Eric Tesarek was fresh into his new job at OPPD when a couple of employees started calling him Dan.
The same thing happened a few years earlier, during a stint at Lincoln Electric System, when people confused him with his other brother, Matt, who also worked at that utility at the time.
It might sound unusual, but mix-ups are kind of understandable when you have three guys of the same age who look alike and sound alike. And now they all work as electrical engineers for OPPD.
“There are a lot of people at OPPD who don’t know that we’re triplets,” Eric said with a laugh. “If I see someone in passing, they’ll say, ‘Hi Dan,’ and have no idea that I’m his brother.”
The 31-year-old Tesarek brothers are continuing a legacy that began with their father, John Tesarek, an engineer who spent most of his 34 year career as a supervisor at OPPD’s now-shuttered Fort Calhoun Station. Dan was the first to join the utility, in 2014, followed by Eric in 2019, and Matt in May.
The similarities don’t end there.
Dan, Eric and Matt Tesarek all graduated from Millard North High School, where they ran cross country and track.
Each enrolled at the University of Nebraska Omaha, then transferred to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln two years later to finish their studies in electrical engineering. Eric earned an MBA from UNO in 2021, and Matt and Dan are working on theirs now at Creighton University. John Tesarek took the same track through the University of Nebraska to receive his electrical engineering degree. He later earned an MBA as well.
In their free time, the brothers hunt, fish for muskies in Minnesota and Canada, and camp with their family at a spot on the Platte River. They’re also sports fans who root for the Minnesota Vikings, watch Husker football and volleyball, and catch Creighton basketball games whenever they can.
The Tesarek brothers were born in Omaha, with a sister three years older. Their mother, Diane, once estimated that the family went through 147 bottles of milk and up to 240 diapers a week.
It’s unclear whether the triplets are identical, when a single egg is fertilized and later splits, or fraternal, when multiple eggs are fertilized by multiple sperm cells at the same time. Testing was prohibitively expensive when they were kids. Triplets occur naturally in about one in 10,000 pregnancies, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
The boys looked so much alike growing up that even some distant relatives and family friends struggled to tell them apart.
“It’s something we still deal with,” Matt Tesarek said.
For the brothers, growing up as triplets provided plenty of play opportunities and a bond that remains strong today. The brothers talk daily, usually by text or phone, and take trips together when time allows.
“It was nice to have two people the same age as you, with similar interests,” Dan Tesarek said. “You always had two friends to play with. If you needed help, you could go to them and they were there.”
With a grin, he added: “I’m sure there were never any fights or anything like that. We always behaved perfectly.”
So how are they different?
The brothers struggle to answer. Eric thinks that, of the three of them, Matt looks the most different. Matt fancies himself as more of a risk-taker, but is pretty sure Dan is the fastest runner. Their father recalls that, as kids, Eric seemed to have the easiest time getting good grades.
Despite their shared interest in electrical engineering, the brothers have notably different jobs at OPPD.
Eric works in the Systems Transformation business unit, where he finds ways to make the utility’s system more robust and reliable, and partners with large companies with special electricity needs. He also helps plan for large redevelopment projects in urban areas of Omaha.
Dan uses his engineering skills to help maintain and extend OPPD’s distribution system, and he helps with many of the development projects in downtown Omaha.
Matt joined the utility after a stint at Lincoln Electric System and MidAmerican Energy in Sioux City, Iowa. He now works for OPPD’s Commercial & Industrial Solutions team, where he helps customers with energy efficiency, energy resiliency and solar projects.
The brothers’ decision to join OPPD is a point of pride with their father, John, who joined the utility as an electrical engineer in 1978 and stayed until his retirement in 2012. John Tesarek said he doesn’t think he had any undue influence on his sons, but was happy to see them succeed.
“It makes me feel like I must have done something right,” he said.
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