WBI employees help ready popular lake for summer visitors

Richie and Nathan, both pipeline operators with WBI Energy, volunteered their time to enhance portions of Hollecker Lake, located near Glendive, Montana. Richie operated a skid steer to enhance the beach area, and Nathan used an excavator to place large rocks along the lake’s shoreline.


WBI Energy employees in Glendive, Montana, recently helped prepare a nearby fishing pond and swimming area for upcoming summer visitors. Hollecker Lake near Glendive is a community fishing pond that features a public beach area for swimming and relaxing in the sun.

“Hollecker Lake is a great place to take the entire family to fish and swim, and is very popular in the summer,” Dave Linn, WBI Energy senior engineering and project manager, said.

Recognizing the fishing pond needed some TLC, the Glendive chapter of Montana Walleyes Unlimited applied for and received a Community Pond Program Grant from the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

WBI Energy helped the local Walleyes Unlimited chapter meet the grants’ matching funds requirement by providing heavy equipment and equipment operators. This in-kind donation was used to repair erosion along the lake’s shoreline and add more sand to enhance the beach area.

“WBI Energy has many employees who are members of Walleyes Unlimited,” Linn said. “These members very much appreciate the company’s support for our local chapter and for helping us meet the grants’ local matching funds requirement.”

Employees recognized with corporate award for workplace spirit


Advocating for other employees and their career growth. Having a positive attitude. Coordinating events that foster camaraderie. These are a few examples of how four employees within the MDU Resources family of companies help create a positive work environment.

For their efforts, they were each honored with the Summit Award. This annual corporate award recognizes employees who make the company a better place to work. Each winner receives a cash price, plus $1,000 is given to a qualified charity of the winner’s choice.

MDU Resources annually honors employees who make outstanding contributions to its family of companies and the communities it serves. Four award categories recognize spirit (community and workplace), skill and stewardship.


2022 Summit Award winners

Paul Stafford
Preventative maintenance trainer, Knife River — Western Oregon division
Tangent, Oregon
Selected charity: Oregon Health & Science University Foundation

The individual who nominated Paul noted his amazing attitude and attention to detail.

Paul is “always willing to help anyone else in need, no matter what the situation,” his nominator said. As a trainer, Paul continues to carry forth that positive attitude and assistance with the employees working under him.

Paul’s nominator noted, “Knife River is lucky to have him as a loyal and dedicated employee. He, and many like him, make this a great place to be.”


Mike Davis
Superintendent, Bombard Electric
Las Vegas, Nevada
Selected charity: Project 150

Mike has been working for Bombard Electric since 1989. His expertise, knowledge and character contribute to making Bombard Electric a great place to work.

He is currently running multiple jobs, including a solar project with 50+ employees and more than 350 employees at Las Vegas’ most unique project of all time: the MSG Sphere.

  • Mike is open minded and accepting, willing to support and mentor anyone who is motivated and wants to work hard.
  • MSG Sphere has a large percentage of female employees. Mike takes seriously his role in advocating for them on the job and encouraging their career growth.
  • Bombard works with some very large general contractors across the country, thanks in part to Mike’s expertise in the field and his working relationships.


Patty Fillion
Human resources administrative assistant, WBI Energy
Bismarck, North Dakota
Selected charity: Dream Center Bismarck

With responsibilities for the front desk area, Patty greets all visitors and co-workers that pass her desk with a hearty hello and has befriended everyone from the Pepsi man to the UPS lady.

She also is one of the first points of contact for new hires across WBI Energy. Her nominator said Patty’s “enthusiasm and pride for working here is shared with candidates immediately, and I can’t think of a better way to introduce new hires to what a great place to work this truly is!”

Patty is quick to recognize achievements of others, gives great constructive feedback (in all directions), pitches in and helps whenever she is asked or sees a need and freely shows gratitude to all that are deserving. She advocates for those in need and serves as an informal mentor to many that cross her path, both personally and professionally, sharing insightful words of wisdom and advice.

Feedback from her co-workers include, “Patty is one of the most selfless and kind-hearted people I have come to meet. She takes things that are already beautiful and makes them extraordinary. Her personality makes everything around her shine. She’s the type of person that I aspire to be when I grow up.”


Amy Prokop
Legal analyst, MDU Resources
Bismarck, North Dakota
Selected charity: Furry Friends Rockin’ Rescue

Amy goes above and beyond to make MDU Resources a great place to work. For 18 years, she has organized a successful employee volleyball tournament. Her commitment to this annual event is grounded in her drive to encourage and support camaraderie, build relationships among employees and their families, and ensure that MDU Resources has a positive atmosphere.

Amy inspires a positive workplace in her department and with everyone she works with throughout the corporation. She has a professional “can do” attitude, an impeccable work ethic and a steady willingness to help others. Her co-workers see her not only as a leader, but also as a mentor with her extensive knowledge of the company.

Amy recognizes the need to give back to our community and leverages the opportunity to build team camaraderie. Throughout her 20 years with the company, Amy has volunteered with the local United Way for its Day of Caring and summer lunch program and has been the company liaison with the nonprofit to coordinate employee volunteer activities like the Backpack Program. If there’s a volunteer program and she’s available, she’s the first person to sign up. Her giving spirit is on full display during the holiday season, as she leads her team’s effort to shop and wrap gifts for their participation in Abused Adult Resource Center’s Hope for the Holidays program.

Employees recognized with corporate award for volunteerism, community involvement


Four employees within the MDU Resources family of companies recently received the Community Spirit Award for 2022. This annual corporate award recognizes employees’ volunteerism and community involvement. Each winner receives a cash prize, plus $1,000 is given to a qualified charity of the winner’s choice.

Each year, MDU Resources honors employees who make outstanding contributions to our family of companies and the communities we serve. Four award categories recognize spirit (community and work), skill and stewardship.


2022 Community Spirit Award winners

Rob Jongsma
Vice president and general manager of Knife River Materials
Casper, Wyoming

Rob has continuously supported Natrona County 4-H and its youth participants. One of the biggest learning opportunities for 4-H youth is learning how to raise, care for and show a farm animal such as a cow or pig. Rob has purchased livestock from 4-H youth and has donated the meat to two local non-profits: Natrona County Meals on Wheels and IReach2. Rob’s donation to Meals on Wheels helps provide up to 500 meals to the community’s homebound, handicapped and convalescent adults. The meat donation to IReach2, a progressive care facility for adults with developmental disabilities and brain injuries, helps feed its participants.


Shirley Messerle
Senior project administrator with OEG Mid-Valley
Eugene, Oregon

Shirley believes in finding ways to provide for those in need and has found a way to stretch the efforts of one by involving many. She coordinates OEG’s community service through an organization called Bags of Love, whose mission is “Helping Children in Crisis One Bag of Love at a Time.”

Shirley introduced Bags of Love to the OEG team to collect necessities and comfort items for children in crisis due to neglect, abuse, poverty or homelessness. She even set up a donation point in OEG’s Mid-Valley office, making it convenient for OEG employees to donate. She also arranged a business partnership between OEG and Bags of Love; OEG is listed on the organization’s website as a convenient drop-off location.

Shirley also has a long history of coordinating Lane County Food Bank volunteer opportunities with the OEG team – since before she began employment with OEG.


Terry Hood
Warehouse person, WBI Energy
Glendive, Montana

Thanks to the efforts of Terry Hood and his family, the community of Glendive, Montana, glows with holiday spirit. For seven months of the year, Terry builds, maintains and refurbishes all 80 of the Christmas decorations that adorn the downtown light poles during the holiday season.

With help from his family, they also decorate the Gazebo Park and BNSF Park with ground mount holiday light displays. Terry makes sure other holidays get their share of attention, too, by changing all the light bulbs in the park lanterns to the respective color of each holiday like St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and the Fourth of July.

Terry’s attention to Gazebo Park and BNSF Park is a year-round effort. He and his family regularly pull weeds, pick up garbage, and maintain the gazebo with regular upkeep and staining.

His community efforts don’t end there. Terry is the president of the Red Devil Booster Club, which raises money to support junior high and high school athletics. He’s also a retired volunteer firefighter, has coached and umpired baseball for 40 years and helped WBI Energy’s welding department build the red iron superstructure for the new grandstand at Glendive’s fairgrounds.


Laura Lueder
Manager of Communications and Public Relations, MDU Resources
Bismarck, North Dakota

Laura is someone who gives humbly of her time and talent in the community. She currently serves on the boards of Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota and the North Dakota Newspaper Association Foundation and is heavily involved with the Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons organization.

Laura has been active as a Girl Scout and Girl Scouts volunteer for over 20 years and is a Lifetime Girl Scout member. Her involvement with the Girl Scouts started when her mom signed her up in first grade. Her mom was her Girl Scout troop leader. Laura volunteered as her daughter’s Girl Scout troop leader. While she was a troop leader, she also was a Service Unit volunteer, serving in officer positions. Laura has been a camp director and continues to serve on the camp planning committee and as a camp volunteer. She serves on the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons and volunteers for many Girl Scouts events.

Her passion for STEM opportunities, combined with her love for the Girl Scouts organization, has fostered a STEM partnership between MDU Resources Group and Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons. The partnership encourages young ladies to consider STEM opportunities and introduces them to STEM career fields.

Laura has submitted a total of 855 volunteer hours with Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons to the MDU Resources Foundation employee matching contribution program for volunteerism. Her dedication to building future girl leaders earned her the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award.



Women’s History Month Highlight: helping others is the framework of tech career


Whether she’s creating code to replace a manual process or helping her team reach their goals, Danielle Rapley’s IT career has provided her with a framework to help others.

Learn more about Danielle, supervisor of application support, and her career.


What advice would you give to a young girl starting out in your field?
Don’t be afraid to speak up and voice your opinion. Your ideas are just as important and worthwhile as anyone else’s.


What inspired you to go into this field?
The ability to code a process or screen behind the scenes and have a user see a nice web page or have a computer do steps that people had to do manually is pretty exciting.


What do you like most about what you do?
I truly enjoy the people I work with. As a supervisor, I like the ability to help my team reach their career goals by helping them get specialized training, letting them mentor with others in the company in fields they are interested in, and helping them get past any obstacles in their daily routine. I feel that the role of any supervisor/manager is to help your team be the best they can be.


Tell us about a woman you look up to and why.
My mother, who showed me how to work hard for what you want.


Throughout the MDU Resources family of companies, women fill many roles in the field and in the office. March is Women’s History Month, an opportune time for us to shine the spotlight on some of our female employees, their contributions and how they’re challenging career stereotypes.


Women’s History Month highlight: accounting serves as blueprint to career in construction industry


Accounting is the foundation upon which Michelle Harris, president of Rocky Mountain Contractors, built her career. Ultimately, it became the blueprint that would lead her across a variety of industries and landing her in the construction industry in her home state.

Learn more about Michelle and her career.


How did you get started in the contracting/construction industry?
I began my career in public accounting, which exposed me to a variety of industries. I eventually left public accounting to work for Intermountain Gas Company where I learned a lot about the utility industry. This made it an easy transition to my role at Rocky Mountain Contractors, an outside utility line construction company. During my time at Rocky Mountain Contractors, I have been fortunate to continue expanding my knowledge base outside of the accounting arena and into all aspects of the business, including operations.


What or who inspired you to go into this field?
Moving into the construction industry allowed me to live and work in my home state of Montana. I admit to having some self-doubt prior to coming to work at RMC. I wondered if I would fit in and if my skill set would benefit the company. At that time, many family members and friends provided me encouragement.

From the first day at RMC, I felt welcomed by my co-workers. Since then, I have been privileged to have worked with and learned from several mentors who shared their love for the competitive nature of the business and the variety of the job.


What do you like most about what you do?
The best part about my job are the individuals I get to work with. There is a “can-do” mentality in our industry. I am constantly awed by what our people create and how quickly they are able to respond, whether it be to an emergency i.e., a storm or to a change in plans by our customers. I work with incredibly skilled, genuine, down to earth, caring people.


Throughout the MDU Resources family of companies, women fill many roles in the field and in the office. March is Women’s History Month, an opportune time for us to shine the spotlight on some of our female employees, their contributions and how they’re challenging career stereotypes.

Women’s History Month highlight: farm upbringing provides know-how for a career in trades





Georgiann Hersch, chief operator with WBI Energy, credits her upbringing on a dairy farm near New Salem, North Dakota, as one of the reasons for pursuing a career in the trades industry.

“I knew I could do it because of all the knowledge and exposure to hard work I had growing up on a farm,” she said.

Income potential and opportunities made it an attractive industry, too.

Georgiann got her start in the industry by getting a degree in Power and Process Plant Technology from Bismarck State College. She landed her first job in Colorado at a natural gas processing plant that turned natural gas into methanol. Eventually, she made her way back home to North Dakota.

As a chief operator for WBI Energy, she’s in charge of the day-to-day functions and duties at one of WBI Energy’s compressor stations. Compressor operators operate and maintain the compressor units and perform other maintenance duties like greasing and operating valves within the yard and on the pipeline, maintaining relief valves and regulators, and yard work like mowing grass and snow removal.

Georgiann said her favorite part of the job is the variety of work. “In winter and spring, we are doing maintenance in the yard, and the summers are spent out on the pipeline conducting line patrol,” she said.


Throughout the MDU Resources family of companies, women fill many roles in the field and in the office. March is Women’s History Month, an opportune time for us to shine the spotlight on some of our female employees, their contributions and how they’re challenging career stereotypes.

Women’s History Month highlight: numbers and family experience attract Nygard to the energy industry


Throughout the MDU Resources family of companies, women fill many roles in the field and in the office. March is Women’s History Month, an opportune time for us to shine the spotlight on some of our female employees, their contributions and how they’re challenging career stereotypes. 


You might say the energy industry is a family affair for Tammy Nygard, controller with Montana-Dakota Utilities.

Both of her parents worked at power plants when she was growing up. So, when it came time to determine an industry to start her accounting career, the energy industry was at top of the list.

“I had great experiences with the energy industry because of my parents, and I knew I wanted to work for a utility,” Nygard said.

She started her career at Montana-Dakota Utilities in a professional development program, rotating between departments. Over the years, she expanded her experience by taking on different roles like financial analyst and director of Accounting and Finance, eventually becoming the controller, the position she currently holds.

“Montana-Dakota Utilities is a great company to work for, with endless opportunities for growth,” Nygard said.

She encourages girls to think about a career in the energy industry. “Go for it! It’s a very stable business to be in, as electricity and natural gas are essential to America.”

Behnken named to national Innovation Institute

Nick Behnken



ESI Senior Project Manager Nick Behnken has been selected for the 2023 National Electrical Contractors Association’s Innovation Institute, a limited-entry, one-year professional training program for future executives and innovators in the electrical construction industry.

ESI President Matt Hartshorn nominated him.

“Being accepted into this elite program demonstrates Nick’s commitment to personal and professional growth and to becoming a leader in the industry,” Hartshorn said.

According to NECA, the Innovation Institute is an opportunity for electrical contractors to empower emerging industry leaders to become visionaries with the leadership skills necessary for practical success.

Selection is determined in part on the following items:

  • Examples of how the nominee demonstrates an innovative mindset, commitment to excellence and teamwork.
  • An outline for the future of the nominee within the organization.
  • Other materials supporting the nominee’s innovation ability and leadership potential.

Behnken will participate in a cohort that will meet in person four times throughout the year and engage virtually each week. The program includes one-on-one coaching, peer group discussions and a capstone project.

ESI, part of the MDU Resources family of companies, is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has locations in Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton.

Loy Clark employee named Hoffman GUTS Champion for identifying safety hazard, stopping work

Brett Jerome


Hoffman Construction recently honored Brett Jerome with its GUTS Champion award for actions he took at a Corvallis, Oregon, job site that likely prevented a serious injury.

Jerome, foreman fuser with Loy Clark Construction, was at Oregon State University Reser Stadium to install gas service to a new building. A different subcontractor had vacuum excavated the area around the riser so Jerome and his crew could access it.

Jerome noticed that the excavation was too close to a base plate that was part of a six-story scaffolding structure along the face of the building. He immediately notified the Hoffman Construction superintendent and said he could not let his crew work in the space. Hoffman employees quickly shored up the hole to eliminate the hazard.

Hoffman Construction Superintendent Butch Riley praised Jerome for his actions.

GUTS Award presented to Brett Jerome.

“Brett not only cared about the schedule and production of his team but put safety for his team and those around him first,” Riley wrote in an email. “It takes a special person to see a safety issue and have enough guts to say something.”

Jay Davis, contract manager supervisor with NW Natural, said in an email that he commends Jerome for leading by example. He emphasized that everyone has the right to stop work when they feel something isn’t right. Loy Clark was working as a NW Natural subcontractor at the Reser Stadium job site.

Hoffman Construction’s GUTS Champion award, which stands for Get Us There Safe, serves as a reminder to get everyone home safely. Recipients of the GUTS Champion award must be nominated, and the nomination must be approved by several project superintendents who must all agree that the nominee’s actions went above and beyond their normal job description and that their actions saved one or more people from being hurt.

Based in Tualatin, Oregon, Loy Clark Construction is part of the MDU Resources family of companies.

Employees purchase gifts for 57 families

For the 18th year, employees in Bismarck and Mandan, North Dakota, gave generously in hopes of making the holidays a little brighter for families in need.

Employees at MDU Resources, Montana-Dakota Utilities, WBI Energy and MDU Construction Services Group supported the Abused Adult Resource Center’s Hope for the Holidays program by purchasing, wrapping and delivering gifts for 57 families consisting of 132 women and children.

The Abused Adult Resource Center is a nonprofit organization that serves victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in seven North Dakota counties.

Sonya Wald with Montana-Dakota Utilities has led the company’s participation with Abused Adult Resource Center’s program since 2013. At that time, 12 families received gifts.

“The women and children receiving these gifts have experienced probably the worst thing in their lives,” Wald said. “To see how our employees — year after year — go above and beyond to make sure these families have some joy at the holidays is absolutely amazing.”

According to Wald, employees from 36 departments contributed to the effort.

Wald and fellow co-workers Dyke Boese, Dave Wiedmeier, Sarah Kirkendall and Holly Watts gathered and delivered the gifts, which nearly filled a 15-foot trailer.