Wisconsin is a land of extremes. We’re not talking about dairies or the Dells. This upper Midwestern state — almost considered “Northern” — experiences climatological extremes typically described in myths or movies. They say, before their first steps, every young cheesehead hears the legendary tale of the 1967 “Ice Bowl” that registered a gametime temperature of a frigid negative 13 degrees. Yet, 50,000 loyal Green Bay Packers fans arrived like it was business as usual.
Because that’s how Wisconsinites are: They show up when there’s a job to do.
“I like to tell my guys we have a 150-degree range of work,” says Cody Van Ginkel, site superintendent for Arch Electric, a Wisconsin family-owned company that’s been installing solar panels in the area since 2003. “If it’s negative 30 out, we’re working. If it’s 110, we’re still working.”
Cody says a lot of their winter utility projects put Arch Electric crews through the gauntlet, as they start in early October and go right through January or February. “You’ve got to have the right equipment to work in wet, hot conditions of late fall and then be able to work in subzero freezing temperatures a few weeks later.”
Not just any machine for any weather
Anyone would need durability and flexibility to withstand Wisconsin’s weather extremes. That’s why Arch Electric chooses Bobcat® equipment for their fleet, which includes four T76 compact track loaders, two UV34 diesel utility vehicles a Toolcat™ 5600 utility work machine and a 20-year-old Bobcat excavator that run the gamut for them. They also have a variety of Bobcat attachments for installations, snow removal and moving materials.
The compact size of Bobcat products gives Arch crews the flexibility to complete all types of jobs they confront, whether installing small-scale ground mounts in a backyard with 20 feet of space, working around their outdoor warehouse facility or building a complete solar farm on 20 acres.
“The Toolcat 5600 is great for tight spaces with its all-wheel steering,” Cody says, adding that they use the utility work machine for snow and warehouse work, as well as for module installations. “It is kind of like a Swiss Army Knife for us. It has the capability to do everything we need it to.”
The Bobcat UV34s are primarily used for moving crews and light materials around larger sites, and Cody particularly likes the optional speed kit available on diesel models, which enables them to lower the top speed from 25 to 15 mph. “I really appreciate something like that from Bobcat,” he says. “I know it’s not a feature every customer is looking for. But to know the option is there if we want it for our people is nice, and I think Bobcat is really forward-thinking in offering that.”
The T76 compact track loaders may be considered the workhorses of the Arch Electric Bobcat equipment fleet, and there are four T76s used for installations year-round. Their low-ground-pressure track system enables them to easily push through soft, wet or muddy conditions that are prevalent during the rainy months and spring thaw. The roomy enclosed cab features automatic heat and air conditioning for operator comfort in either weather extreme.
Cody says the overall versatility of Bobcat equipment and attachments underlines their value. “We think of Bobcat machines as tools in our toolbelts. It’s like going to a jobsite with a drill or a screwdriver, or anything else you need to get a job done. That’s what Bobcat means to Arch.”
Sustainable energy meets sustainable work ethic
Eighteen years ago, solar seemed like more of a theory than a solution, especially toward the North, where pristine wooded lakes couldn’t be more different from the terrain typically associated with scorching Southwest solar farms. But the Arch Electric founders’ passion for renewables outweighed the noise from the naysayers, and they decided to take the calculated leap. Now, they are considered an industry leader paving the way for renewables in Wisconsin.
Cody says that when he first started at Arch Electric eight years ago, they were maybe installing one solar system per year. Now, they are doing more than 100 residential installs, a dozen commercial installs and a handful of utilities annually.
“We were able to address a booming market need in a relatively short span of time,” he recalls. “The renewables industry has grown so rapidly that we’ve had to adapt to those changes, and Bobcat machines are an extension of every man we have. We could not have adapted without them.”
It’s easy to show up for the first job, but sustaining a two-decadelong commitment to excellence is what sets businesses apart. Arch Electric has proven over the last 20 years that you can’t be successful this long without being reliable and having trust in the services you provide.
“That’s what brought us to Bobcat,” says Cody. “The Bobcat brand always had that reliability factor — whether it’s service, sales or simply the durability of Bobcat machines.” Cody adds that his local Bobcat dealer, Miller Implement Co., Inc., of St. Nazianz, “goes the extra mile to ensure we have the right equipment, and they are spot on for us every time.”
Company’s bright future depends on ability to adapt
Cody says that as their business has evolved, buying more compact and mid-sized equipment rather than fewer heavy machines gave them the flexibility they need. “Bobcat has that perfect mix of machines and attachments to serve all aspects of what we do as a company.”
The theme of Arch Electric’s successful business story appears to be adaptability. In today’s construction climate, particularly in an evolving industry like renewables, if a company cannot adapt, they won’t last long. As the number-one solar installer in Wisconsin, Arch Electric has been successful for 20 years with an adaptable approach to work, an ideal equipment mix and a dependable dealer relationship.
“We’ve stopped looking other places for equipment, Cody says. “Bobcat has been so durable and reliable for us for the last two decades, and if you did a photo montage of Arch work, there would be a Bobcat machine in there somewhere. That’s pretty impressive for a company that has been around as long as we have.”
Contact the dealer: Miller Implement Co., Inc.
Sales Contact: James Schott