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Dahl stepping down after 27-year run

Jeff Cote (left) and Ken Dahl are working together to make the transition easy for the imminent retirement of Dahl from his longtime plumbing and heating business. A special appreciation open house is being held Dec. 12, at the West Fargo VFW in observance of the occasion. Jamie Grant/West Fargo Pioneer

After 27 years in a successful and rewarding residential and commercial plumbing and heating business, Ken Dahl has decided to get away from the 24/7 aspect of life relating to it and retire. Not a total departure, however, as he will definitely be pursuing another less time-demanding occupation, he's just still at a crossroads as to what that might be.

In doing so, Dahl feels great about leaving his clients in excellent hands. Jeff Cote, owner of Cote Mechanical, based out of Casselton, will be taking over Dahl's clients' needs.

No strangers to each other, the change seems like a 'natural transition' for the pair who have a longstanding, working relationship going back to Cote's apprentice days starting the summer of 1986, working side-by-side with Dahl as he mastered his skills.

Dahl will stay on to consult with Cote until the transition is complete.

A lifelong West Fargo resident, Dahl founded Dahl Plumbing and Heating, Inc. in April 1983, and has continued to do business in the community ever since. Both Dahl and Cote earned their associates degrees in plumbing from North Dakota State School of Science at Wahpeton and are master plumbers, licensed in both North Dakota and Minnesota.

Referencing his years in business, Dahl said "It was the best 27 years of my life. I love the business world and will truly miss it, along with all my great customers. No matter what the job, the technical knowledge was always critical, and I always took great pride in that and doing the job right."

Dahl said that many of those wonderful clients have also become lifetime friends, noting that many of the commercial jobs also turned into residential projects as he built his business relationships.

Among the larger commercial jobs he coordinated and completed, Dahl is most proud of his affiliations with Quality Meats and Seafood and MeritCare Hospital, along with projects for the Bethlehem Lutheran Church Addition, and Bob Footit Construction, some of them with Cote's assistance.

Topping the list of his most 'unusual' and just a tad bit humorous assignments, was retrieving a pager from a plugged toilet, and a call from a lady reporting garter snakes coming out of her toilet, following heavy flooding, a situation for which Dahl said he was able to do nothing but chuckle.

Dahl's longtime secretary of 16 years, Jan Erickson, is also planning her retirement at the same time as Ken.

With their soon-to-be newfound status, Dahl and his wife, Kathy, hope to spend more time with family. Daughter, Christina, who works for the Environmental Protection Agency in Virginia, is married to Monty Guthrie. They have two sons, Connor, 15, and Alex, 11. Daughter Tracy works for the postal service in Wyoming. Married to Chris Hanson, they have two daughters, Cassie, 21, and Rachael, 13. Son Chad lives in Arizona, where he operates JP Pancakes in Scottsdale and just recently opened a second JP's in Gilbert, Ariz. He will be marrying his finance, Amber Bates, next spring.

Cote's wife, Barb, is the office administrator for his business and will continue to serve in that capacity. They have two children, Paige, 15, a sophomore, and Kyle, 13, a seventh grader, both attending Central Cass School. Other employees include Phil Nohr and Matt Graber, journeymen, and Ben Taylor, apprentice.

Dahl has only words of praise for Cote, saying he knows he will carry on the same professional business traditions that both have shared in their previous associations.

"I want to thank everybody for the work they've given me in the past," Dahl said.

"For that I will be forever thankful and grateful." On that same note, he encourages everyone to continue their associations with Cote for the same reason they entrusted their work to Dahl Plumbing and Heating, "because it will be done right, at a fair cost and no one will be taken advantage of."

Cote said he is pleased to have the opportunity to pick up where Dahl is leaving off and eager to provide clients with "the same consideration and great quality service they've grown accustomed to with Dahl Plumbing and Heating."

Cote's showroom is located at 2031 Heartland Ave., in Casselton. Service calls can be scheduled either by calling 701-371-0223 (cell), or 701-347-5039 (work), or by visiting the business Web site at Emergency calls for around-the-clock service can also be directed to either of these numbers.

On a parting note, Dahl is anxious to show his appreciation to former friends and clients by hosting an Open House on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 2 to 4 p.m., that will celebrate his imminent departure, as well as the retirement of Jan Erickson, and provide the opportunity for a 'meet and greet' with Cote.

Dahl is encouraging everyone to stop in and visit and enjoy hor d'oeuvres and coffee. The event will be held in the lower level of the West Fargo VFW, at 308 Sheyenne St., in the former Arthur's on Sheyenne location.