The ECW Story
Energy Consultants of Wisconsin was founded in 1989 by Jeff Gruetzmacher of Grafton, WI. Jeff originally conceived ECW based on new fluorescent lighting technology that offered financial and environmental benefits. At that time, nearly 30 years ago, most Wisconsin homes and businesses still used incandescent bulbs and similar outdated lights for their lighting needs. Jeff understood that new fluorescent lights like T5 bulbs are far more financially and environmentally beneficial than older lights. Also, ECW lights offered brighter and whiter light than seen with older lighting technology.
With a promising new business in ECW, Jeff got to work installing energy-efficient lighting technology throughout Wisconsin. In the process, ECW became one of the 1st Wisconsin businesses to actively promote such environmentally friendly technology. During the 1990s, ECW gained a solid customer base around Wisconsin, including major grocery store chains and manufacturing companies. Due to the growth of the business, Jeff expanded the ECW team by hiring friends and family from the Grafton, WI area.
Jeff’s two sons Kurt and Kent began working with ECW when they were still in their early teenage years. During the mid-1990s, they helped with odd jobs such as re-lamping grocery stores. In like fashion, Jeff’s daughter Kate helped with branding and marketing ECW. Beyond the immediate family, Jeff employed friends of his children, as well as others in need of work around the Grafton area. As such, over the past 30 years, ECW has become a vital part of the local community.
In 2001, Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy Program was launched - the platform incentivized local businesses to install energy-efficient lighting. With this new partnership, ECW was able to offer environmentally friendly lighting to customers at a discounted price. It was around this time that Jeff’s oldest son Kurt began full-time employment with the company. With a spike in businesses from the Focus on Energy partnership, Kurt quickly assumed a supervisory role with installations, sales, and project management.
In following their dedication to energy-saving technology, Jeff and Kurt decided to compliment the lighting services at ECW with a solar program. Moreover, this decision gave ECW the ability to engage residential clients in single-home dwellings. As a result, Kurt acquired his solar installation certification from the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and they quickly got to work with installs. Since that time, ECW has become one of Southeast Wisconsin’s premier authorities on solar energy technology.
While expanding the ECW team to serve their many new clients, Jeff hired Phil Carrol of Port Washington, WI and James Carlson of Grafton, WI. With a knack for electrical work and dedication to the company, both Phil and James quickly advanced at ECW. In time, they both acquired their Master Electrician certifications and adopted the roles of Site Foremen. Phil and Jim currently oversee the electrical services department at ECW.
Jeff’s oldest son Kurt took ownership of ECW in 2017. Today, Kurt carries on Jeff’s legacy of top-tier electrical work and astounding customer service. Looking back at the company’s founding in 1989, ECW been an integral part of the Milwaukee area business community for decades. Yet, over this expansive history, ECW has remained a family-run business that always puts client’s needs first. Finally, our business has evolved with the technology of the times - many of our lighting installs now feature highly efficient, long-lasting LED lights.
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