Meet your new director, Dave Charles
Newly elected Capital Electric board member Dave Charles knows electricity and what it takes to run a business that provides it to members. In fact, utilities have been part of Dave’s entire career and it’s an industry in which he wants to continue to be involved, even during retirement.
Elected at Capital Electric’s 71st annual meeting on June 6, Dave will represent District 1. Nine-year board member Rodney Eckroth retired from the board and Dave won the seat in an election, vying against two other members.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Dave was an aviation structural mechanic stationed at Lemoore Naval Air Station in California working on A7 Corsair fighter jets during the Vietnam War. His squadron helped train naval pilots serving in combat, making sure they were trained to fly the A-7 jet on and off aircraft carriers to perform their primary bombing missions.
“This experience taught me the value of leadership, safety and maintenance. It was vital our airmen and pilots understood the equipment they were operating and the jets were in proper flying condition,” Dave explains. Later in his utility career, Dave would see many parallels between the values needed in the military with those required to keep an electric system operating safely and reliably.
Earning his degree in electrical engineering from Montana State University in Bozeman, Dave landed a job with Montana Power Company. He began as a division engineer out of Havre, Mont., and would later move on as a division manager overseeing a large service area for the utility. Relating to his experience at Montana Power, Dave explains, “We worked closely with three electric cooperatives in the area, utilizing teamwork to ensure all utility customers received reliable and efficient electricity. I gained a great appreciation for electric cooperatives during those years as I saw how dedicated they were to their member-owners. It’s one of the reasons that I decided to run for the Capital Electric board. I also noticed how well Capital Electric was run and how reliable they were at providing power.”
Dave’s career continued at Basin Electric Power Cooperative after he completed his career at Montana Power. At Basin, he worked with regional transmission organization issues in the power supply planning department, representing Basin’s members as they dealt with federal regulations and the complexity of the ever-changing electric transmission world. “Power is bought and sold in the energy markets these days with price changing on a five-minute basis. The regional transmission organizations with their associated day ahead and real-time energy markets are very complex and requires attention and planning to make sure our power costs for Basin’s members remain as low as possible,” Dave explains.
Dave is dedicated to making sure every decision made is one that is best for the consumer at the end of the line. One of his first managers taught him how important it is to take care of the co-op’s members, and he continues to honor that tradition today. Dave is pleased to serve as your director and will bring his experience to the boardroom to help keep things running smoothly for Capital Electric.
Dave and Bev, his wife of more than 40 years, live in Bismarck. They have two daughters and son-in-laws with five grandchildren, who also live in our community.