He looked into a power plant boiler. Stood on a 17th floor observation deck. Watched a 300-ton coal truck dump its load in 15 seconds. Cameron Fleck did all the things everybody does who takes a tour sponsored by Basin Electric, and it changed his life forever.
Today, Fleck works for Basin Electric Transmission System Maintenance in Williston, ND, as an apprentice communications technician. He installs and maintains two-way radio infrastructure and microwave systems for the new electrical transmission to be built in the region, which will serve the growing electrical load.
In 2007, he was a sophomore at Shiloh Christian School in Bismarck, ND, taking a class in ecology taught by Gene Kostelecky. He had attended elementary and middle school in Flasher, ND, near his home, a farm 25 miles south of Mandan.
Nobody he knew growing up worked in the field of generating electricity or mining coal, and so it had never occurred to him that could be his career someday. Not until he took that Basin Electric tour, and saw firsthand the different types of jobs he could do. Everybody driving the coal trucks, and walking around the power plants, used two-way radios to communicate with each other.
Right after high school, Fleck got a job with Electronic Communications, Inc., working while going to college. “A couple of my friends from class went to Bismarck (ND) State College with me. They went into power plant technology, and I went for electronics.”
Fleck stayed with Electric Communications for several years, honing his skills. Then in December 2011, he started work at Basin Electric.
“I knew I didn’t want to do shift work. My friends had grown up in households where their fathers worked shift work and loved it. But for me, electronics or instrumentation was more my thing. I’m glad I took that tour, and opened my eyes to a career I had never considered before,” Fleck says.