Rochester: Geotek

From fencing, landscaping products, and utility poles, Geotek is a key component of the growing engineering industry

By Dan Emerson

Editor's note: This article is part of the Local Focus: Rochester feature that appeared in the May 2013 issue

As public utilities across the U.S. and around the world replace aging infrastructure and invest in new power-transmission lines, Geotek has set itself up as a key vendor. It began as a manufacturer of fencing and landscape products made of high-tech composites, but the demand for its cross-arm products used on utility poles has grown to about 85 percent of the company's revenue, according to CEO Dale Nordquist.

Geotek, which was founded in 1991 by Conrad F. Fingerson and Amy L. Donahoe in Rushford, uses a proprietary process to make fiberglass cross-arms and poles for electric distribution installations, as well as posts for electric fences on farms.

In 1996 Fingerson and Donahoe moved the company to Stewartville (just south of Rochester and part of its metro area). In 2009, Geotek was acquired by St. Cloud–based Granite Equity Partners. The company has been growing at about 20 percent annually for the past four years, a pace Nordquist expects to continue, since the market penetration of composite cross-arms is less than 10 percent.

As a business leader, Nordquist says he appreciates Rochester's growing professional workforce, along with the cultural, social, and racial diversity that "has made it much easier to recruit the engineering talent we need from other parts of the country."