Celebrating 50 at 77

All the king’s horses and all the
king’s men can’t put the previously
strong economy back together again.
It’s no wonder then that Kondro
Electric 1980 Ltd. is quietly celebrating
its 50 business anniversary this
year as survivors. 
“This is the toughest year we’ve
had,” said Willard Kondro, owner and
president, who faces the economic reality
head on.
“Right now, we are zeroing in on
day-to-day because we want to keep
our employees busy, and it’s a very
tight market.
“People don’t understand and realize
it, but it is very difficult right now.”
He says this downturn is the worst
ever due to it coming so quickly, and
being slow to turnaround.
Fortunately, Kondro will allow himself
a fist pump or two when he turns
77 on Sept. 2 and reflects on his personal
and business accomplishments.
“Fifty years has gone by so quickly;
it doesn’t seem like it,” he said, noting
he still finds his work enjoyable today
in a semi-retirement role.
Kondro has been a member of the
Electrical Contractors Association of
Alberta for 47 years, and served as its
president in 1985-86.
He has served on various industry
safety and electrical boards over
the years, and has a Master Electrical
Licence.
His contracting company has built an
impressive resume of residential, commercial
and industrial buildings, which
have been wired or serviced by Kondro.
The list of local commercial contracts
includes the Servus Credit Union,
Husky Place, and developments at the
Lloydminster and Vermilion campuses
of Lakeland College.
“Lakeland College has been one of
the major ones,” said Kondro.
His brother Bill has a wing at the
Lloydminster campus named after him.
Kondro started Kondro Electric in
1967 with one employee working out
of his backyard garage.
As business grew they moved into
the building that Tait’s Cold Beer &
Liquor Mart currently occupies.
In 1977 they moved to their current
location at 6202-50 Avenue, and expanded with a second office in St.
Albert, managed by Kondro’s son Brent.
“The business is built on service
work and contracting, so we do major
commercial work and residential
work,” said Kondro at the Lloydminster
office.
Willard Kondro, owner and president of
Kondro Electric 1980 Ltd. will celebrate his
77th birthday on Sept. 2 in the 50th year of
business. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

Commercial work accounts for
about 60 per cent of the business.
To diversify, the company also does
electrical service work for rigs and broadens its market reach to places
like Fort McMurray and High Level in
Alta., and Uranium City in Sask.
“We have to have everything, and
we do everything,” said Kondro in
regards to not putting all of his eggs in
one basket.
No doubt, Kondro will wish for the
return of boom years when he blows
out the candles on his cake.
Hard times in the economy have led
Kondro to reluctantly reduce his workforce
from 70 employees last year to
roughly 22 today.
“It has not been a happy story, but
you have to do things to stay afloat,”
said Kondro.
The cuts were made for business reasons,
but Kondro is quick to point out
employees are the most valuable asset
that any company like his has.
In fact, he attributes the success of
his business over the years to having
good, skilled employees.
“Most of our guys are trained to do it
all from residential to rig services,” he
said, noting he has several core longterm
employees on the payroll.
He singled out Garry Gagnon, his
project coordinator, who has been with
him for 37 years as an example.
Going forward, Kondro is concerned
about a possible lack of major projects in
Lloyd this winter, but his crews are busy
in Vermilion, where they are wiring the
new Valley View Lodge for seniors.
They’ve also got an ongoing electrical
project at the Animal Health Clinic
for Lakeland College in Vermilion,
which will open in 2018.
Kondro is also currently wiring
a small government building in
Meadow Lake.
“We think we’re very fortunate
and we just completed the Pioneer
House expansion of Pioneer Lodge,”
said Kondro.
“You have to look long term, so
we’re hoping.”