Be the light: Being a helper

The Basin Electric ad campaign “Be the light” shows how Basin Electric and its member cooperatives can be the light in communities and homes like only a cooperative can.

You may have seen the story in the March/April 2017 Basin Today Magazine, Be the Light: How Basin Electric employees shine in their work. This blog feature goes by the same name, with the same function – to highlight employees who shine.

When Erica Petrowitz is heading home for the day, she thinks back on whether she met her daily goal. If she was able to help at least one person that day, she calls it a good day.

In Human Resources, that might come in the form of helping an employee understand a policy or find a way to excel in their position.

She has known Basin Electric was a great place to work since her childhood. Her stepdad worked at Dakota Gas in the ammonia plant, often talking about how well the employees are treated and how good the benefits are.

Years later, while serving as Dakota Gas Human Resources manager, Petrowitz’s life was saved by using one of the cooperative’s most unique benefits, the cooperative’s own Dr. Tom Kaspari.

“I cannot stress more strongly the value of having Dr. Kaspari,” Petrowitz says. “He was the one who first diagnosed my breast cancer.”

Petrowitz says after she discovered a lump, she was able to get an appointment with Dr. Kaspari on a late Friday afternoon. “He got me in for a 3D mammogram and ultrasound on the following Monday. … I used to work in the medical field, and I know a five- to six-day turnaround is good to get those appointments. What he was able to do was unheard of.”

Petrowitz is in remission today following surgery, 16 weeks of chemotherapy, and a year of clean tests. These days, she’s been making the hour-and-a-half long drive to Basin Electric Headquarters more often. She says it’s peaceful.

“As a cooperative, we’re told everything we do is to benefit the members,” Petrowitz says. “I feel like I’m lucky in Human Resources. That same mentality of being a helper spills over into helping employees. As cheesy as it sounds, it feels like I’m working with family. It’s not just an employment relationship.”

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