Stuart C. Irby Co., a subsidiary of Sonepar USA, expanded its utility presence in the Midwest with the acquisition of Burmeister Electric Co. of Minneapolis, Minn., and High Voltage Testing Laboratories (HVTL) of Fargo, N.D.

Sonepar has a large electrical presence in the Upper Midwest already, through Viking Electric, Minneapolis, which it acquired in June 2000, and Brook Electrical in metropolitan Chicago.

Burmeister, which has 31 employees, was established in 1919 to serve utility companies in the Upper Midwest. The company is a full-line stocking distributor and manufacturers' agent offering products to the electric utilities for their transmission and distribution requirements.

HVTL, with 16 employees, is a fully certified testing laboratory offering high-voltage testing services and sales of PPE (personal protective equipment) safety products used by electric utility lineman and field service personnel in the contractor and industrial markets.

The employees of Burmeister Electrical Group, the distribution & transmission segment of Burmeister Electric, will continue to operate under the Burmeister name as a division of Irby. HVTL will transition to operate under the name Irby High Voltage Testing Laboratories to take advantage of the Irby name recognition in the industrial and contractor markets. Lonny Thimjon will continue in his role as president of both divisions. Under the terms of the agreement, Irby will acquire all four of the Burmeister and HVTL locations; two in Minneapolis, one in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and one in Fargo, N.D.