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Father's Footsteps

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

Minnesota motor shop buys back phase converter business

A small Minnesota motor repair shop is exemplifying how you can follow in Dad's footsteps...and even rebuild some of the things he originally built. As reported last week by Chuck Hunt of the Faribault County Register, Al Maloney owns and runs Ron’s Electric Motor Repair in Blue Earth, the southern Minnesota town best known for the Jolly Green Giant statue (pictured below).

On God's Blue Earth: The Jolly Green Giant Statue in Blue Earth, Minnesota.— photo

Specifically, Hunt reported on how the younger Maloney took over his father, Ron Maloney's brainchild, and now owns another business his father once owned years ago, and had sold off, called KARAM Phase Converters.

“Dad bought the phase converter company back in the early 1980s,” Al Maloney told the Register. “It was Windiger Brothers Phase Converters back then, owned by some brothers in Waseca [MN].” Those brothers, according to Hunt, had a machine shop in Waseca and concentrated more on the shop than on the phase converter business, but “Dad was friends with them and asked them if they wanted to sell the phase converter business,” Maloney said in the interview with the Register. “They said yes, and so Dad bought it and started making phase converters here in Blue Earth.”

Al Maloney of Ron's Electric Motor in Blue Earth, MN.—Faribault County Register photo.

The best part? The story behind the rename, which was initiated by the senior Maloney to incorporate family letters. 'KARAM' comes from K- Karen (Al's sister and Ron's daughter) A-Arlen (another brother), R-Ron (the founder), A-Al (the current owner), M-Margie (the matriarch). Maloney told Hunt that this name was specially crafted over more traditional, if mundane, options like "Ron's Converters" or "Maloney Phase Converters".

A phase converter, to the uninitiated, is a unit that attaches to large electric motors and enables a three-phase electric motor to operate on single phase electricity. Farmers (and others) running three-phase motors often only have access to single-phase electricity, especially in rural areas.

Ron Maloney initially sold KARAM in 1996 to a customer in Fairmont. He passed away two years later. Now, Al decided the time was ripe to buy it back.

"Ron’s Electric Motor Repair has been around a long time. It was started by Ron Maloney in 1965 in Madelia. He also started shops in Slayton, Le Sueur and Blue Earth. Al Maloney moved to Blue Earth in 1977 to work in the shop here, which was first located just north of where they are now. They moved to the current building in 1979."—Chuck Hunt, Faribault County Register

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