The ESCO Group History

Our History

The Beginning:

In 1964 Wayne Engle started ESCO in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with a $500 home equity loan and 2 employees doing electrical work for homes and farms. The business was run out of Wayne’s basement. Wayne’s wife Shirley administered the office work while raising 3 young boys.

Early success:

Business grew steadily as the company began performing more commercial and light industrial work for clients in Cedar Rapids. ESCO relocated several times to accommodate growth. The company emphasized quality, hard work, employee training, employee development, customer relations and customer service. These founding principles still hold true today.

By the late 70’s ESCO became one of the largest electrical contractors in eastern Iowa and had acquired branch offices in Peoria and Champaign, Illinois. In addition to the electrical contracting business, sign companies were acquired at each location. However, with the economy taking a difficult turn in the early 80’s, ESCO downsized and decided to sell these additions.

A New Generation:

With $2 million in revenue and 15 electricians on the payroll, ESCO relocated to a small office and shop in Marion, Iowa. Since this time, the company has experienced success and has relocated several times to accommodate growth. Ownership was transferred to the next generation in the early 90’s as Wayne phased out of the business and Dave, his son, took control of the company.

A key strategy during this period was an emphasis on industrial clients. ESCO focused on electrical maintenance and capital projects for several fortune 500 companies with plant locations in Cedar Rapids.

As ESCO learned more about the needs of these large industrial customers, it developed additional services to provide them. These services have grown to become separate groups within ESCO, hence the new name – “ESCO Group”. These groups consist of industrial automation and electrical engineering, safety training and safety consultation. These professional services, combined with the traditional electrical contracting services round out a unique and beneficial offering for clients.

After the turn of the century, ESCO grew to over $30 million in sales with over 250 employees in multiple locations. Business with fortune 500 companies and with multiple manufacturing plants continues to grow. ESCO is now doing more work nationally and abroad.

In 2005 Dave Engel sold a majority of the company stock to the following leaders within the company, helping to assure a successful ownership transition to a third generation:

Ray Brown – ESCO Group Board Member and ESCO Group CEO
Mike Miller – ESCO Group Board Member and ESCO Group COO
Jamie Shea – ESCO Group Board Member and ESCO Electric President
John Luke – ESCO Group Board Member and ESCO Safety President
Tom Miller – ESCO Group Board Member and ESCO Group Director of Business Development
Brad Hackett – ESCO Group Board Member and ESCO Electric Account Manager
Doug Yates – ESCO Group Board Member and ESCO Electric Account Manager


ESCO is extraordinarily fortunate to employ great people that serve great clients. To learn more about the services we provide, we encourage you to cruise the rest of our website.