Electrical contractors OBERLANDER ELECTRIC CO., INC. started in 1940 in a garage in Peoria, Illinois. At that time, our motto was “Qualified Contractors – Dependable Service”. The focus of most of our work was small residential jobs, supplying and installing houseware appliances. We are electrical contractors that offer electrical service in Peoria IL, Bloomington IL, Galesburg IL and throughout central Illinois.
In 1946, Charles A. Gardner, called “Charlie”, went to work as an apprentice electrician straight out of the U.S. Navy. His starting hourly pay was two bits an hour. For most of Oberlander’s large jobs, “Charlie” became their right-hand man.
Oberlander Electric’s first sizable industrial job was at Caterpillar Building X, now demolished. We were soon doing large work at CPC in Pekin, Illinois. By 1974, “Charlie” bought a 45% interest in Oberlander Electric with an option to buy the remaining shares in 1984.
In 1981, Texaco and CPC formed a joint venture to make ethanol and stated a company called “Pekin Energy”. The plans were sketchy at first, but alcohol had to be produced by December 31, 1981. Oberlander Electric had made a large step forward in the Central Illinois market as we witnessed the $12 million dollar flow in the ethanol industry.
Nearly two years earlier than intended , Wayne and EB Oberlander decided to sell the remaining 55% interest in the business. By 1982, the Gardner family became owners of all the stock in the Oberlander Electric Co.
During the 80s, Oberlander Electric completed several large multimillion dollar jobs which included Galesburg Prison, Canton Prison, OSF Gerlach Building, and the Rod Mill expansion at Keystone Steel and Wire, as well as, several large jobs at Caterpillar.
The 90s paved the way for more of the same as Oberlander Electric’s volume increased from $5 million to $25 million a year. Large commercial, institutions and industrial work then became the jobs of choice and residential became the exception.
The growth and success of the company is attributed to the management team of “Charlie” (deceased) and his three sons, Jim, John Sr., and Steve Sr. With them at the helm, Oberlander Electric became the dominant electrical contractor in Central Illinois, approaching a 40% market share and $50 million in sales per year.
Due to a well-deserved retirement, Jim handed over the reins of the business to John Sr. and Steve Sr. on November 1, 2007. The goal for John Sr. and Steve Sr. is to empower their four sons to lead the company towards the future growth of Oberlander Electric into the 21st century and beyond.
Oberlander’s 225 employees are the cornerstone of their success. Through continuing education, Oberlander’s employees have kept up with technological advances in the electrical contracting industry by making a commitment to continuous improvement in order to better serve our customers.
Oberlanders’s inventory of equipment has kept pace, in both quality and quantity with their growing needs, and they are very proud of the reputation they’ve built along the way.