A day in the life of Director Troy Presser

Troy Presser
Troy Presser has wasted no time making a positive impact since being elected to the Basin Electric board in 2015.

When asked about his accomplishments of which he’s most proud, Troy Presser, who represents District 3 on Basin Electric’s board of directors, has a list: His wife, his children, his cattle, and his work to keep rural America’s lights on.

Presser’s wife, Annette, works at Falkirk Mining Company. Troy is from Turtle Lake, ND, and Annette from nearby McClusky, ND. The couple met while trapshooting with her father. Her help on the couple’s registered Red Angus ranch near Turtle Lake plays a critical role in enabling Presser to attend several days of cooperative board meetings every month.

Presser’s children, Tyler and Megan, both live near the ranch with their families and also play an integral role in keeping the ranch running. Their help with winter chores, spring calving, spring planting, and summer haying, has enabled Presser to attend every co-op board meeting to date.

Presser tends a herd of registered Red Angus cattle, the bread and butter of the Presser ranch, along with about 20 sheep and two horses. The cattle account for the majority of Presser’s work duties – closely monitoring the herd during calving season, daily chores, sale catalogue work, corn-chopping, and haying.

Regarding his cooperative board service, Presser enjoys being on the Basin Electric board, as well as member cooperatives McLean Electric Cooperative and Central Power Electric Cooperative – and takes the commitment he has made to serve the cooperatives’ members seriously.

“I’ve always felt that I’ve made the commitment to do this – so unless I’m in the hospital or there’s another emergency, I’m going to go to the meeting,” Presser says. “There have been things that I’ve missed and things I didn’t do that maybe I should, but I did my responsibility that I said I was going to do.”

As a co-op director, Presser knows it’s not about him. The members’ best interests are on his mind with each board decision he makes.

“I think as a director, we are others-focused. If we’re not, we’re probably not a very good director,” Presser says.

Presser has wasted no time making a positive impact since being elected to the Basin Electric board in 2015. He suggested the creation of mother-to-be parking spots now located in the front of Basin Electric’s Headquarters building in Bismarck, ND.

“I didn’t feel the board needed all of the spots. So if you’re going to have a parking spot up front, you should have it for someone who can use them,” Presser says. “They’re carrying our future, so if you can save them half the steps across the parking lot or from slipping, so be it.”

He has also raised several thousand dollars and shaved his head twice as part of the Brave the Shave fundraising campaign to fight childhood cancers, an effort spearheaded by Basin Electric.

Presser’s Brave the Shave participation stems from personal tragedy. In 2012, his 10-year-old daughter, Heather, died in a farm accident.

“Annette and I decided that having dealt with the loss of one of our children, we’d do anything we could do to prevent someone else from going through that,” Presser says. “So if there’s one family that doesn’t have to go through what we went through because of Brave the Shave, it was worth every penny.”

Presser acknowledged a steep learning curve since joining the Basin Electric board. “There’s a lot more irons in the fire at the Basin level than there is everywhere else,” he says. Government regulations continue to be a threat to the cooperative, but he feels advancing technology will enable an all-of-the-above approach that will keep coal, along with increasing renewables, in the energy-generation picture.

In addition to serving the cooperatives, Presser serves as township supervisor and has served on the local elevator board and North Dakota Red Angus Association board. In his downtime, Presser enjoys hunting, fishing, and trapshooting with his family.

As the cooperative navigates current and new challenges, Presser plans to continue making positive impacts and serving as an advocate for the membership at all times.

“I’m not afraid to speak my opinion. You can be timid and shy, but if it’s something dealing with your membership, you need to have the ability to step forward because you’re speaking for more than yourself,” Presser says. ”If I was going to give a board member advice, I’d tell them don’t be afraid to speak for your membership.”