Knobelsdorff has been providing industrial electric and controls services to the grain, milling, food processing, foundry, mining, and many other industries for nearly three decades. We’re an experienced and growing company and have established an outstanding reputation with our customers by providing project management, electrical design, fabrication, installation, programming, testing, start-up, and ongoing support services.

Aside from project work, we are also the day-to-day electricians in many of our customers’ facilities, tackling the small projects and problems as well as the large. Plus, we provide 24/7/365-day service both on-site and remotely and will respond quickly to any emergency that might come up.

Our Team

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We handle all electrical work from low voltage data/communications on up to 34.5KV switchgear and feeders, with a full staff of highly qualified field electricians, controls engineers, project managers, estimators, designer drafters, instrument technicians, and UL508A panel builders on our team.

KEI is a safety-driven company, and we have the knowledge and expertise to help keep your facility out of harm’s way. Our field electricians are all OSHA 10 certified and our foremen are OSHA 30 certified. And we have maintained a very low EMR rate consistently over the years. Whether your project involves routine maintenance, a new process line, automating aging facilities, or an entirely new plant, we have the resources and expertise to get the job done.


Karl, President & CEO

Here we are today.

In a lot of ways, Karl has been a part of Knobelsdorff since the very beginning when his parents, Juergen and Char von Knobelsdorff, started the company back in 1988. But, it’s safe to say that he officially became a part of the business back in 2008. At that time, there were only five employees, and Karl helped them all to grow the company to what it is today: an industrial design/build electrical and controls contractor serving multi-states.

Karl brings an unmatched level of work ethic to Knobelsdorff and a concrete vision for the future. He’s always willing to work the longest hours or help out in any way that gets a job done right and on time. Anyone will tell you he’s the type of CEO who pulls up to job sites in a company truck with his hard hat and boots on ready to get his hands dirty.

Before becoming the head of his own company, Karl enjoyed riding dirt bikes. When he’s not steering Knobelsdorff into the future, Karl spends time with his wife and four children.


Melanie, Business Office Manager

I really enjoy coming to work every day. This is a great place to work and we have a great bunch of people.

Melanie joined Knobelsdorff Electric in 2014 with 17+ years of accounting experience and 12+ years in human resources. Her formal education includes degrees from both MN State College SE Technical – Red Wing (AAS Accounting) and Metro State University (BA HR Management).

Melanie’s abilities to multi-task and adapt to the changing needs of a growing organization have helped her become an irreplaceable member of the Knobelsdorff team. She is also a Minnesota Notary and a member of SHRM.

When she’s not working, Melanie spends time with her husband Jermey and their son Zack on their sheep farm. As a family, they enjoy traveling to sheep shows, fishing, and hunting. Both Melanie and her husband are active in the Pierce County 4H and the Ellsworth FFA. They enjoy seeing their son Zack compete in wrestling, football, and track.


Jeff, Business Project Manager

I enjoy working with everyone here and have a chance to not only interact with office staff but our amazing range of skilled tradesmen, technicians, and project leaders. Truly a dynamic, rewarding, and fun place to work that never gets boring!

Jeff joined Knobelsdorff Electric in 2013. He brought with him 30+ years of experience in project management, facilities engineering, and business ownership. With a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from U of M Minneapolis, Jeff has the education and the experience to keep up in a fast-based company like Knobelsdorff Electric.

During his time at Knobelsdorff, Jeff has continued to embrace new challenges and learn new skills – which is perfect for a growing business. Jeff also brings unmatched organization skills and a wide variety of experience to his role at Knobelsdorff. And for the things he doesn’t know? There isn’t much Jeff can’t figure out with a little effort and attention.

In addition to being a valuable member of the Knobelsdorff team, Jeff is a proud father of two adult daughters: Claire and Sydney. When he’s not at work, Jeff enjoys spending time with his partner Mary and their shaggy sheepdog, Gracie. Some of Jeff’s hobbies include traveling, hiking, kayaking, cooking, woodworking, and cross-country skiing.


Shane, Senior Project Manager

It’s a good place to work. A place where you can learn and grow.

Shane joined Knobelsdorff Electric back in 1996 while he was still in high school and became a full-time employee in 1999. He started out apprenticing, answering service calls, and doing residential work before getting his journeyman in 2002. From that point on, he started working on the heavy industrial side of things.

From then until now, Shane has continued to learn new skills and fine-tune his abilities. As a lifelong learner, he shares his years of expertise with Knobelsdorff’s new employees. Shane understands the importance of learning from your mistakes and getting the work done right the first time around.


Brandon, Senior Project Manager

You just keep getting more responsibility as you stay here. At the end of a job, you feel comfortable doing it. So, you do it again, and you do it better.

Brandon joined Knobelsdorff Electric in the early 2000s. He got his start with an apprenticeship which led to him getting his journeyman, but he didn’t stop there. Brandon worked his way up to foreman and eventually became a senior project manager. Now, he splits his time between the office and the job sites and ensures everything and everyone involved in his projects is in the right place at the right time.  

Brandon is a talented multi-tasker who regularly keeps track of 5-10 projects at any given time. He learned early on that everyone is here to help you if you need it, but sometimes diving in head-first is the best way to learn. Brandon is not afraid to get outside his comfort zone and try something different. He’s also a great communicator who can be trusted with lots of responsibility.


Thaddeus, Project Manager

This is a great company, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I had been looking for a job where hard work and responsibility are rewarded, and I have found that and more with Knobelsdorff.

Thaddeus joined Knobelsdorff in 2014 as a traveling electrician who went from job to job. After about two years, he moved into a leadership position. Now, Thaddeus primarily leads large projects that are outside of Minnesota. Thaddeus pursued engineering and mathematics coursework at Iowa State University before obtaining his Master Electrician License in both Iowa and Minnesota. He is also licensed in multiple cities throughout Illinois.

Thaddeus’s experience with electrical work began at the age of 14, wiring houses with his dad. As an adult, Thaddeus has worked as a residential and commercial electrician. He also spent a few years trying on different types of work in other industries, but always felt electrical work was it for him.

As an inherently curious person who’s drawn to complexity, Thaddeus is a natural fit at Knobelsdorff Electric. He brings boldness and charisma to his role as Project Manager which oftentimes grows to encompass sales and design duties as well. When he’s not working, Thaddeus enjoys spending time with his family.


Mitch, Project Manager

I am extremely grateful to be working for a great company, with incredible people, and for a generous and understanding boss. I feel like the KEI staff is an addition to my family tree: caring, sharing, and willing to lend a hand whenever it’s needed.

Mitch joined Knobelsdorff in the summer of 2014 as a Site Foreman. From there, he worked his way to a Project Manager position where he spends the majority of his time on industrial projects, including grain and flour milling, production facilities, grain elevators, and wastewater treatment plants.

Mitch is a graduate of the Construction Electrical Program at Riverland Community College and has been in the electrical trade since 2000. His experience includes everything from residential electrical work to industrial automation and project management. He brings a positive attitude, strong work ethic, a vast skill set, and a desire to succeed at every opportunity. Throughout it all, he enjoys the variety of work, the people he works for, and the challenges he encounters.

Mitch is the proud father to three wonderful children and husband to an amazing wife. Quite the outdoorsman, Mitch enjoys hunting, fishing, and lending a hand at the family farm.


Rich, Automation Manager

We keep things organized at Knobelsdorff, and it shows up in the quality of work our clients see. It really means something to work for a company with a strong reputation in its industry and in the community.

Rich joined Knobelsdorff Electric in the fall of 2016 as our Automation Manager. Primarily self-taught, Rich has been in the technology field for 34 years, 24 of which were in industrial automation. His professional credits include Instructor, Applications Engineer, Sales Engineer, Project Manager, Controls Engineer, and Automation Manager. His experience ranges from machinery and robotic control to process control.

Rich’s diverse background in automation technologies, combined with his experience in sales, engineering, and management, gives him extensive knowledge of and capabilities within the entire automation project lifecycle.

Rich served in the United States Navy for eight years where he attended both technical and leadership training. During his service, he specialized in the Tomahawk Cruise Missile System during the Desert Storm era and was awarded two Navy Achievement Medals: Expert Marksman in rifle and pistol and Master Training Specialist. When he’s not working, Rich enjoys fishing, hunting, and making trips to the cabin.

Derek, Project Manager

For me, KEI is more than a job. This place is an extended family for me, and I try to watch out for it as KEI has watched out for me. I take great pride in working here. I love what I do and who I do it for.

Derek joined Knobelsdorff in 2008. At the time, industrial automation electrical work was new to him, but he had a strong foundation in residential, agricultural, and commercial electrical work. Working with Knobelsdorff pushed Derek outside of his comfort zone and challenged him to continue growing his skill set and learning every day. Now, he helps others learn through the KEI apprenticeship classes at the shop.

Derek began his electrical career when he asked a local electrician if he could shadow him for a high school project, and he started an apprenticeship soon after. Now, Derek is a Minnesota licensed journeyman and a Certified Panduit Installer. He is currently working toward his Minnesota Master Electrician License.

When he’s not working, Derek enjoys spending time with his loving girlfriend and their two dogs. He also enjoys spending time outdoors and getting the most out of Minnesota’s four seasons.