Engineering services manager reflects on the backroads that guided him to the cooperative

 

My grandpa tells the story of growing up north of Menoken and remembering Capital Electric Cooperative stringing the line to the farm. The old kerosene lamps were hardly bright enough to see in the barn, but the first time he turned on the electric lights
he could clearly see from end to end. That immediate impact made such an impression that years later the memory is still vivid.

It’s stories like these that have always drawn me to working for a cooperative. Having a connection with the member and making a difference in their lives is a very rewarding feeling. As this position became available at Capital Electric, I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to utilize my experiences, work with a talented team, and help our members while living near the roots of my heritage.

Another exciting aspect of working at Capital Electric is the progressive outlook on embracing the future. While the distribution system is built on a strong foundation, advances in consumer technology, distributed/renewal generation and battery storage are quickly approaching on the horizon. Much like the Peak Time Rebate program, solar pasture wells and electric vehicles, these systems will bring opportunities to learn and develop new ways to serve our members.

I grew up on a small grains farm north of Valley City, N.D. I have fond memories as a youth riding with my dad in our Versatile tractor and Gleaner combine, hoping someday I’d be big enough to take the wheel. As I grew older, I found plenty of opportunities to operate equipment, eventually relishing the breaks between loads to pick up a Louis L’Amour western. Farming teaches many life lessons of hard work, long hours and determination that, after our farming days were over, I could carry forward into my career.

Following high school, I attended NDSU and completed electrical engineering degrees. I began my professional career with an engineering firm in St. Paul, Minn., where I had the privilege to work on utility projects across the country. While big-city life was fun for a season, the lure of raising children closer to our families brought us to Bismarck and a position at Basin Electric. Working for a generation and transmission cooperative brought vast new experiences and connections with great people. It’s
also fun to see many former classmates and their families in the Bismarck-Mandan area.

We settled in rural Baldwin, where a connection with farming and ranching is felt on the daily commute. My wife, Danika, and two girls, Eliza (5) and Harper (3), love seeing calves in the spring and equipment rolling in the fields. We find plenty to do at home between house and shop projects and amateur farming. On weekends, we can often be found camping at Lake Sakakawea or taking in the Medora musical. We consider ourselves very fortunate to live in such a great part of our state, and I look forward to my days ahead at Capital Electric.

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