News and Events

 

Ballard Companies turns 60

Serving energy, power needs in Rockford

By Paul Anthony Arco

 

Ballard Companies has come a long way since it opened for business as a small electrical contractor in 1954.  Now the Rockford-based company y is celebrating six decades in business.  “It’s a very significant landmark,” said Dave Boettcher, president of the company.  “Not many businesses make it 20 years, let alone 60.”

 

Today, the Rockford-based company has grown to include three divisions:  Ballard Electric, Ballard Engineering and Pro Com Systems.

 

Ballard Electric performs multifamily, commercial, industrial, governmental, and institutional electrical construction projects, as well as repair, maintenance and emergency services to clients.

 

Ballard Engineering provides design, engineering, construction and consulting services for clients with energy and power management needs.  It works mostly with power generation, cogeneration, combined heat and power, and distribution systems, as well as energy procurement.

 

Pro Com Systems, a division of Ballard Companies since 1983, has become the largest communications and specialty contractor in the region.  Pro Com specializes in all type of electronic communications systems from nurse call, fire and burglar alarm systems, close circuit TV, and network cabling systems.

 

Projects vary from industrial, healthcare, municipalities, and commercial including retail centers, restaurants, movie theaters, office buildings, and grocery stores.  Most customers are mainly located within an hour of Rockford.  “Our projects are really diverse.” Boettcher said.

 

Solid Succession

 

The company was started in 1954 by Bert Ballard Sr. and another electrician Norm Knott, and later was incorporated as Ballard Electric.  In 1977, Ballard sold the company to sons Bert (Ed) Jr. and Carl, along with employees Ronald Anderson and Larry Branch to form a four-member management team.  In 1987, Joe Sinclair became a partner and headed up Ballard Engineering.  All five are not retired.  One Ballard still is involved.  Ed’s daughter, Brynn, works in the accounting department.

 

Today, the company partners include Boettcher, Dan Raasch, Roxann Burren, Scott Hangartner, Larry Spitzmiller, and David Martindale.  “We’re a closely-knit group,” said Boettcher, who joined Ballard as a residential wireman apprentice in 1982.  “We work hand in hand.  In this business you have to or don’t survive.”

 

The company, located on Electric Avenue since 1996, has 24 employees in the corporate office and 55 in the field who are part of the IBEW Local 364.  “We have a least 12 employees with more than 20 years experience, “ said Boettcher.  “One of our main focuses is to infuse more youth to make the company even stronger in the future.”

 

Changing Industry

 

One of the biggest industry trends in the last 10 years is arc flash and thermal image study.  This involves an on-site analysis of facilities’ electrical systems performed by trained experts to evaluate potential risk to personnel or equipment.

 

“The industry keeps changing,” Boettcher said.  “They’re putting so many things in buildings in regards to green technology that lighting systems, for example, have become more complicated and versatile and that takes additional training.”

 

Without question, the biggest challenge for Ballard has been a sluggish economy.  “We’ve had to reinvent ourselves,” Boettcher said.  “There was a lot of electrical construction in the 1990s.  Now we’ve had to concentrate on repeat business.  The past several years we’ve relied on working with loyal customers rather than acquire new building projects.”

 

Boettcher sees brighter days ahead.  “I think we’ve seen the worst of the recession.  The key will be to embrace new technology.  If you’re not changing as a company, you’re going to get left behind.”

 

 

As technology continues to change, Ballard is at the forefront in assisting their clients in meeting the electrical and communications needs of today and the future. The following are recent developments in our organization:
 

3/11/2011

Ballard Companies celebrates as five employees reach the 20 year mark with the company.   Roxann Burren, Rick Corcoran, Mark Rogers, Deb Okenson, Jeff Becker.

 

2011

Ballard Engineering Completes installation of Hybrid alternative energy systems at Freedom Field Energy hosted at rock River Water Reclamation District Rockford Il. 61109.  this system has 175,000 btu / hour thermal solar, to 2,400 gallon hot water storage, 10 ton absorption chiller, 3,800 square feet of PEX in floor heat, 12 kw solar PV electric, 10 kw horizontal wind, 1.2 kw vertical wind, 200,000 btu / hour bio mass burner, and thermal interconnection to the RRWRD 3 mw power plant.  All this is automated and intregrated to optimize the heat and energy capture to provide a energy neutral office and equimpment space known as freedomfieldenergy.com

 

 

 2010-2011

 Ballard Electric and Pro-Com completes wiring of new Federal Court house, located in down town Rockford IL.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ballard Companies