Regional Office Delivers in Wichita

Electrical switches on a gray box.

August 9, 2023

Denver-based Ardent Mills recently needed an electrical upgrade at a grain receiving and storage terminal in Wichita, KS. Improving the electrical infrastructure would increase the reliability of Ardent Mills’ operations while providing a safer place for employees to work. Interstates provided core engineering, automation, and electrical construction solutions, but that’s not all: The Manhattan, KS, Office went above and beyond to ensure Phase 1 of this electrical upgrade project set a strong foundation for future phases.

A Way to Expand Safely

The electrical infrastructure at this grain elevator was very old, operating on starters and overcurrent devices that no longer have parts or replacements being manufactured. Dalen Meier, Regional Manager at Interstates’ Kansas location, says, “The electrical infrastructure needed to be upgraded.” Ardent Mills was interested in advancing and expanding its processes, but the existing electrical gear wouldn’t allow it. “Dependability was a factor, but also the client wanted to automate certain lines and install a reliable communications network,” says Meier. These advancements weren’t possible before this project.

According to Jake Ten Haken, Director of Client Delivery at Interstates, “A lot of the equipment at this location was old and nearing the end of its useful life. Ardent Mills wanted to be proactive and implement new equipment and systems.” Interstates replaced one grain elevator’s feeder and added a new feeder to service two additional elevators. We also added a new electric room and selected a location that would allow Ardent Mills to safely expand their storage capabilities down the road.

Understanding Needs ▶ Delivering Results

While the primary goal of this project was to improve the grain terminal’s electrical infrastructure, that couldn’t be achieved without constructing a new building and adding an access road. These extra details required Interstates to utilize non-electrical expertise in project budgeting, construction management, and subcontracting with civil construction and mechanical professionals. Ten Haken says, “We understood the project would need these things, and we leveraged our local team out of the Manhattan, KS, Office to secure local project partners to provide deliverables that typically don’t land inside our scope.”

Taking charge of all these moving parts for Ardent Mills allowed them to focus on production and other pressing needs instead of construction. “Being the main point of contact for 99% of the project let us really deliver for the client and show them how we can step in and fill the gap,” says Ten Haken.

Regional Office Pulls Through

One of the benefits of partnering with our regional offices for projects is the ability to mobilize local resources for projects of any size. Meier says, “It was valuable to Ardent Mills that we had a local presence with industry connections. Through coordinated client meetings and getting to know and understand their requirements, we saw that we needed to step in and handle the bulk of the planning and execution on this project. They needed someone who could take over and work local connections for subcontractors, so we took those extra deliverables into our own hands and got it done.”

From electric room design to having a new road put in, Meier and his team proved themselves a capable local resource and helped Ardent Mills through this intense first phase of their electrical upgrade project. Ten Haken says, “This is the first time our Manhattan, KS, Office has worked on a project of this size with Ardent Mills, and they were able to pull in local project partners they hadn’t worked with before to meet the client’s needs.”

Because of Interstates’ work on Phase 1 of the project, the infrastructure is now in place to switch out Ardent Mills’ equipment and help them modernize operations at their Wichita grain terminal. If there is an unwanted failure, replacing the equipment will now be faster and easier, and Ardent Mills will be able to get back to work safely.