Mitchell Tech Recognizes East River as a Platinum Employer

Mitchell Tech Recognizes East River as a Platinum Employer

Every fall, Mitchell Technical College announces its Platinum Employer list, recognizing those employers who have hired the greatest numbers of new graduates into their first-destination careers from the college’s three most recent graduating classes.

This year’s Platinum Employer list, on display in Mitchell Tech’s Campus Center, showcases the 31 employers who hired a total 328 graduates from the college’s classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022.
“Many of these employers have developed relationships with Mitchell Tech and our students during their education, which has created a natural hiring process for many of our graduates prior to their graduation or shortly thereafter,” said Janet Greenway, Career Services and Advising Director for Mitchell Tech. “Most of these employers are located within or near the Mitchell region. We are thrilled that so many of our talented graduates are able to find employment close to home and meet South Dakota’s growing workforce needs.”
Businesses whose logos currently are displayed include:

• 3M
• Avera Health
• Brink Constructors, Inc.
• C&B Operations (John Deere)
• CHS Farmers Alliance
• Dakota Provisions
• Dave’s Construction, Inc.
• Design Solutions & Integrations
• East River Electric Power Cooperative
• Elite Electric, Inc.
• Firesteel Health Care Center
• Golden West
• Interstates
• Jack Links, LSI, Inc.
• Johnson Controls, Inc.
• Monument Health
• Morton Buildings, Inc.
• Mueller Lumber Company
• Muth Electric
• Northwestern Energy
• Sanford Health
• SDN Communications
• Southeastern Electric Coop
• Summit Contracting
• Tessiers
• Titan Machinery
• Trail King Industries
• TSB Communications Contractors Corp.
• Vantage Point Solutions
• Watts Electric Company
• Yankton Medical Clinic

About Mitchell Technical College
Founded in 1968, Mitchell Tech is an innovative leader in technical education and a valued partner in global workforce development, preparing students for career success and lifelong learning in an ever-changing world. The ultramodern campus, found on the edge of Mitchell, South Dakota, is home to thirty-five on-campus academic programs and four online programs. The college prides itself on its regionally unique programs and military friendliness.

Court Rules in Favor of East River Electric, Dismisses Dakota Energy Power Contract Lawsuit

A three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of East River Electric Power Cooperative, upholding a lower court’s ruling to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Dakota Energy Cooperative seeking to terminate its wholesale power contract early in order to buy power from Guzman Energy, a for-profit, Colorado-based energy broker. The ruling upholds a contractual commitment between East River Electric and Dakota Energy, confirming that Dakota Energy must honor its long-term power contract until its agreed upon termination date of December 31, 2075, and that no provision in the wholesale power contract or East River’s bylaws allows for early termination of that obligation.

“Dakota Energy’s member-owners are the real winners here,” said East River Electric’s CEO/General Manager Bob Sahr. “East River Electric is a not-for-profit, local wholesale power cooperative that has provided dependable energy, some of the lowest rates in the nation and reliable infrastructure to its members for more than 70 years. We look forward to serving Dakota Energy and the rest of our members for generations to come.”

The legal dispute started in November 2020 when Dakota Energy, an electric distribution cooperative based in Huron, S.D., which provides power to areas in Beadle, Hyde and Hand counties, filed a lawsuit seeking to exit its long-term wholesale power contract with East River Electric. Federal District Court Judge Lawrence Piersol in April 2022 granted summary judgement to East River Electric and its power supplier Basin Electric Power Cooperative, dismissing the case. Dakota Energy appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Piersol’s ruling.

“The courts have spoken clearly twice now – Dakota Energy has not met the legal standard for pursuing its claims,” Sahr said. “The contract stands, and it’s past time to stop wasting member-owners’ money on attorney fees.”

In 2022 alone, East River Electric invested more than $75 million in local transmission projects for its member cooperatives. Over the years they have spent millions in the Dakota Energy territory to respond to growth and provide members with affordable electricity.

“A lot more goes into the electric utility business than just buying energy,” Sahr said. “East River’s member cooperatives own us, and our dedicated workforce responds during storms, builds and maintains a reliable transmission network, and supports local economic development all at some of the lowest rates in the entire country. We’re here for the long haul and work only for the members at the end of the line.”

East River Electric is a wholesale power cooperative headquartered in Madison, S.D., which is owned by and serves 24 electric co-ops and one municipal electric system in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota. It has long-term power supply contracts with its member systems to ensure long-term reliability and cost control.

“A hallmark of the cooperative business model is members working together to achieve more, as a group, than they can accomplish individually,” Sahr said. “This case is about more than a contract – it’s about a bond and commitment to work together with your neighbors for the greater good. East River’s members set the stage for our historical success when they formed us and our cooperative business model, and working together as a group will be the key to our future success.”

To read the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decision Click Here.

To read the Federal District Court’s decision Click Here.

Winners Announced in Regional Who Powers You Contest

Winners Announced in Regional Who Powers You Contest

The second annual Who Powers You contest hosted by the region’s Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives has officially come to a close with the announcement of three winners who were chosen from among the contest’s 20 finalists. The contest spotlights outstanding individuals who are making a difference in their communities while recognizing them for their remarkable efforts in empowering and inspiring others.

“As an electric cooperative, our services extend beyond delivering safe, affordable, and reliable power to our member-owners,” said Chris Studer, Chief Member and Public Relations Officer at East River Electric Power Cooperative. The Who Powers You contest highlights the commitment of our co-op to the communities and member-owners that we serve. We know that our co-op community is filled with people making a difference and we are honored to celebrate them.”

Weekly contest finalists were featured on KELOLAND Living from March through mid-May. Three contest winners were announced on May 25, 2023.

Bob and Nancy Montross, members of Kingsbury Electric Cooperative, have been awarded the first-place grand prize in the Who Powers You contest. Their instrumental role in countless projects has helped bring vibrancy to the De Smet area and South Dakota. Bob, known as the “promoter,” and Nancy, referred to as the “organizer,” form an exceptional team who have dedicated time and effort to raising funds for the De Smet Event & Wellness Center, supporting the Arts Council, serving on the cemetery board, and helping to bring concerts into the area. Additionally, their involvement with the Highway 14 Trail & Observation Tower project will further enrich Kingsbury County. The Montrosses’ unwavering dedication to the Beef Bucks organization has significantly raised awareness of agriculture and beef, not just in South Dakota but across the nation and involvement with the Cattleman’s Association and the South Dakota Beef Council further exemplifies their commitment to the industry.

As grand prize winners, they will receive a $3,000 award to support their ongoing efforts, stating they intend to donate it to the Highway 14 Trail and Observation Tower project they are currently focusing on. The Who Powers You award recognizes them as true ambassadors of their community, the state of South Dakota, and the livelihoods of individuals who live, work, and spend time in rural areas.

The second-place, $1,500 prize was awarded to Laura Klock, whose outreach impacts Central Electric Cooperative’s service territory. Hailing from Ethan, South Dakota, Laura is the founder of Helping with Horsepower. The regionally and nationally recognized program has made a significant impact on at-risk youth through its Bike Rebuild Program by teaching young people valuable motorcycle repair skills. The program offers opportunities for personal growth and development. Moreover, a partnership with Reclamation Ranch to offer the Therapeutic Riding Program has provided invaluable impact on individuals with special needs through equine-assisted therapy. Additionally, the Heroes Helping with Horsepower Program has extended support to veterans. Laura’s empowering, encouraging, and inspirational spirit for helping others is truly commendable. Her dedication to these programs, as well as her commitment to agriculture and farm life education in the region, is what earned her this remarkable achievement.

Pearl Holt, a member of Northern Electric Cooperative, was awarded the third-place $500 award in the contest. Through her tireless commitment to youth and community, Pearl has made a tremendous impact on the lives of others. Her involvement with esteemed organizations such as 4-H, the Aberdeen Area Horseman’s Association, Special Olympics, and the Brown County Fair reflects her unwavering dedication to serving others. Notably, Pearl’s exceptional volunteerism at SPURS Therapeutic Riding Center has further solidified her reputation as someone who is always willing to help out however she can. From assisting riders in classes to caring for horses and helping to organize the Barn Dance fundraiser, Pearl’s contributions are too numerous to mention in full, which is why she was chosen for the well-deserved recognition.

To learn more about the Who Powers You contest, visit whopowersyoucontest.com.

East River Electric Presented with Meritorious Achievement Award

East River Electric Presented with Meritorious Achievement Award

East River Electric Power Cooperative was recently recognized for excellence in workplace safety and health, as they were presented with a Meritorious Achievement Award during the 2023 Minnesota Safety and Health Conference, May 2-3. East River is one of over 200 employers honored through the awards program coordinated by the Minnesota Safety Council.

Applicants were judged on several years of injury data as it compares with their industry’s national statistics, and on their progress in implementing a comprehensive safety program. Winners were recognized at three levels: Meritorious Achievement, Outstanding Achievement and Award of Honor. The Governor’s Safety Awards program has been celebrating exceptional safety performance by Minnesota employers since 1934.

PIPESTONE Receives Renewable Energy Credit (REC) Certificates at Event Hosted by Area Electric Cooperatives

PIPESTONE Receives Renewable Energy Credit (REC) Certificates at Event Hosted by Area Electric Cooperatives

Area electric cooperatives – Sioux Valley Energy, Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Central Electric Cooperative, Charles Mix Electric Association, Northern Electric Cooperative and Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative – acknowledged sow management company, PIPESTONE’S, support of carbon-free resources by presenting the company with Renewable Energy Credit (REC) certificates on Monday, May 15 at the Sioux Valley Energy Brandon Service Center located at 108 N. Heritage Rd., Brandon, SD 57005.

A Certificate of Partnership was also presented to PIPESTONE by East River Electric Power Cooperative.

PIPESTONE was formed in 1988 and manages over 70 sow farms for 450 family farmers across the Midwest. PIPESTONE provides resources and expertise in management, health, research, business, nutrition, and marketing to over 1,500 pig farmers in total.

In 2021, PIPESTONE began to focus efforts to lower its carbon footprint with the investment in Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) purchased from area electric cooperatives serving PIPESTONE facilities.

Pictured left to right, Tim McCarthy – Sioux Valley Energy, Terry Wolters – PIPESTONE, Justin Roelofs – PIPESTONE, Russel Gall – Charles Mix Electric Assn., Todd Nelson – Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Patrick Soukup Central Electric Cooperative, Mark Weber – Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative

Jack Neises Receives $1,000 Basin Electric Scholarship

Jack Neises Receives $1,000 Basin Electric Scholarship

Jack Neises of Carthage is the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from Basin Electric Power Cooperative based in Bismarck, N.D. He is the son of Curt and Angie Neises.

Basin Electric awards over 170 scholarships per year to children of member cooperative employees and children of member cooperative consumers across the region. Neises’ mother, Angie, works as an Economic Development Finance Specialist for the REED Fund at East River Electric Power Cooperative in Madison, a Basin Electric member.

Jack will attend Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell to pursue a degree in business. Throughout his years at Howard High School, Jack was involved in football, wrestling, baseball, choir, H club, Math Club, National Honor Society, and was on the A Honor roll all four years. In his spare time, he volunteered at his church, Feeding South Dakota, for the Canova baseball program, and other sports programs. “I would like to thank East River Electric and Basin Electric for providing this scholarship opportunity,” said Jack. “It will help with my tuition expenses as I further my education at Dakota Wesleyan University.”

“Congratulations to Jack and his family on this wonderful honor,” said East River Electric CEO/General Manager Bob Sahr. “Jack’s commitment to academics, athletics, and his community shows his dedication to achieving his goals. We wish Jack well as he continues his education at Dakota Wesleyan University.”

Since the scholarship program began, over 5,000 students in the Basin Electric system have benefited from this program. Recipients are selected based on academic record, potential to succeed, leadership, and participation in school and community activities, honors, work experience, a statement of education, and career goals and an outside appraisal by a teacher or adviser.

Cutline: (Left to Right) Bob Sahr, Jack Neises, and Angie Neises.