Daryl Hill, Basin Electric manager of media and communications relations, began doing tours of Antelope Valley Station in 1979, when the plant was first being built. He watched the construction site transform from North Dakota prairie to North Dakota’s newest coal-based power plant. Throughout the years Hill has spoken to 37,500 people from all over the world. March 16 marked his 1,500th tour at Antelope Valley Station.
“They’re just plain fun,” he says. “I like meeting people from all over the world. I also really enjoy tour groups from the schools. The kids have so much excitement while learning about the plant.”
Out of all of Hill’s tours, one memory that is most prominent to him is when the cable TV show Modern Marvels visited Antelope Valley Station. “We stepped off of the elevator and walked towards the turbine deck and their photographer stopped dead in his tracks. You could see his jaw hit the floor. He said it was such a clean and impressive look,” Hill says. “He was just awestruck.”
“I believe that when you have a facility that has that much of an impact on someone, it means we have a great story to tell,” Hill says. “I think it’s a trademark at any of our plants that they are very clean and pleasing to show and in that respect I think we dispel a lot of notions about what people think of coal plants when they see a turbine deck like at Antelope Valley Station.”
When it comes to giving tours, Hill has a motto: “It doesn’t matter how bad of a day you may be having, when you are giving a tour it better be the best day of your life.” He says it is important to give people touring the best experience, because it may be the only time in their life they will ever see a power plant. “When I hear a person leaving a tour say, ‘Boy, that was a nice tour,’ then I believe we have done our job,” Hill says.
“It’s more than just a nice change of venue when I get to leave the office to go up to Antelope Valley Station – I look forward to the opportunity to show off North Dakota and share our story about Basin Electric facilities,” Hill says.
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Watch this June 1979 construction report, done by Hill.