The History of Hovland’s

Hovland’s, Inc. (originally Hovland Sheet Metal Works) was founded on March 21, 1922 by A.J. Hovland. The initial business was located on West Madison Street in Eau Claire, WI with five men employed during the first year of operation. One year later, L.G. Hestekin joined the firm as partner to A.J. Hovland.

In 1924, the shop was relocated to 324-326 Bellinger Street in the former Singer Building. The company entered into agreement with the local Sheet Metal Workers Union No. 166 on June 17, 1937, thus becoming a Union Sheet Metal Contractor.

In 1939, the company purchased the Eau Claire Pad Company Building at 318-322 Bellinger Street. A new shop was erected on this site in 1944 and the offices were moved into this location. After 25 years of operation, the company had grown to 28 employees.

The company incorporated as Hovland Sheet Metal, Inc. on December 26, 1951 with L.G. Hestekin as President. As the business continued to experience growth, branch locations were opened in Chippewa Falls and Schofield, WI.

Chippewa Hovland Sheet Metal was incorporated on October 10, 1956 and became a Union Sheet Metal Contractor in the Spring of 1962.

In 1968, with a recession looming, the company consolidated its operations into its present facility located on E. Melby Street between Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls.

Ralph A. Hovland, son of the company’s founder, became President April 15, 1971 retiring in 1980. Robert Hovland, his brother, retired as Secretary of the company in 1976 due to health reasons.

Although the “Hovland” era ended with the retirement of Ralph Hovland, Earl Welke, son-in-law of Ralph, stepped in as President in 1980 and remained in the position until his retirement exactly 27 years later. Tony Welke was elected as President upon his father’s retirement in November of 2007.

Now in its 4th generation of being family owned and operated, Hovland’s, Inc. is proud to continue the same tradition of providing quality HVAC solutions and customer service as they have for over 90 years!

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