Stay Basin: Embrace a better way of life at the cooperative


Be part of a caring co-op family

Before joining Basin Electric, Dennis Thorfinnson left work every day with a burden he didn’t think the world could see.

Of course, the signs of stress are often hard to hide – especially from loved ones. Thankfully, the plant engineer for Dry Fork Station says his wife has enjoyed seeing him come home with a smile for the past six years.

“I didn’t even know that much stress was coming home with me every night,” he says. “That’s why this cooperative has been such a positive change for me. You can’t believe how much nicer it is.”

In the 24 years prior to working at Basin Electric, Thorfinnson was part of a company with an atmosphere of uncertainty. He says there was always talk about cutting costs, leaving him and his co-workers in constant fear for their jobs.

When Thorfinnson eventually decided to learn more about a career at Basin Electric, his eyes were opened to a better way of life – the cooperative way.

“It’s very intriguing, the family aspect of the cooperative,” he says. “Your family comes first.”

Thorfinnson has found family at Basin Electric. The people he’s surrounded by are the best part of his job.

“It’s people who make the difference in your life,” he says, adding he attempts to return the favor by encouraging his employees to smile every chance they get.

Basin Electric: A place of opportunity

In addition to the positive cooperative culture, Thorfinnson says he was eager to start working at Basin Electric for the chance to build a new power plant. He describes Dry Fork Station as just another engineering project, but on a much larger scale.

Check out Thorfinnson’s photo of a double rainbow, taken at Dry Fork Station in 2011.

Thorfinnson says Dry Fork Station is an impressive facility, and he and his colleagues are always pushing to make it better. He’s good at his job, which requires a keen knowledge of orchestrating, coordinating, prioritizing, budgeting, operations and maintenance.

Thorfinnson knows these trades well, but don’t think he has stopped learning. The manager’s playbook has changed since his early days as an engineer, and he keeps his employees motivated to do quality work.

“It’s a very different means of supervising and motivating than when I was 25 and starting out,” he says. “It’s more personal and a lot more exciting.”

What has also changed for Thorfinnson, since joining Basin Electric, is the benefits package he receives.

“I do honestly believe we have outstanding benefits,” he says. “I know I paid a lot more before.”

Thorfinnson: It’s the best job in the world

Thorfinnson also believes in being in the right frame of mind at work.

“Having a healthy mental attitude and enjoying what you’re doing is essential, not only to be successful, but to do the job safely,” he says.

Being safe, happy and hardworking seem to be the key indicators of a healthy work equation for Thorfinnson. If you ask him, the most important of these is to be happy.

“This is the best job in the world,” he says.

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