CEO Talk

Paul Sukut

Employees and innovation creating a hopeful future

by Paul Sukut

Spring has finally arrived on the Great Plains after an unseasonably cool stretch and unprecedented April snowfall in some parts. And just as I was excited to get my gardens in, farmers throughout the membership were also champing at the bit to get out in the fields and get their crops in.

Speaking of spring planting, the early months of Dakota Gasification Company’s urea fertilizer production facility have been successful, with product being shipped in the region to help farmers boost their yields. The facility produced its first urea Jan. 19 and is currently producing more than 1,000 tons per day. In April, we hit a record high of 1,253 tons in a day.

This success is directly attributed to our employees. They remained safe and diligent through many long hours of work to get the urea facility up and running. I couldn’t be more proud of them. And these employees continue working around the clock through the high demand and various hiccups that come with startup of new facilities. I appreciate the employees’ diligence and the patience of our customers throughout these challenges.

Urea has been added to the plant’s existing fertilizer product lineup of ammonium sulfate (Dak Sul 45®) and anhydrous ammonia. With most of Dakota Gas’ revenue coming from fertilizer sales, the successful startup of the urea plant is just another step in fulfilling our long-range plan of converting the Synfuels Plant into a fertilizer factory. Read more about the loadout and marketing of urea on page 8.

Innovative thinking is nothing new at Dakota Gas. The same could be said for Basin Electric and its member co-ops. The cooperative structure lends itself to taking bold action that, in the end, helps ensure our members continue to receive reliable and affordable power.

Basin Electric has recently formed a new department to spur innovation and help keep an eye on the horizon. It’s called the Research, Development, and Technology Department, and it will play an important role in the cooperative’s ability to adjust and adapt in a rapidly evolving industry.

Basin Electric’s optimization team is also helping with that effort. The optimization team, led by Chris Baumgartner, senior vice president of Member Services and Administration, consists of upper management from all departments at Basin Electric who meet regularly to discuss the issues facing the cooperative and its membership.

The team’s purpose is to investigate and evaluate potential solutions to help Basin Electric achieve its cooperative goals.

Spring brings an enhanced sense of hopefulness. We can only guess what the future holds, but with employees who are second-to-none, a heightened watch of the horizon, and our focus remaining on our member-owners, I think good things are growing for Basin Electric and its membership.


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