Annual service awards

There are many reasons employees choose to work for and stay at Capital Electric Cooperative. We listed some of the most common answers on C1. If you got to know some of our colleagues, they might also share that their jobs are fulfilling — because the time spent at work is fun. Th e linemen might tell you that they like doing a variety of jobs and spending time outdoors. The office staff at cooperative headquarters in Bismarck might share that nerf basketball games happen in a hallway and pinochle games get heated in the break room.

Our cooperative has experienced significant growth over the past decade; yet, the same number of employees continue to serve our member-owners today. We can do this because of advancements in technology that have streamlined operations and gained efficiencies. We can also do this because we work together well, and respect the role each person plays at the cooperative.

Every year, we note employees who have achieved a significant work anniversary. This year, we’d like to highlight seven employees who have put in a collective 95 years of dedicated service. These impressive numbers speak volumes about the dedicated people your co-op employs, and the environment in which they work.

Judy Ruzicka, work order clerk, and John Frey, crew foreman, are celebrating 20 years of cooperative service; Brad Johnson, lead lineman, and Beau Townsend, assistant staking engineer, are celebrating 15; Michelle Stark, ARC/GIS technician, and Josh Schaffner, energy services supervisor, are celebrating 10; and Journeyman Lineman Braden Martin is celebrating 5.

We thank these employees for their commitment to our cooperative and area communities, and the role each person at Capital Electric Cooperative plays in providing our members with safe, reliable and affordable electric service.


Get to know two of our most seasoned employees

Judy Ruzicka, 20 years

Judy Ruzicka

Judy Ruzicka has been surrounded by men for decades. At home, she and her husband, Wayne, raised three sons who are grown and married. In the office, she works in the “man corner” where over the years she’s heard colorful language, been the target of practical jokes — and once walked in on a co-worker who was changing his clothes after a cold day in the field.

Judy, the work order clerk for Capital Electric Cooperative, laughs when she reflects on some of the experiences she’s had over the years in the male-dominated industry of building and maintaining an electric distribution system.

She could have taken offense to the profanity and pranks. Instead, she chose to laugh and become good friends with many of her co-workers.

Judy doesn’t mind being right in the center — serving an important role in coordinating with the line crews, staking engineers and contractors, and being a valuable employee because of her extensive knowledge and can-do attitude.


John Frey, 20 years

John Frey

Crew Foreman John Frey wanted his photo taken in the basement of cooperative headquarters rather than out in the field. It seemed like a strange request that now makes perfect sense. John, a journeyman lineman for Capital Electric for the past 20 years, followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Richard Maier, who was also a lineman and later line superintendent for the cooperative, many years ago. Back in 1976 during his grandfather’s employment, one of John’s uncles, an artist, painted a beautiful rural landscape on a wall in a meeting room. A reminder of our member-owners and consumers at the end of the line, the artwork remains today.

Recently promoted to crew foreman following the retirement of Les Vietz, John says he is ready for this next challenging chapter of his career. Outside of work, John and his wife, Shannon, stay busy with their four kids, who participate in various sporting events. Also following in the footsteps of his former co-worker and mentor, Les, John likes to fish.

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