Setting Up Shop

Owensboro Electric Motor of Kentucky under new ownership

Small businesses stand at a crossroads of uncertainty these days, with reason for optimism stirred into an unpredictable economy. Many small business owners feel that now is the time to make a move and spend money, while others may want to wait and see what the new administration does moving forward. For one North Dakota man, the turn of the calendar year seemed like an ideal time to purchase a motor shop location with a 40 year history, retool it, and make it his own.

In this case, OEM stands for something different. Formerly known as Owensboro Armature Works, the company that occupied the location since 1972, Owensboro Electric Motor, LLC now resides in the building just blocks away from the Ohio River.

Owensboro Electric Motor, LLC, on 14th Street in Owensboro, Kentucky.—Owensboro Electric Motor photo

Owensboro Electric Motor, LLC, on 14th Street in Owensboro, Kentucky.—Owensboro Electric Motor photo

Under new ownership, the company is currently led by Derek Schmalz, who has over 10 years of experience in electric motor repair. With Schmalz’s experience in the industry, Owensboro’s aim is “to build a stronger relationship with our current clients and serve a bigger and more diverse clientele,” according to the company website.

Schmalz moved to Owensboro from his hometown of Bowman, North Dakota to run the shop, beginning earlier this month. He bought the business in November of 2016. The new ownership boasts more than a decade of experience that includes agricultural, commercial, and industrial companies.

A cornerstone of the business will be AC electric motor repair, specializing in repairing motors that have up to 250 horsepower or 460 volts. Sales and rewind services are also offered. The company is a member of EASA.

The city of Owensboro was home to a major motor plant—a GE Energy Motors and Controls outlet that employed 88 people—until 2010.


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