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Co-Founder Retires From North Dakota’s Largest MEP & Civil Engineering Consulting Firm

Co-Founder Retires from North Dakota’s Largest MEP & Civil Engineering Consulting Firm

FARGO, N.D. January 22, 2017 – Jim Nelson, co-founder of North Dakota’s largest mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP) and civil engineering consulting firm, Obermiller Nelson Engineering (Obernel), retires after 35 years as a mechanical engineer and fire protection engineer. Obernel’s other co-founder, Dave Obermiller, retired in October of 2015.

An NDSU graduate, Nelson worked for 10 years at another engineering firm in Fargo before he and Obermiller founded Obernel in 1992. Since then, the firm has grown to become the largest MEP and civil firm in the state of North Dakota with several locations across the U.S. and has completed over 8,000 projects as a team.

Upon reflecting on his career, Nelson said, “When I drive through Fargo and through some of the small towns surrounding it, it blows me away to think about how many buildings we’ve worked on. But I’m most proud of the fact that the systems we’ve designed have truly stood the test of time.”

Nelson has been involved in the design of mechanical and fire protection systems for education, commercial, institutional, industrial and medical facilities. He has extensive experience with educational facilities for elementary, secondary and university schools. “Jim has always been one of the problem solvers in the office,” said Jeremiah Christenson, Managing Principal and Mechanical Engineer at Obernel. “He’s been a resource since I first started my career. For anybody who’s having an issue, they go to Jim to ask for advice on solving it. I think the reason people continue to look to Jim as a problem solver is because he has a mentality of keeping it simple. It goes beyond just solving a problem, it’s finding a simple way to go about it because complex solutions typically don’t work.”

When asked what Nelson’s retirement will mean for the company, Christensen responded that “Jim has always cared about the employees and about the company. Though he hasn’t always been the face of Obernel, our corporate values were certainly shaped by who Jim is and how the company began. Obernel got off the ground as a startup, evolved to a growing company, then a sustainable company, and now to an organization that looks long-term at doing what’s right for our employees and right for our clients. We’re a team with a common goal and purpose of caring about our clients and our employees in the communities we live and work in. The impact we have on our communities in the hospitals, schools, churches, government buildings and businesses we work on, our impact on people’s lives is huge! Even with Jim retiring, Obernel will continue to be successful, do a wonderful job and be experts in our field.”

The Obernel team delivers success to their clients by providing professional, detailed mechanical, electrical and civil building design and coordination. Headquartered in Fargo, N.D. the company has offices in Bismarck, N.D.; Grand Forks, N.D., Alexandria, Minn.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Media, P.a. With licensed mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, civil engineers, fire protection engineers, LEED accredited professionals and their commissioning services professionals on staff, Obernel provides its clients with the highest quality of engineering services. To learn more about Obernel, visit



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