Technology is such a cool thing. We placed a construction camera at our new property, and on Monday I finally saw the first action through that lens as a tractor pulling a tiller slowly and methodically canvassed the acres that will begin taking shape as the new headquarters for the Utility of the Future.

Behind the wheel of the tractor was a representative from C & E Excavating, Inc., the newest partner to join the Utility of the Future project build. One of my great privileges, both as the manager of this project and as a member of this co-op and community, is meeting other great southwest Michigan folks and creating meaningful jobs for local individuals and employers.

C &E is one such employer. The company is based in Elkhart, and more than one-third of their employee base are Midwest Energy Cooperative members. Local people building the new headquarters for the cooperative in which they have an ownership stake. We’re proud of that!

The company – which will manage all sitework, utility work, and the gravel sub-base for our project – has humble beginnings. Ed Bessinger, president, began the business out of his home during the very memorable blizzard of 1977. He purchased a bulldozer to help Elkhart dig out from the historic snowstorm, then began doing regular residential work around the community. Commercial work quickly followed as C & E began to partner with golf courses and private businesses to provide sitework for new construction. In the mid-1990s, the focus turned to the utility side for the local municipalities. Ed’s son, Thad, joined the business in 1998 and today manages the team and operations as vice president. Ed and Thad are both among the Midwest Energy cooperative members within the 35-person C & E team.

Much like Midwest, C & E is strongly rooted in and committed to strengthening and supporting its local community. Some of their proud sponsorships include Water for People, Lifeline of Elkhart, Jesse’s Warriors, Edwardsburg’s Robotics Team, Sports With a Purpose and Miller’s Vets to name a few.

I’m honored to welcome some of my own southwest Michigan neighbors and fellow co-op members to this project team!

If you’d like to view the action at our site, visit our Construction Cam. You can see a history of still images by clicking on the filmstrip icon at the bottom of the screen, or see live action by clicking on the Live Stream link at the top right.