Kirk on the trencher
Ampko Electric's first ever brand new truck
Ampko Electric Ltd. was incorporated in Stettler in 1978 but its roots as an electrical contractor in the area go further back than that. Founder Owen Blake began his career as an electrician in Wetaskiwin at Glendale Mobile Homes in December of 1970 until July of '71. At this point, bored with the repetition and tediousness of work at the plant and seeking new and different challenges, he secured a position with Reyn-Felt Electric in Camrose.Shortly after marriage to his wife Pam in September 1971 he accepted a transfer to the Reyn-Felt branch in the booming town of Stettler.
Owen completed his apprenticeship with Reyn-Felt in Stettler, earning his Journeyman Certificate in 1974 and his Masters Qualification in 1978. By 1978 he had been managing the Stettler branch for some time and made the decision that he wanted a greater reward for his many hours away from his young and growing family. Owen scheduled a meeting with the owners in Camrose where he proposed that he be allowed to purchase a share of the Stettler branch. After some time to deliberate (while Owen took some holidays) the owners came back with a counter offer. Instead of a piece of the pie, they served the whole thing! Their proposal was for Owen to purchase the entire Stettler branch and strike out on his own. Owen accepted and Ampko Electric Ltd. was born.
In 1978 the electrical contracting scene was considerably different in Stettler than it is today. At the time there were only 3 electrical contractors in town (there are at least 11 today) enabling them all to be large enough to handle any projects that came to Stettler. As with any aspect of the construction industry however there were ups and downs. Over the next 30 years competition increased and staff levels fluctuated from a high of 9 (not including Owen and 2 other office staff) to a low of 2 electricians (including Owen) with Pam in the office answering phones. It was during this last downsizing in 1991 that the company moved to its current location into a renovated rental house where Owen's famous garden was located.
In 2006, having spent 36 years as an electrician, Owen sold the business to his son Kirk who had been working at Ampko, first as summer help since 1994, 1st year of apprenticeship in 1999, and finally came back to Ampko to stay in 2002. After experiencing exponential growth in the first 3 years after buying the company Kirk decided it was time to expand the shop. Gone was the tiny one bedroom house and single detached garage that served their purposes for nearly 20 years, replaced with a single building 1300sqft with room for expansion/storage and an ample parking lot. While this change was needed, it also gave Ampko Electric the chance to show we are dedicated to this community and that our roots will keep us here.
Ampko Electric is proud of our over 40 year connection to the town of Stettler and we hope to continue to serve for another 40 years. And not to worry, ALL that wonderful black dirt (nearly 40 yards worth) from the garden was dug out and trucked to Owen's daughter's house where it still grows some of the biggest potatoes in town!