Wayne Engle

Image of  Wayne  Engle

Wayne Engle

The ESCO Group

Laureate 2011

Wayne Engle contributes faith and hard work to getting him where he is today. He grew up near Ottumwa in the back of a two room house. Wayne has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. As a young boy, Wayne began trading rabbits, moving his way up to purchasing goats, and finally on to ponies as an adult. After high school, Wayne attempted to join the Air Force as a plumber but since that program was full he joined as an electrician. While in the Air Force, he married his high school sweetheart, Shirley, and they have been happily married for 59 years. After Wayne’s time in the Air Force, the Engles moved to Marion, Iowa in 1959 where Wayne had an apprenticeship as a journeyman. Wayne knew that his job at the time was not a good fit; so, with two mortgages on the house, one on the car, $40 in the bank, two sons and a pregnant wife he decided to quit his job and start his own business!

What is now known as the The ESCO Group was built through Wayne’s blood, sweat, and tears. The company began as E&S. In the 1980’s, Wayne filed for reorganization and the company became The ESCO Group. Wayne’s days would frequently begin at or before 4:00am and would go non-stop. Often his boys would come to work with him on Saturdays where they quickly learned the value and reward of hard work. Wayne’s leadership and innovation helped The ESCO Group to be ever changing with the times. The company has expanded to multiple locations doing work nationally and abroad. Today, The ESCO Group is comprised of four business units: ESCO Automation, ESCO Electric, ESCO Energy, and ESCO Safety.

Those who know Wayne know that he is a person who has no fear, especially not a fear of failure. He is a believer that there is a lesson to be learned in everything and there are no problems, rather only “opportunities” for solutions. Wayne will be the first person to say that his successes in life were made possible through the support of his loving wife and children. Wayne and Shirley were blessed with four children Dave, Dan, Doug, and Sue.

Wayne’s professional commitments have never hindered his involvement in the community. He has served on over 30 Boards of Directors including Junior Achievement (President for 3 years), Cornell College, St. Luke’s Hospital Foundation, Linn-Mar School Board (President for 3 years), Marion Christian Church (Elder Emeritus), Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Marion Chamber of Commerce, First Light Christian (Racial Reconciliation), Perpetual Savings and Loan, Co-Founder and board member of Linn Haven and Discovery Living and Co-Founder and board member of Marion Cares.

Wayne’s phenomenal work ethic and love for the community has carried throughout his retirement. In 2007, over a cup of coffee, the idea for Marion Cares evolved. Marion Cares is a Christian based organization serving over 150 K-12th grade students in the Marion Independent and Linn-Mar school districts. The services provided by this group address moral guidance, academics, technology education, recreation, family and social needs.

In 2008, the floods brought another opportunity for Wayne to help the community. Wayne was asked to help coordinate electrical work when 8 Days of Hope came to town. However, with such substantial damage, eight days were simply not enough. Wayne worked to organize other retired electricians and formed the “Old Farts Electric Group.” Using donated time and materials, this group rewired more than 280 flood-damaged homes. Still very active today, the Old Farts offer their services to the elderly population and people in need.

Wayne’s impact on The ESCO Group continues now as his legacy has passed to the 3rd generation of owners.

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