S E P T E M B E R / O C O T O B E R 2 0 1 7 24 POTATO GROWER Interview With Roger Ellingson Of Ellingson Companies Ellingson Companies is a third generation, full service construc- tion company that specializes in agricultural drainage technologies and trenchless solutions in Minnesota, North Dakota, and throughout the Midwest. In 1997 they opened their current corpo- rate office just south of West Concord, Minnesota. In 2000 the company expanded into the Red River Valley and in 2008 opened a new facility in Harwood, North Dakota. The owner of the compa- ny, Roger Ellingson, agreed to sit down with us and answer a few questions on drain tiling and more. How long has Ellingson Com- panies been in business? We started our business in 1970. This is our 47th year providing water management solutions and engineering. Is Ellingson Companies a nation- al business? Yes. We have done work in 28 states and built projects in Canada. I’ve also consulted on water man- agement projects in South America, China and traveled Europe to study drainage water management on multiple occa- sions throughout my career. What different services does Ellingson Companies offer? We are quite diversified at Ellingson, offering Agriculture Subsurface Drainage Water Systems, Sub Surface Irrigation, Ag Drainage and Sub irriga- tion system engineering, cured in place pipe lin- ing, large and small diameter direc- tional drilling specializing in oil and gas, pipe bursting and slip lin- ing. How many employees do you have in the Harwood office and how many would you guess you employ nationally? With our partners, we have a little over 70 people working out of our Harwood office, the largest per- centage of them living in or from North Dakota. We have over 250 employees throughout our busi- nesses. Who started this business and what made them want to start it? My father started the business in 1970 and I joined the company full time in 1973. We were farmers and had seen the extreme need for drain tile but couldn’t find a good quality contractor to get the tiling done. What are the benefits of putting in drain tile as a water manage- ment tool? It almost guarantees you a good crop in very, very wet years and an even better crop in dry years. When you remove some of the excess water in the fall and a little in the spring, it allows you to get into your field earlier allowing for the roots to get a strong base. So, in a dry year like the one we are having, you’ll notice the crop on a Eldon Ellingson (right) with his son Roger in mid 1970’s.