power lines

“Beat the peak” has become a unified message among electric cooperatives as the demand for electricity grows. This message encourages everyone to be mindful of their energy use during “peak demand” periods, or the times of the day when people are using the most electricity. Why is it so important? It can save you money, reduce your electric cooperative’s power cost (the largest expense your co-op has) and contribute to a better electric grid.

An interconnected grid

Randy Hauck

From Richardton to Velva – Originally from Richardton, Randy Hauck has called Velva home for 39 years. Verendrye Electric Cooperative (VEC) hired him as member services assistant upon graduating from North Dakota State University in 1984 with a degree in agriculture mechanization.

Jamie Zins

Reduce, reuse, recycle. It’s a public awareness campaign every ‘90s kids will remember. But for Jamie Zins, it’s more than a slogan: It’s a way of life.

His resourceful nature is on full display in McKenzie, where he’s given new life to the former school building. Years ago, 207 A Street is where Jamie Zins learned his ABCs and 123s. Today, the former schoolhouse is the home of his business, Jamie Zins Woodworking.

Dale Haugen

A farm boy from Ryder – Growing up on a small family farm, Dale never dreamed of a career off the farm. “Farming was in my heart and that is truly what I wanted to do,” he says. But interest rates were rising in the 1970s and when some neighboring land came for sale at auction, Dale determined his future wasn’t on the farm. “During the oral bidding process, I could not see a path forward, and we let the land go,” he says.

Marshal Albright

A product of Cass County – Marshal Albright is a homegrown product of Cass County, hailing from Lynchburg, about 30 miles southwest of Fargo. He started his career with his “hometown” electric co-op in 1986, when he was hired as a load management technician. In the late 1980s, electric heat was the go-to system, and Marshal programmed ripple controls (an inspection and maintenance program for load control receivers) and installed new meters for residential off-peak heating systems.

Dale Haugen

The electric cooperative workforce is in a state of transition. Many longtime co-op employees have reached or are nearing retirement. Over the next five years, it is estimated more than 15,000 people will be hired at more than 900 electric cooperatives in 47 states.

In North Dakota alone, nearly 2,500 full-time electric cooperative jobs exist. And, there are more than 30 types of career opportunities at electric cooperatives. As new employees come in the door, a well of knowledge and experience exits.


“Not many people get mad at the guy making coffee,” Travis Helfrich jokes.

It’s hard to imagine anyone being mad at a guy like Helfrich, who not only makes good coffee, but helps make the electricity Americans depend on to power their lives. He’s a coal worker, then a coffee roaster. In that order, for now.

While adjusting to a shiftwork schedule in his mid-20s, Helfrich picked up a coffee-drinking habit.


A decommissioned substation that sat powerless for nearly a year is no longer out of commission.

Central Power Electric Cooperative, a Minot-based generation and transmission cooperative, has disassembled its retired Garrison area substation and moved it 75 miles south to the Lineworker Training Center in Mandan, where it will be used as a training tool. The donated substation is a critical foundational piece of training equipment, which will allow for the development of a training program specifically for substation technicians.