Bobby Payne began his career in the utility industry as a Junior Staking Technician and worked his way up to a Senior Staking Technician. Bobby’s main responsibilities relate to distribution line design: “If we have to extend power to a customer, whether it be service to a house, irrigation well, shopping center, or subdivision, I design how to get to them,” he explained.
Bobby understood the value of additional education enhancing his performance in his current position, as well as the doors it could open for advancing his career. “When I first started looking, it was to enhance what I was doing; but after several years and on the job training, I saw that in order to advance, it was going to require degrees and more training, so I looked at it as a benefit for both.”
Originally, Bobby looked into a program at his local community college, but after speaking with his Human Resources department, he changed his mind and enrolled in the online Associate of Applied Science degree in Electric Power Technology at Bismarck State College (BSC). Flint Energies provides tuition reimbursement, but Flint Energies has an agreement with BSC where BSC will bill Flint Energies directly, making it even more convenient for employees.
Although Bobby knew he would learn a lot in the program, he admitted, “I actually learned more than I thought I would from it. Not to say that it was easy, it was a lot of work but it’s work you get something out of. I think a lot of it had to do with the instructors being from the industry. They had a lot of knowledge when you had questions.”
Bobby graduated with a near perfect 4.0 GPA and was admitted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. When asked if he would recommend the program to others, he said, “I would recommend it for people who are just starting out in the industry, and I’d recommend it for people who have been in it a long time.”