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Cavalier Rural Electric welcomes new manager

Cavalier Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CREC) has provided electricity to rural Cavalier County and the northern third of Ramsey County since 1947.

Posted on 10/19/17

By Lisa Nowatzki

After long-time manager, Duane Otto, retired, CREC welcomes new manager, Chuck Riesen, to Langdon.

Though not a North Dakota native, Riesen said, “I’ve always had an affinity for North Dakota- the history, politics, and the people. Langdon has been quite friendly toward me.”

Currently, Riesen floats between neighboring Minnesota cooperative PKM Electric, Inc., of Warren and CREC of Langdon. The company said, “Chuck brings over 30 years of cooperative management experience to Cavalier REC.”

Originally born in Chicago, Riesen moved to Minnesota  where he completed high school. After school, Riesen joined the U. S. Army and spent eighteen months in southeast Asia. “It was a blast,” Riesen said.

When asked about his family, Riesen replied that he was married to a saint of a lady from Drake for 28 years, and he has two fine sons that look like their mother. Riesen’s contribution, according to his youngest son on his wedding day, “At least you taught us how to work,” and “I’ll take that.”

Besides his Army training, Riesen also has an associate’s degree. Not short on experience either, he spent quite a few years in the electrical co-op business before working at CREC. According to Riesen, he worked in just about every position an electric co-op offers.

Riesen also said that to be a successful electric co-op manager, you need to not only understand but appreciate the cooperative business model. While in the end you are responsible, you are also not the person doing the work.

Riesen also commented, “The members are the owners of this electrical enterprise, and any manager (or CEO) who is temporarily vested with taking care of it, can be changed with or without cause.”

Riesen’s philosophy also shines through when he speaks about managers and employees working together. “I do know that in every business, and especially cooperatives, there are a host of people who do the actual work. The manager is responsible for a well-thought-out strategy (and even that is best when it’s a collaborative effort between the Board of Directors, employees, and the manager).”

Looking to the future, Riesen’s immediate goal for CREC is to keep it a “stand alone” cooperative. He also has done quite a bit of cosmetic and restorative fixes to the company.

Lots of construction and remodeling has been done to the CREC building and grounds. Some of the fixes include a new pitched roof to replace the old, flat roof that leaked. A couple of bathrooms were remodeled to be compliant with the American Disabilities Act. The 30-year-old heating system was updated and replaced with new, energy efficient heat pumps.

Riesen explained that the remodeling costs were capitalized rather than expensed. According to Riesen, ”The difference between the two is, basically, if you spend $100,000 as an expense it hits the operating statement the year you expend the money. That same amount capitalized incurs a $5,000 annual expense over the useful life of the project.”

Managers also need time off to recharge. When asked about spare time activities, Riesen said, “I do enjoy handgun sports and have found (International Defensive Pistol Association) IDPA shooting sports to be interesting. Otherwise, I’m ‘lectric co-op biz all the time.”

Cavalier Rural Electric does so much more than provide electrical services. According to CREC, the company, in additional to rural electricity, has electricians available to complete your wiring needs and electrical resale items including light bulbs and fixtures, motors, water heaters, and stock waterers.

It’s that time of year again. The annual meeting of the members will be held at a new place this year. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 2, at 4:00 p.m. at the Langdon NDSU Research Center. Registration begins at 3:30, and the business meeting begins at 4 p.m.