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Get Into Energy: A look at careers in the energy industry

To highlight Careers in Energy Week, October 17-21, we asked four ECE employees with very different jobs what they like about their co-op careers and found a lot of common ground in their responses.

Curt Erickson, fleet technician, 12 years. Maintains all shapes and forms of vehicles and machinery from chainsaws to semi-trucks.

“Everyone is equally important in this co-op, and high quality is a standard of operation, not just an idea. The people I work with are professionals who all share a common goal—satisfied members. I look forward to each day of work and take pride in our fleet. This is a great job for a person who is hands-on, mechanically-minded and enjoys a variety of challenges.”

Tonya Johnstad, service coordinator, 15 years. Assists members with their electrical needs, whether it’s getting electricity to a new home or upgrading an existing service. Coordinates projects with the construction maintenance supervisors and line crews.

“Not only is my job rewarding, but the people I work with are truly amazing. Building a new home and getting power established is an exciting time for our members, and it’s nice to be part of that. This is a great job for a person who enjoys a fast-paced environment where two days are never the same and you have many irons in the fire.”
Cheryl Hagfors, CFO and vice president of member services, 25 years. Oversees the co-op’s financials and member communications, whether they are in person, by phone, mail, internet or media.

“I like my job because of the variety. I do spend a lot of time analyzing numbers, but I also have the opportunity to work with members and employees. The education and experiences I have received from co-workers, peers at other co-ops and members has been particularly valuable to me. The electric industry is changing every day, and to me, this means opportunities and excitement.”

Jim Winkler, energy services specialist, 20 years. Works with members on programs to save energy and money, does electrical upgrades at co-op facilities, troubleshoots equipment and investigates power quality concerns.

“Every day presents me with new challenges and an ever-changing schedule. Being an energy services specialist is a great job for someone who is self-motivated and enjoys the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing a variety of tasks. I like a good challenge and being able to see results that benefit both our members and the co-op.”


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