Mark Skoric

Bismarck State College

Big Horn Facilities Manager, Bureau of Reclamation

Mark Skoric is no stranger to college-level education with an Associate’s degree in Political Science, a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, and a Master’s degree in Technical Management.  Though he wasn’t actively searching for it, when he learned about the online Electric Power Technology (ELPW) Associate’s degree through Bismarck State College (BSC), he was intrigued: “One of my employees was taking the online courses, and I had to approve his request to take the training.  As I started looking into it, it was a program that interested me as well.”

What made Mark, the US Bureau of Reclamation’s Big Horn Facilities Manager, decide to earn his fourth degree?  Mark explained, “We generate hydroelectric power and I have a couple of electrical engineers that work for me.  A lot of the work that we do – the maintenance and new construction – is electrical-related and I wanted to be able to better understand what my electrical engineers were talking about and how our facilities operated.”

Another benefit was the Bureau of Reclamation covered the cost of the program.  Mark notes, “The Bureau of Reclamation is really great about paying for training that is related to your job.  They will pay for books and tuition if it is work-related, but you have to complete the classes on your own time, which is a fair trade.”

The ELPW degree was Mark’s first online program, and was a very positive experience for him.  He enjoyed the flexibility the program provided, completing much of his coursework at nights when he was traveling for work.  He also thoroughly enjoyed the online simulators:  “The simulators really helped me to understand how power plants and hydroelectric power plants work.  I learned more off the simulators than I did actually being in some of our power plants.”

Mark earned his degree in December of 2012, and says the knowledge he has learned has directly benefited him: “It’s allowed me to better participate in the technical meetings we hold with our electrical engineers.  I have a better understanding of what they talk about and the issues they face, as well as a better understanding of our electrical operations as a whole.”  When asked if he would recommend this degree to others, Mark enthusiastically said, “I couldn’t recommend it more highly – it’s just a great program, especially for anyone involved in the power generation industry.”