46 years is the employment record to beat at Basin Electric

Doug Bjornson, mechanic I at Antelope Valley Station, set a new record at Basin Electric.

When he retired July 7, he did so with the title of the longest tenured employee at the co-op – 46 years to be exact.

“I wasn’t really trying to get to that point,” Bjornson says. “I just enjoyed my work. I was healthy and just kept going. But I now feel it’s time to retire.”

Bjornson’s career began in 1971 as a coalman at the William J. Neal Station in Velva, ND. He became a Basin Electric employee in 1973 when the co-op acquired the plant.

In 1985, Bjornson transferred to Antelope Valley Station (AVS), where he rounded out his career.

From the beginning to the end of his career, Bjornson also held positions of plant attendant, operator helper, mechanic II, mechanic/welder, and mechanic I.

Ask Bjornson about his career at Basin Electric, and he quickly rattles off dates of when he started different jobs. His sharp memory also applies to historical knowledge about Antelope Valley.

“My co-workers kid me about my memory,” he says. “They say, ‘if they don’t know it over there, Doug will know it.’”

Casey Stern, mechanical maintenance supervisor, agrees. “Doug’s mechanical aptitude and knowledge of AVS is amazing. You can ask Doug a question, and he knows the answer off the top of his head.”

Stern notes that Bjornson is a very well respected, admired, and dependable employee at Antelope Valley. “He’s always the last to go to break and the first to get back,” Stern says. “When we have an important job, Doug is the person we lean on to get the job done on time and correctly.”

Like Bjornson’s dedication to his job, he has another mainstay in his life, his first car – a 1953 Ford Victoria he hopes to give some TLC to during retirement.

“I’ve had it since was sophomore in high school, and have never gotten rid of it,” Bjornson says. “It’s in pretty rough shape.”

When not working on his car, home projects and traveling to visit kids and grandkids will keep him and his wife busy.

After 46 years on the job, surely Bjornson has favorite memories of working at Antelope Valley.

“There’s just so many,“ he says. “But, the people here are the best memories, I think. I’m going to miss everything. The job, the people, Basin Electric.”


  1. Arlene Helling says:

    what a great guy he is…. sorry we missed his retirement party, but were out of town. That is quite a story…. Hope Pat can keep him busy….LOL

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