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Milestones met for two cooperative employees

Working at an electric cooperative is a lifelong commitment for many employees. The reward of serving the co-op members on a daily basis, by keeping their lights on and their homes warm, is a positive experience, and employees like to stick with it.

Two of Capital Electric Cooperative’s dedicated employees were honored in December for their longevity. Operations Supervisor Rick Dressler was recognized for 30 years of service, and Business Manager Paul Fitterer was recognized for 10 years of service. Rick has spent his entire career with the co-op, and Paul started his career with National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) in Mandan before starting with Capital Electric.

Rick Dressler, Operations Supervisor

Two recent promotions have changed Rick Dressler’s role with the cooperative. After 29 years as a lineman and a lead lineman for Capital Electric, Rick took over as system supervisor in November 2013 when Larry Wittmayer retired. A little more than a year has gone by, and he now has been promoted to operations supervisor, a position vacated by the retiring 40-year veteran, Gordy Wiese.

“Coming off the line crew was a drastic change in duties, but it was an experience that will help me with the next phase of my career,” explains Rick. “The role of system supervisor was a great transition between the outside line work and the operations supervisor position.”

In this next phase of his career, Rick will supervise the line crew, as well as our newly promoted system supervisor, Jeff Holzer. Jeff will handle most issues relating to daily outages and communications with the line crews, and Rick will oversee them. When a significant outage occurs, Rick and Jeff will team up with the line crews to make sure power is restored quickly and safely.

One of the reasons Rick is so comfortable with taking over the operations supervisor job is the quality and experience of the line crew. “Because we have such a great team of linemen, I know they will make this job easier for me,” he says. “Gordy has been preparing me thoroughly as well, which I truly appreciate.”

When he’s not at work, Rick enjoys spending as much time as possible with his grandson, Hudson, along with Hudson’s parents, Travis and his wife, Kayla. Travis is Rick and Val’s son. Their other two sons, Weston and Ryan, round out the family that is such an important part of his life.

Capital Electric is thankful for the past 30 years of commitment from Rick. We look forward to his move into the position of operations supervisor, and to many more years of service to our members.

 

Paul Fitterer, Business Manager

After 10 years as Capital Electric’s business manager, Paul Fitterer has seen a lot of changes in how the cooperative operates. For the most part, technology has driven significant changes in how we interact with co-op consumers. According to Paul, “The job continues to be a challenge as our systems change continually. The number of staff hasn’t changed, so we end up wearing a lot of hats to get everything done efficiently.”

During Paul’s tenure, he has seen the number of co-op members increase by 50 percent. During that time, everything has become more automated, including customer accounts and payments. Outage management has also become more of a science during that time, making our response time to outage resolution even quicker.

Other challenges in more recent months include dealing with healthcare insurance changes, more government regulations, and a consolidation with Central Power in Minot. “There is never a dull moment around here; it seems like there is a new issue around every corner,” says Paul.

Outside the office, Paul stays more than busy with his family that includes wife, Danna, and three daughters. With lots of activities, including sports and church activities, Paul and Danna keep running. Paul also serves on the Salvation Army Advisory Board and the NISC Member Advisory Committee.

In reviewing the journey that led him to Capital Electric, Paul says, “It seems like a long time ago since I moved here from Juneau, Alaska, to attend Moorhead State College.” Capital Electric is glad he did, and appreciates his 10 years of dedicated service to the cooperative and its members.

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