Basin Electric employee featured in Wahpeton newspaper article

Spencer

The article, Son of railroad man builds career with Basin Electric was published in the Wahpeton Daily News on Aug. 16, 2017. An excerpt is published here, with permission.

As the manager of material services for Basin Electric Power Cooperative in Bismarck, North Dakota, Spencer Giddings has three areas of responsibility – he tracks and manages inventory for the entire company, about $125 million worth; he oversees the asset recovery program and he is in charge of the company’s supply chain software system. It’s a long way from his childhood in Breckenridge, Minnesota, where he thought he’d grow up to work on the railroad like his father.

“My dad worked 49 years on the railroad, and my mom was a nurse at St. Francis Hospital until they got married and started a family. They had six children in nine years – it was a busy house,” he said, chuckling.

Giddings said his dad worked for more than 40 years with the Great Northern Railroad, and later, for Burlington Northern. He expected he’d follow in his father’s footsteps after high school.

“I grew up in a railroad town and I was always intrigued by the railroad,” he said. “One of my first jobs was actually back when I was in high school, we would go out and repair rail cars for the railroad at the shop around 11th and Minnesota Avenue. They have a yard there and we’d clean out the cars and do repairs when the floors were broken, or repaired the doors. Here I am a kid thinking the railroad is going to be my life and I already had a job starting out there. But my dad straightened me out. He said, ‘nope, the railroad is a changing world and you kids are all going to college.’ And we did.”

After high school, Giddings went to college at Moorhead State, and graduated in 1979, majoring in finance and minoring in accounting. He moved to Bismarck then, because it was “halfway between my family and my wife’s family, she’s from western North Dakota.”

He worked in retail for a couple years until a friend, who worked for Basin Electric, told him about a job opening.

“Fortunately in 1981, I got hired to assist with construction on a power plant near Beulah, North Dakota,” he said. He worked with all the suppliers and contractors during the construction of the plant.

Going into his 37th year with the company, he’s seen his share of changes in the industry – the biggest with technology.

“Thirty-six years ago we were doing everything by paper, a manual process. Today everything is real time, inventory is real time. If one of our facilities takes materials out of the warehouse, I can log into the system and immediately see that our purchasing staff needs to re-order it,” he said. “The tech side of the changes has been unbelievable in the 36 years that I’ve been here.”

Read the full story, Son of railroad man builds career with Basin Electric, written by Carrie McDermott.

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