan is the ‘newcomer’ of our electricians,” Deb jokes. “He has ‘only’ been here 12 years.”
Adams lives in Wells and does most of the Anderson Electric work in Wells.
Besides the men, the firm also employs one part time office person to help Deb out. That one day a week worker is Kim Cossairt.
“We keep pretty busy,” Randy says. “We do practically anything in the electrical field, from residential, farm and commercial, to light industrial. I guess we are a full service electrical contractor.”
As if working full time with the Anderson Electric business wasn’t enough, the two life-long residents of Blue Earth decided to start another company eight years ago, in 2002.
“We started R and D Anderson Rentals, LLC,” Randy says.
The couple now owns two rental houses and three downtown business buildings. All three of the business buildings also have apartments above them which are rented out.
“We have done a lot of work on our rental properties,” the Andersons admit. But Deb says it is something they actually enjoy doing.
“I love to paint,” Deb says. “I love to remodel and decorate the places we have – and I love to paint them.”
However, it takes a lot of time and effort to remodel the right way, and that is the only way the Andersons say they want to do it.
“There are some weeks we put in 70 or 80 hours between the two businesses,” Deb admits. “But to me it is actually fun.”
They do have other fun activities, and don’t just work all of the time, Randy adds.
“We have a cabin on Lake Jefferson and we try and get there on as many summer weekends as we can,” he says.
They like to snowmobile in the winter, and ride motorcycle in the summer.
“And we love all kinds of water activities at the lake,” Randy says. “It is a great place to get together with our family.”
The Andersons have two grown daughters, and both live in Blue Earth – Lissia and husband Aaron Laehn, and Chelsey Anderson. They also have three grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.
The Andersons plan on having all of their staff and family members at the Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Banquet on Jan. 18 when they are given the Business of the Year Award.
Chamber Executive Director Griemann says Anderson Electric is well deserving of the honor.
“They meet the criteria of business expansion and commitment to the community,” she says.
“Plus, the staff is always ready to help out with community events, and we appreciate that at the chamber,” Griemann adds.
Deb Anderson says they want to do what they can to help the community remain alive and active – and looking nice.
Even if that is ‘just’ fixing up one building at a time. Or running the best electrical contracting business they can.