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MWEC Staff Were Shining at the 2023 Apprenticeship Training and Safety Conference

The stars were shining as two MWEC lineworkers were formally recognized for completing the apprenticeship program and two were awarded for their exceptional work.

Each year the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) hosts their Apprenticeship Training and Safety Conference (AT&S) where North Dakota lineworkers are recognized for completion of the apprenticeship program and NDAREC members are applauded for their accomplishments.

The apprenticeship program requires lineworkers to complete 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and more than 400 hours of study. Once completed the lineworkers advance from apprentice to journeyman. Those interested in becoming a lineworker must first complete a three-week introductory coursework program in June and then two semester certification before they enter the apprenticeship program.

“It is critical for North Dakota’s electric cooperatives to plan for the future and train our workforce. Apprenticeship is an important part of that plan. Our apprentices recognize the value of paid on-the-job training coupled with a robust educational component that helps build generational greatness in our industry,” Christy Roemmich, NDAREC Safety and Services Director, states about the program.

This year Hunter Bowker (Williston) and Jordan Carpenter (New Town) were recognized for their completion of the Apprenticeship Program.

This award is given to the highest-ranking apprentice in both related studies and on the-job performance. Lineworkers evaluations are based 70% on academic achievement, test scores after the nominee has completed 576 hours of independent studies, and 30% on performance, evaluated by four peers and one supervisor.

This year NDAREC presented MWEC’s Jordan Carpenter with this award. Here are some remarks that his colleagues shared about him:

“His pursuit of knowledge is unwavering and relentless. Jordan’s work ethic and positive energy are contagious and regardless of how difficult the situation he can find a way to keep a positive attitude. He has grown to become a great lineman and we are proud to have him on our crew.”

“His work ethic and strong sense of community leads him to volunteer for the local rural fire department and the community food pantry. This young man will be a leader in our cooperative and community for years to come.”

This award recognizes an outstanding safety advocate who inspires all employees to commit to safe job performance and who has greatly influenced their cooperative’s safety culture.

This year NDAREC presented MWEC’s Todd Melland with this award for his exceptional dedication to safety and tireless efforts to promote a safe and healthy environment for himself and those around him. Ryan Block, Safety Coordinator, states, “In his role as the fleet manager, Todd works to maintain the fleet department to the highest standards of safety and compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Todd is also an active member of the safety committee and plays a vital role in the building and grounds maintenance, ensuring that our facilities are well-maintained and safe for all who use them. Todd is a true safety champion, always stepping up for safety and leading by example.”

MWEC is proud to have such incredible employees that go above and beyond to make your cooperative shine.

Jordan Carpenter Award

Jordan Carpenter – Apprentice Graduate and AT&S Apprentice of the Year

Why did you decide to become a lineman?
“ I chose this career path because my dad was a lineman. Growing up around the trade at a young age I was always fascinated by the big trucks and heavy equipment they used. “

Why did you choose MWEC?
“When the opportunity to apply to MWEC presented itself it was a no brained. Everyone has hopes and dreams to get hired on at a cooperative right out of line school. It also, gave me the chance to move closer to family. With that also came the added perks of hunting and fishing along Lake Sakakawea.”

What do you enjoy about your job?
"I enjoy being a lineman because it is a challenging and rewarding career, filled with great camaraderie among the crew and co-workers. Along with this, I get to work outside everyday and operate some cool machinery.”

What does receiving this award mean to you?
 “It was an honor to be awarded apprentice of the year. Being recognized by co-workers, supervisors, and the apprenticeship program felt very rewarding.”

Todd Award

Todd Melland – Stepping Up For Safety

Why did you choose MWEC
“My first experience at MWEC was working with the line crew the summer of 1988 and 1989. Each summer, these experiences gave me a glimpse of the cooperative way – and that working at MWEC wasn’t just a job. People helping people at work and away from work, we were a family.”

 “Since then, I told myself that If I ever received the opportunity to work at MWEC full time someday, I was going to go for it. Now, here I am 17 years later, and it continues to be a great place to work.”

 What do you enjoy about your job?
“The sense of community. Every day, I have the opportunity to work with great people that always come together and do whatever it takes to get the job done.”

 What does safety mean to you?
“Safety is working safely so my fellow coworkers and I can go home every night to our family and friends.”

What does receiving this award mean to you?
“I am honored to be nominated by coworkers and chosen for this award. It truly is a team effort and takes every employee at MWEC to keep the lights on with safety in mind.”

Hunter Bowker

Hunter Bowker – Apprenticeship Graduate

Why did you decide to become a lineman?
“I think my dad and uncle had a big influence on me to become a lineman, even though neither of them came from that line of work. My uncle works for WBI Energy, a subsidiary of MDU, and he always told me I should go to line school because he knew line workers and it was a good career for them. I’m glad I decided to carry through with it because I could not see myself doing any other career.

What do you enjoy about your job?
“What I like most about my job is working together as a team with my crew and everyone else that’s involved in the co-op. The comradery amongst my coworkers is what makes going to work enjoyable.”

Why did you choose to work close to home?
“When I first started my career, I was in the Mountain states apprenticeship which allowed me to travel for work in five states. It did not take me very long to realize that moving around all over the place far from home was not what I wanted."