Birkel Electric cultivates new business

  A 52-year old St. Louis electrical contracting firm finds fertile new territory

From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Legal marijuana is an $8.5 billion industry in which Missouri will soon participate, thanks to an initiative approved by voters.
Jim Gallagher and David Nicklaus discuss what that means from a business perspective.

Legal medical marijuana is creating revenues for small businesses – and in unexpected places. Birkel Electric, a St. Louis electrical contracting and engineering firm established in 1967, is one business that has found ways to profit by turning its own expertise to Missouri’s marijuana opportunities.

According to an article in The Saint Louis Business Journal: 

[Birkel Electric] has formed a subsidiary, Birkel Cultivation Solutions, to serve the equipment needs of marijuana growers. Mike Birkel, president and owner, projects it will add $7 million to the company’s $20 million in annual revenue, just to start. It is currently doing $200,000 in electrical work for a cultivation facility in Illinois, though the client does not want to be identified.

Per The Journal, Birkel got the idea, and the necessary knowledge, from work on previous projects – in particular, the electrical contracting he provided for the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

“The needs of marijuana growers, especially those growing in large quantities, are complicated. “The electric watts needed per square foot are off the charts, and you need that power 24/7,” Birkel said. “Ditto for the mechanical power. It’s very complex.”  The revenue potential is significant. “A 30,000-square-foot facility could easily reach $1.5 million,” Birkel said. “If substantial infrastructure isn’t there, it could go way up in cost.”

Birkel told The Journal that his company currently employs 100 electricians and that it “expects to add 40 more as its cannabis business expands.”


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