Electric Coop Christens New Headquarters

A North Dakota rural electric cooperative has christened a new headquarters building that looms large over the landscape around Williston, and represents the historic growth in that region.
Jim Olson takes us to today’s ribbon cutting for the new home of Mountrail-Williams Electric Coop.

When the board chairman of Mountrail-Williams Electric cut the ribbon to officially open the coop’s gleaming new headquarters in Williston, it signaled the company’s commitment to the future.

(Dale Haugen, Mountrail-Williams Electric Coop GM) “This really is built not for me but for the next generation.”

General Manager Dale Haugen has guided the once-tiny coop through some amazing growth.

(Dale Haugen, Mountrail-Williams Electric Coop GM) “About eight years ago we went from this 30 megawatts to almost 500 megawatts, that’s like 15 times.”

That has meant thousands of miles of new lines, dozens of new substations, and scores of new workers to keep up with the demand caused by the budgeoning oil industry.

(Dale Haugen, Mountrail-Williams Electric Coop GM) “This oil boom has brought life back to Mountrail-Williams Electric and its membership. It’s allowed us to rebuild our lines and rebuild the coop.”

But while work was racing to keep up with the expanding oil business, the place that the coop called its home base was lagging way behind.

(Dale Haugen, Mountrail-Williams Electric Coop GM) “Picture where we were – in a trailer in a garage.”

But that picture has now changed.

(Dale Haugen, Mountrail-Williams Electric Coop GM) “Look at this building. It’s just part of what growth brings to the organization.”

Haugen took me on a tour of the building, starting with a reminder of the focus on security.

(Dale Haugen, Mountrail-Williams Electric Coop GM) “Homeland security is a big thing…”

So workers will have to pass strict background checks to be in places like this – the nerve center of the coop, the dispatch center.

(Dale Haugen, Mountrail-Williams Electric Coop GM) “This is where we monitor all the loads, all the transmissions, we have physical security and video of all the substations, all of our building alarms, all of our plant alarms.”

Along with security, the bew building has a high-tech training center, a tech-savvy board room, a cafeteria and lunch room, and much more.

(Kaya Denis, MWEC Warehouse Worker) “I think the new facility is really essential because we’re growing so fast as a company – every room here has a purpose.”
(Dale Haugen, Mountrail-Williams Electric Coop GM) “There are just some fantastic, innovative ideas in it.”

Ideas that will be critical to the growing coop’s ability to keep up with the Bakken. In Williston, Jim Olson, KX News.

The new building took about two years to construct.
 

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