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 BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) recognized Dale Haugen, general manager of Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative (MWEC), with the Cooperative Leadership Award at its 80th annual meeting Feb. 7. The award recognizes service to enhance the prestige of electric cooperatives, exceptional leadership and unusual devotion to duty.

 As the first general manager of MWEC, Haugen had an early vision of what the Bakken could become – and what it would mean for the power grid. In true cooperative fashion, he shared his vision with co-op members, power suppliers and lenders, and was able to define strategic financial solutions to make the massive Bakken build-out a reality. Today, MWEC’s gross revenue is approximately $350 million, with plant value of $1.1 billion. This growth is a direct result of Haugen’s innovation and forward thinking.

 “The challenges presented to MWEC with the massive and rapid growth of the oil and gas industries in western North Dakota were met head-on and reshaped into opportunities. Through Dale's leadership, MWEC transformed into an organization that has effectively met the overwhelming demands of several hundred megawatts of new commercial load while never straying from the cooperative principles. It’s an honor to present Dale with this award and recognize his 42 years of hard work, dedication and commitment to North Dakota’s electric cooperatives,” says NDAREC Executive Vice President and General Manager Josh Kramer.

 Demonstrating the cooperative principle of “concern for community,” Haugen has worked to improve the quality of life in communities served by the cooperative. As Mountrail and Williams counties grew, so did the need for infrastructure. Haugen was actively involved in the expansion of the Agri-Sports Complex in Williston. Today, this multi-use facility hosts family events, concerts and hockey games.

 “Without Dale's leadership, it would have been very difficult for the state of North Dakota to emerge as one of the top oil-producing states in the nation, a critical component in the United States’ energy independence,” says Vern Dosch, former president, National Information Solutions Cooperative. “Mountrail-Williams is an unquestionable success story. This accomplishment would have been impossible without Dale's leadership. It is efforts like this, and so many more, that illustrate Dale's understanding and commitment to the sixth cooperative principle, ‘cooperation among cooperatives.’”

 Haugen is a strong representative of North Dakota’s electric cooperatives and a celebrated leader. NDAREC congratulates him on receiving the Cooperative Leadership Award.

 Every year, NDAREC recognizes individuals for their generous contributions to North Dakota’s electric cooperatives and the communities they serve. An eight-member committee of the NDAREC Board of Directors selects award recipients from nominations submitted by NDAREC’s members, which include 16 electric distribution cooperatives and five generation and transmission cooperatives.