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.”

Granting an impact: MDU Resources Foundation celebrates 40 years of giving


This year marks the 40th anniversary of the MDU Resources Foundation. For the past four decades, the foundation has served as the philanthropic arm to share the company’s success with the communities in which its companies operate.

In its 40 years, the MDU Resources Foundation has:

  • Donated more than $42.3 million to worthwhile charities and organizations in 42 states.
  • Awarded more than $1.09 million in scholarships.
  • Sponsored annual scholarships at more than 100 colleges and universities.
  • Matched employees’ donations to educational institutions in the amount of $990,537.
  • Supported employees’ volunteerism by donating $523,250.

“We’re proud of our record of supporting qualified organizations that enhance the quality of life in our communities,” Cory Fong, president and director of the MDU Resources Foundation, said. “We believe our efforts have had, and will continue to have, a positive impact.”

The foundation considers requests in the following categories:

  • Health and human services.
  • Education.
  • Civic and community activities.
  • Culture and arts.
  • Environment.

The foundation’s greatest impact is through lower-dollar grants. On average, about 85 percent of the foundation’s annual grants are $10,000 or less.

These lower-dollar grants to smaller charities and organizations — often located in small towns with limited funding sources — have a special place in the heart of Rita O’Neill, manager of the MDU Resources Foundation.

“The smaller organizations are so grateful for the funds,” O’Neill said. “They’re the first to send a thank you note, and they use the money so well.”

Throughout its years, the foundation also has made some large donations, like a $1 million donation to the Oregon State University Construction Safety Lab; $100,000 to the Norm Waite Jr. YMCA in South Sioux City, Nebraska, to increase access to daycare options for families; and $250,000 to the North Dakota Heritage Center, to name a few.

“No matter the dollar amount — big or small — MDU Resources Foundation supports efforts to enhance quality of life,” O’Neill said. “We’ve supported large projects that help increase families’ access to much-needed childcare and have helped bring STEM education to youth in rural communities, as well as smaller projects, like helping a small town upgrade its playground.”

Another highlight for O’Neill is working with MDU Resources’ employees in the field, from administrative assistants to presidents, who give her insight on the charities from their communities that apply for grants.

“If it wasn’t for them, our foundation wouldn’t be what it is,” O’Neill said. “They’re my boots on the ground, and they have the pulse on the community where they live and work. I don’t know what I’d do without them.”


Foundation also supports employees’ charitable and volunteer activities
The MDU Resources Foundation also has programs to encourage and support employees’ charitable and volunteer activities.

It does this through two match programs:

  • Employee Match Program for Education
    This program doubles employees’ and corporate directors’ personal contributions to educational institutions (elementary, secondary and higher education) by matching contributions between $50 and $750.
  • Employee Match Program for Volunteerism
    This program encourages employees to participate in volunteer activities by giving a grant of $750 to a nonprofit organization at which an employee or employee group volunteers 25 or more hours in one year.

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.



MDU Resources Foundation commits $50,000 to outdoor pool in Williston, North Dakota

On behalf of the MDU Resources Foundation and Montana-Dakota Utilities, Shane Homiston (left side of check), Williston district manager, presented a check to the Williston Community Builders in support of building an outdoor community pool.


The MDU Resources Foundation, in partnership with Montana-Dakota Utilities, committed $50,000 to Williston Community Builders to help construct an outdoor public pool in Williston, North Dakota.

Residents of Williston have been without an outdoor community pool since 2014. The community’s sole outdoor pool was retired that year due to aging equipment, structural concerns and lack of ADA compliance. Since then, community sentiment has indicated a strong desire to bring a public pool back for outdoor summer recreation and to enhance residents’ quality of life.

Williston Community Builders is the nonprofit leading the fundraising efforts to bring an outdoor pool back to the community. The pool, named Williston Water World, is being funded through support of local donors and community partnerships. After the pool is constructed, the intent is for a partner to take over operations in the future.

MDU Resources Foundation donates $100,000 to Early Learning & Youth Development Center expansion in South Sioux City, Nebraska



A project that will provide increased access to high-quality childcare in the South Sioux City, Nebraska, area got a boost from the MDU Resources Foundation, Jebro, Inc., and Knife River Corporation.

The three entities partnered to donate $100,000 to the Early Learning & Youth Development Center expansion project at Norm Waitt, Sr. YMCA in South Sioux City, Nebraska.

This project is a vital initiative that will allow the YMCA to better serve the needs of the Siouxland area by increasing the capacity of its Early Learning & Youth Development Center.

At the heart of the Y’s mission is the belief that every child deserves the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive in a safe and nurturing environment. The expansion project is a powerful step forward in that mission.

“We are extremely grateful for the generous donation from Jebro, Knife River and MDU Resources Foundation,” said Rhonda Robson, CEO of the Siouxland Y.  “Thanks to this gift, we are one step closer to achieving our goal of an expanded Early Learning and Youth Development Center and providing families with a safe and welcoming environment for their children to learn, grow and thrive.”

“This donation perfectly fits our mission of building strong teams which, in return, builds strong communities for generations to come. We are committed to making a difference in the Siouxland area,” Bob Cheever, president of Jebro, said.

“Initiatives promoting education, youth development, and social responsibility with our youth is very important to our community’s future. I am looking forward to years of success with this new Expansion Project,” Chris Winkle, vice president of Knife River said.

MDU Resources Foundation contributes more than $2.3 million in 2022


Through the MDU Resources Foundation, we share our success and help our neighbors make our communities better places to live and work. Our employees also help with their hearts and hands, to which we match their efforts. We’re proud of this collective community support.

In 2022, the MDU Resources Foundation awarded grants totaling almost $2,392,653 to 629 organizations where MDU Resources companies operate.

The foundation also provided the following donations as part of the employee Education Match and Volunteer Match programs:

  • $13,618 was donated to schools and universities to match donations made by employees.
  • $98,000 was donated to charitable organizations to match 6,929volunteer hours reported by employees.

Since 1983, The MDU Resources Foundation has contributed more than $40 million to worthwhile charities and organizations. Learn more about the MDU Resources Foundation at www.mdu.com/about-us/community.

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.

Bringing the joy of two wheels into the school

MDU Resources Foundation supported the launch of the All Kids Bike Kindergarten PE Program at Northridge Elementary School in Bismarck, North Dakota. After the launch, the employees from throughout the MDU Resources of companies who assembled the bikes got a photo with the kindergarten students, the PE teacher and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.














Learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage for many kids. Unfortunately, not all kids have access to a bike, or the temptation to be in front of a screen keeps them off the bike they own. According to the Wall Street Journal, only one in four kids will ride a bike this year.

The MDU Resources Foundation partnered with All Kids Bike to bring the Learn-to-Ride program to kindergarten students at Northridge Elementary in Bismarck, North Dakota. The students will learn to ride a bike as part of their physical education curriculum.

By teaching kids to ride a bike in school, All Kids Bike is getting as many kids on bikes as possible, as early as possible. The All Kids Bike Kindergarten PE Program boasts an inclusive, proven Learn-To-Ride curriculum that offers every child the opportunity to experience the joy of two wheels.

Through the foundation’s funding, Northridge Elementary received the Learn-to-Ride curriculum, teacher training, a fleet of Strider Balance Bikes, pedal-conversion kits and helmets. All the materials will be used for upcoming kindergarten classes for the next seven to 10 years.

The All Kids Bike Kindergarten PE Program was launched at Northridge Elementary Nov. 31 with an exciting bike reveal, an introduction of the Learn-To-Ride Program to students, and a presentation with North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Cory Fong, director of MDU Resources Communications and Public Affairs. Northridge Elementary is the first site in Bismarck to offer this program.

Before the bike reveal, 10 employees with MDU Resources, MDU Construction Services Group and Montana-Dakota Utilities assembled 24 Strider bikes.

All Kids Bike is a national movement to place kindergarten PE Learn-To-Ride programs into public schools, using donations from individuals, businesses and organizations. Launched in March 2018, there are already over 700 schools across all 50 states teaching thousands of children how to ride.


Employees raise almost $5,000 for poverty awareness campaign benefitting women and children

A group of employees representing MDU Resources, Montana-Dakota Utilities and MDU Construction Services participated in a community-wide fundraising effort to help women and children in need.

Sixteen employees raised almost $5,000 for poverty programs in the Bismarck, North Dakota, area by each wearing a black dress or outfit for four days in a row. The select attire was part of their participation in the Missouri Slope Areawide United Way’s Little Black Dress campaign, a poverty-awareness campaign that raises money for programs benefitting local women and children.

Together, the employees raised $4,800 to support the United Way’s Education Initiative that helps women and children overcome the barriers of poverty, facilitating success in school and in life. At the end of the week, the black outfits worn by the participants are donated to the Abused Adult Resource Center’s Career Closet, which provides clothes to survivors of domestic abuse.

The 16 employees formed three teams – “Be Audit You Can Be,” “Working our Assets off” and “Live Wires” — and represented MDU Resources, Montana-Dakota Utilities and MDU Construction Services Group.

Montana-Dakota Utilities employees’ elbow grease benefits The Club for Boys in Rapid City, South Dakota

Employees from Montana-Dakota Utilities Black Hills Region volunteered at The Club for Boys in Rapid City, South Dakota. Their efforts were part of the Month of Caring coordinated by United Way of the Black Hills.

Montana-Dakota Utilities Black Hills Region employees recently volunteered at The Club for Boys in Rapid City, South Dakota, during the United Way of the Black Hills’ Month of Caring.

The Club for Boys provides a safe, caring environment and positive experiences that help boys develop self-esteem and character.

Montana-Dakota’s eight-person volunteer team completed the following projects at The Club:

  • Replaced 17 outdated network cameras with new camera units.
  • Installed 14 eye bolts in the gym.
  • Glued acoustic tiles to the ceiling of the den.
  • Painted the computer room and reading nook in the library.

“We appreciate the opportunity to give back and take great pride in our company’s commitment to our community,” Katie Good, Montana-Dakota senior energy services representative and employee volunteer, said. “Our team has worked with The Club for Boys for many years during the Month of Caring and appreciates the partnership we have fostered.”

Good said the employees’ four hours of volunteer labor coupled with the donation from Montana-Dakota to United Way is an immense contribution to The Club.