McKenzie Electric welcomes new staff
McKenzie Electric would like to welcome Paul Gapp, Rusty Williams, and Leopold Halko as apprentice linemen, and Jacob Omdalen, power engineer I.
Paul Gapp – Apprentice Lineman
As a new addition to McKenzie Electric’s line crew, Paul will be out in the field joining our team of lineworkers who work day and night to keep power flowing through the lines. A recent graduate from the Bismarck State College (BSC) Lineworker program, and fresh off an internship with an electric company in South Dakota, he is excited to get hands on experience in how we serve rural northwestern North Dakota.
Before he entered the lineworker trade, Paul received his Industrial Electrical associate’s degree from the North Dakota State College of Science and shortly afterwards joined BSC’s lineworker program. A newcomer to the cooperative world, Concern for Community is the co-op principle that stood out the most to Paul. He attributes this to volunteering with the Knights of Columbus in the Grand Forks area close to where he grew up.
Spending time outdoors is what he enjoys most about working as a lineman, so it’s easy to understand why he chooses to pass his free time snowmobiling and hunting with his friends.
Jacob Omdalen – Power Engineer I
Joining the engineering department as a power engineer, Jacob will be working closely with MEC consultants as they work on substation and transmission projects. His duties include assisting in the design and coordinating the construction process of those facilities.
Jacob graduated with a degree in civil engineering from North Dakota State University in 2018, and shortly after worked for a consulting firm doing transmission and line design. This is where his interest working with utilities was sparked and in turn lead him to the distribution side of the electrical grid. When asked what he enjoys most from his experience he said the diversity of the work and seeing projects through to completion is worth all the effort that goes into a project.
Born and raised in Mayville, N.D., Jacob would often help his mother with her work at a hospital foundation ranging from serving meals, to helping around the community. From volunteering alongside his family, the co-op principle Concern for Community shined the brightest from the list of guiding principles co-ops operate under in Jacob’s view. In his free time, he enjoys hunting and hiking, taking special interest in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park that’s just a short drive away from Watford City.
Rusty Williams – Apprentice Lineman
Another new face to the crew of lineworkers at MEC is Rusty Williams. Rusty is a 2020 graduate from the Southeast Lineman Training Center based in Trenton, Ga., and comes from a long line of electrical workers stretching all the way back to his great grandpa. Most notably, his father is a Meter Foreman for Northwestern Energy based in Montana.
As a family man who grew up in Great Falls, Mont., Rusty puts the co-op principle Concern for Community at the top of the list. In his eyes, promoting a thriving community in which we service is something to be proud of, and while serving northwestern North Dakota with safe and reliable power is MEC’s ultimate goal, we also work to improve the quality of life for our membership in any way we can.
When asked what he enjoys most about working as a lineworker he said the diversity of the job is hands down the number one reason he enjoys the trade. Every day is something new and you’re constantly learning in an ever-changing environment that leaves little time for your mind wander. When he does find some free time, Rusty enjoys spending time with his family, and coaching Watford City Oilers hockey.
Leopold Halko – Apprentice Lineman
Adding to the ranks of MEC’s linecrew is Leo Halko. Graduating from BSC’s Lineworker Program in the same class as MEC linemen Ryan and Paul, Leo’s background working with a power construction company in our service area will be a benefit to the whole crew. In his first few weeks working at McKenzie Electric, he says that safety is of upmost importance to the whole crew with everyone’s primary goal being able to go home safely to eat dinner with their families.
When asked which co-op principle stood out to him the most, Leo chose Cooperation Among Cooperatives. He chose this principle because co-ops working together with one common goal impacts more than just one community and in turn helps them thrive and prosper. In times of crisis, or if an unexpected weather event damages a large portion of a cooperative’s service area, it also adds to the peace of mind that electric co-ops around the state will come to the aid of their sister cooperatives to restore power as soon as possible.
In his free time Leo likes to spend as much time outdoors including hunting, fishing and hiking. Western North Dakota offers plenty of those activities so he’s sure to be busy!