Continuing a Family Legacy in Onsite Work

Olivia Ohm embraced the onsite business and joined her father at Ohm Excavating

Continuing a Family Legacy in Onsite Work

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A few years ago, Olivia Ohm was studying at North Dakota State University, not exactly sure what she wanted for a career.

Then she spent a summer working for her father’s business, Ohm Excavating. “I really started to like it,” says Olivia, 24, youngest of Chris Ohm’s three daughters (he also has two sons). “So I chose to do this full-time and started getting my certifications.” 

She is now certified as an onsite system installer, designer, inspector and maintainer. “She runs the equipment, the backhoe, the skids, she’s right there in the trenches,” says her father. “She does it all.”

Her dad recalls an interesting item he saw on AgWeek TV: “It was about a lady who was going to college and really didn’t know what she wanted to do. She ended up taking over her uncle’s ranch and just loved it. I sent that to Olivia, and she replied, ‘That’s me.’”

Olivia earned her certifications through classes offered by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the University of Minnesota. “The courses range from a couple of days to a week long,” she says. “Once I finished each course, I would go through a mentorship back home to get more hands-on training and learn the paperwork side of things. After the mentorship, I would have my license."

Olivia and Chris Ohm
Olivia and Chris Ohm

As a child, her only exposure to the business came on family visits to her grandfather, the late Grant Ohm. “I didn’t grow up around this stuff at all,” she says. “I was probably as far away from an outdoorsy person as you could possibly get. I worked at our local mall. I was going to school studying to maybe be a teacher. 

“But then I came out here, and I love working outside now. I love being on the lakes all the time. The positivity with the customers is great. Everybody is just so happy when at the lakes. The customers are great to work for and work with. Then of course I love working with my dad. We make a great team.

“Earlier this year we had a job where I had dug around a pipe. I had my knees over it, and I was standing on my head to look into a sewer line. I looked at my dad and I said, ‘If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would be right here, I would have never believed you.”

Last year she began leading an installation crew. In the years to come she plans to earn more certifications (such as intermediate designer, advanced designer and advanced inspector) and continue learning the business. “My plan is to own it, once my dad gets to the point where he doesn’t want to do this much work anymore. That’s when I’ll take on more responsibility.”

Chris Ohm notes that his father, who died in May 2020 at age 80, was “tickled pink that this business was going to continue even beyond me. To have Olivia really wanting to be a part of it, he couldn’t stop talking about it. He was so excited.”

Read more about Ohm Excavating in a the March issue of Onsite Installer.


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