Jeff Urlaub

Jeff Urlaub, CVTC graduate

Chippewa Valley Technical College

Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology

Founder & CEO, MEP Associates

Jeff Urlaub went from raising hogs and working construction to CEO of a consulting, design and engineering company with offices in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Oklahoma.

An injury from an accident led him to reconsider his future, and in 1988 he enrolled at Chippewa Valley Technical College(CVTC) in a one-year refrigeration program, part of what is today the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) program.

“I was interested in it, and intended to work in a field with my hands,” Urlaub says.

After completing the program, he moved to Florida, where he has family, and held a good job in refrigeration and air conditioning service and installation. He came back in 1991 and enrolled in CVTC’s two-year associate degree program called Air Conditioning Technology at the time.

“After the first year of the program, I figured out that I wanted to go on and get my engineering degree, so I started taking classes at UW-Eau Claire.”

The inspiration to further his education came from his experience at CVTC. The two-year program included hands-on experience working with air conditioning and refrigeration systems, as well as a strong component in design of such systems.

“That’s what led me to want to go to a university and become an engineer,” he says.

The CVTC experience helped him in another way. “I was able to pay my way through college with the two-year degree,” he says.

When Urlaub came back to Wisconsin, he worked for Cedar Corporation, an engineering firm in Menomonie, and quickly built a track record of success. He grew a fledgling department dedicated to plumbing, electrical and HVAC up to 20 people.

In 2001, he and two co-workers broke off on their own and started MEP Associates, headquartered in Eau Claire.

MEP Associates offers design services in mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and renewable energy, with most of its clients in education, healthcare and government. In addition, the company offers review services to ensure compliance with specifications in a variety of construction contracts.

The company is responsible for some of the most sophisticated geothermal projects, including the nation’s largest geothermal campus conversion at Ball State University in Indiana. Locally, the firm has done a lot of work for Mayo Health Systems, UW-Eau Claire and many others.