Director of Northern Business Unit
Derek Varnell heads up the Northern Colorado and Wyoming Business Unit for Encore Electric, where he is responsible for all business operations and projects. He oversees a team of 150 industry professionals, including craftspeople, service technicians and field support staff dedicated to executing projects of all sizes, from large, high-end commercial and manufacturing builds to mission–critical data centers, hospitals and schools.
A 17-year industry veteran, Varnell has a natural talent for building, having discovered a passion for construction after first considering a career in electrical engineering. He began his career at Encore Electric as an intern while completing a degree in construction management at Colorado State University, and soon became a project engineer. As one of the company’s newest business unit leaders, he leverages a long track record in project management and team leadership to structure and manage construction teams for peak performance.
Varnell is proud to have had a part in managing the construction of many of the Rocky Mountain region’s most iconic buildings. He has led teams to help expand Colorado State University, the University of Colorado, schools in the Adams and Poudre Valley school districts, as well as a significant remote project in Washington. While he enjoys the opportunity to help change the face of educational campuses, Varnell’s favorite projects are data centers because they are highly technical electrical systems.
The son of an Army officer, Varnell spent much of his early life living and traveling in locations around the world. Born in Wiesbaden, Germany and the holder of dual U.S. and German citizenship, he lived in the eastern United States before moving to Colorado. Discovering the joys of skiing, he lived in some of Colorado’s most popular front range and mountain communities, and along the way, built a reservoir of valuable regional knowledge before settling down in Fort Collins to raise a family.
Varnell and his wife are parents to three sons who are grown. He and his wife are now avid music fans who enjoy traveling the country to attend live performances of multiple music genres.