Meet the Capital
Electric team:

“Capital didn’t sell this system and we haven’t sold any of the correction parts but we did make a difference, we made sure the client got what they paid for – even if it wasn’t from us”

Meet the Capital Electric Team: Mike Harpster, President

Before we get into that story though, let’s meet the guy steering the Capital Electric ship, the pheasant huntin’ and motorcyclin’, Mike Harpster.

Born and raised in Ashippun, a tiny town between Oconomowoc and Watertown, Mike grew up in farm country, where days were spent fishing, riding dirt bikes or fixing cars. The good ‘ol days you might say.

On the cusp of becoming a father back in ’84, he joined Capital Electric (even designing the original logo!), a company his father founded in 1978 after a career with US Steel in their Wire & Cable division.

Wires connect more than the systems; they connect generations in the Harpster family.

Back then, in the days before email and computers – and before they had a fax machine – everything was manual. Orders over the phone and inventory recorded on cards stacked in actual drawers. 3-4 hours to re-average each item’s cost when they received new material.

To say Capital has come a long way is an understatement.

Let’s get to the chat with Mike.

What’s your role at Capital Electric and what are your primary responsibilities?

I became President in 1994 but see myself as a sales rep for our team, doing my best to provide the vision and maintain our purpose of helping people make good decisions when buying wire, cable and related systems.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

My favorite days are spent visiting customers, learning about their challenges and finding ways to solve them.

How would you describe the team culture at Capital Electric?

We’re a small team that likes to get stuff done. We’re not too busy in meetings to make things happen.

We know things don’t always go as planned but with years of experience, we’ve refined our ability to adapt and resolve problems.

What makes working at Capital Electric special for you?

The opportunity and ability to make a difference.

We’re not a team of order-takers rushing through your project to get on to the next one. Our team is truly invested in ensuring your project goes well.

Share a story that highlights Capital Electric’s values

We’re actually in the middle of one now!

We brought in a new vendor for a system we’ve never sold before and on one of our first sales calls for that solution, we learned that a client had not only heard about this system but they’ve already deployed it at one of their facilities.

It was supplied by one of our competitors.

The only problem is that the system didn’t work – and they’d paid a lot of money for it to be installed.

Instead of saying there was nothing we could do since we didn’t sell it, we contacted the Regional Manager for the manufacturer.

He didn’t know anything about the problem but committed to figuring out what could be done to fix it.

It’s taken months, but we’re about to deliver and install the corrections that’ll make it work as promised.

Capital didn’t sell this system and we haven’t sold any of the correction parts but we did make a difference, we made sure the client got what they paid for.

Can you highlight something that’s been a game-changer for customers?

Definitely our Pre-Fabrication solutions.

Working with a Project Manager at a contractor, we break down what needs to get done on a job and when. Then our Customer Support Specialists work with our production team to create time studies and material estimates to create a firm, not to exceed, quote.

Once accepted, we get to work building.

The contractor meanwhile can have their team focus on what truly matters and we deliver pre-assembled materials when they’re needed that can be stood up, bolted in place, pulled into place, etc.

Major time and money saver.

Can you share a memorable project?

Some that I’m most proud of are where we’ve made a difference in children’s lives.

We’ve worked with a local children’s hospital for decades to ensure that communications in their facility never fail. The original goal was that when a connection is made, it just works – not only this year but for 20+ years.

Is there a piece of wisdom that sticks with you?

I heard a quote some time ago “There isn’t a lot of learning going on while you’re in your comfort zone.” It reminds me that learning about new ways, new technologies, new people are how we get better.

If we’re not getting better, we’re getting passed or getting worse – sometimes both.

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16680 W. Cleveland Ave., New Berlin, WI, 53151 | Phone: 262-788-9700 (800-227-9473) | Fax: 262-788-9710 |

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