Basin Electric employees share what they’ve learned about leadership through BE Leaders

Throughout 2019, 25 Basin Electric employees participated in the BE Leaders program. The program gives participants an opportunity to explore various aspects of leadership by completing monthly assignments, a leadership project, quarterly in-person sessions, and a job shadow. They delved into all kinds of topics – communication, conflict management, business tools, change management, and more.

We asked each graduate what was a takeaway they had from the program. Here’s what they had to say:

Alex Kopp, process operations field technician, Dakota Gasification Company:

I learned a lot about what a real leader does and how he or she talks to people. I also took a lot away for the leaders of the company and how they handle different issues with the plant.

Alex Stastny, telecommunications specialist, Transmission System Maintenance – Menoken:

I enjoyed learning how to recognize and utilize an employee’s individual strengths. Everyone has something positive they can bring to work, and sometimes it’s just about finding that thing and learning how to help them excel.

Ashley Ollenburger, auditor III, Headquarters:

My biggest takeaway was the networking – getting to have great conversations about Basin and the future of Basin with people I wouldn’t have ever crossed paths with otherwise.

Ashley Sundquist, accounting analyst III, Headquarters:

We tend to judge others by their actions, and in the reverse we judge ourselves by our intentions. A good leader will follow through with their intentions, adjust if needed, and bring people with them to the finish line.

Colleen Peterson, compliance program specialist, Headquarters:

BE Leaders was a great opportunity to get to know and work with Basin staff from other departments with whom I don’t normally cross paths. The program provided professional tools to utilize our personal strengths in areas such as change management and communication. It was a privilege to get to participate in this program with a great group of people, and it will be fun to see what great things the participants are part of and accomplish in the future.

Corey Morlock, process operations field technician, Dakota Gas:

One of my takeaways from the program was needing to learn to recognize how to communicate with different generations of people, or with the many different personalities of people, and having to adapt my ways of communicating with them.

Dustin Fritel, maintenance field technician, Dakota Gas:

BE Leaders brought a whole new perspective to the cooperative. The biggest thing I took away was being able to convey and communicate effectively. It was great to be pushed outside of my comfort zone and start thinking outside of the box. It’s so easy to just assume the most obvious of situations, but when a person stops to take a look at the big picture it is quite an eye-opening picture.

Germain Krueger, senior enterprise applications architect, Headquarters:

One of the takeaways from the program for me was the opportunity to work across departments and experience the project of an employee benefit policy from start to implementation. It provided the opportunity to work through the process of a project that ultimately requires approval from the senior management level here at Basin. I am grateful for the BE Leaders program as an offering to further develop skills and relationships within the cooperative.

Jennifer Bowerman, senior payroll analyst, Headquarters:

My biggest takeaway was understanding that being a leader is not tied to a position and we all have the ability to lead from wherever we are in an organization – lead up and lead across.

Jeremy Voll, compliance engineer III, Headquarters:

Leadership is not a title and position, it is an action and example.

Jeremy Woeste, member media coordinator, Headquarters:

It helped to keep in mind the bigger picture and how I can play a role in achieving our goals, and how I can be a person of influence from my position today. Anyone can lead from any position in the organization, you do not have to be in a position of leadership to be a leader.

Jill Rummel, senior tariff administrator, Headquarters:

One of the takeaways from BE Leaders would be to not only learn the know-how, but the know-why as well. It is important to take the time to reflect and evaluate your experiences. In 25 years if you didn’t take the time to reflect or evaluate, you will only gain one year of experience 25 times instead of 25 years of experience.

Joe Thomas, senior business systems analyst, Headquarters:

There were a lot of great moments in the class but in the end, it really brought out our strengths as individuals to help everyone as a whole. We have a lot of creative and innovative thinkers at Basin. Basin has a bright future.

Kayla Fitterer, planning analyst, Headquarters:

The time spent in the BE Leaders program was a pleasant experience. It helped define what it means to be a true leader, which is not characterized by a title, but how one influences the people around you. The program helped me grow through group discussions, readings, and building new relationships with my fellow coworkers.

Kelly Neameyer, process operations field technician, Dakota Gas:

Everyone is human, be kind.

Lindsey Schutt, administrative assistant II, Antelope Valley Station:

One of the things that I enjoyed about the BE Leaders program was the openness of it: people sharing their honest point of view, struggles that they’ve had to face, and their triumphs. Being able to walk through how different road blocks have been dealt with, and also as a group being able to coach each other through those different scenarios, good or bad. I also enjoyed getting to know people from different facilities, and I believe that everyone in our group brought something valuable to the table with all of the different experiences and individual strengths.

Mike Zimmerman, business analyst III, Headquarters:

BE Leaders is an opportunity to get out of their comfort zone to grow personally and professionally with a cross-section of employees that we might not otherwise get the opportunity to work or interact alongside.

Tom Leingang, auditor III, Headquarters:

The thing I enjoyed the most and found to be the biggest benefit of the program was the networking and candid conversations with Basin employees from other departments and facilities I did not normally work with.

Tracey Krusi, multimedia specialist III/senior graphic designer, Headquarters:

BE Leaders showed me that there are a lot of employees here that really care about Basin Electric. Cultivating, training, and listening to these employees can only help to make the cooperative a better place ― not just for the employees, but for the members at the end of the line. I appreciate that Basin sees the value in programs such as BE Leaders and encourages leadership training.

BE Leaders photo

BE Leaders graduates from Antelope Valley Station, Dakota Gasification Company, Leland Olds Station and Transmission System Maintenance.

Be Leaders_Graduation Photo_Nov 25th, 2019_02-crop

BE Leaders graduates from Basin Electric Headquarters.


  1. Deb Hovland says:

    I liked Jill’s last sentence.

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