Former Basin Electric board president Cliff Gjellstad has died

Cliff Gjellstad

Cliff Gjellstad, Basin Electric board president from 2009-2011, died on May 8.

Prior to serving as board chairman, he had been vice president for six years and a Basin Electric director since 2000. Gjellstad represented Basin Electric Class A member Central Power Electric Cooperative in Minot, North Dakota, and Class C member Verendrye Electric Cooperative in Velva, North Dakota. He began serving as an electric cooperative board member in 1985.

Wayne Peltier, current Basin Electric board president, served alongside Gjellstad on Basin Electric’s board for many years and said he was a true cooperative leader. “Mr. Gjellstad leaves behind a great legacy of supporting the cooperative model. We will always be grateful for his leadership and commitment to the cooperative movement and to rural America. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Gjellstad’s family and to Basin Electric employees and members who knew him,” said Peltier.

At Basin Electric’s board meeting on May 9, a resolution was passed to show appreciation for Gjellstad’s service to Basin Electric and the membership.

The following is an excerpt from the president's report Gjellstad shared with members at the cooperative’s 50th annual meeting in November 2011.  

What a privilege to be here today as we celebrate 50 years as a regional power supplier.

But, what a different world we live in compared to 1961! Technology keeps changing the way energy is made and delivered. With each passing decade, Basin Electric has evolved its businesses to accommodate change. Producing energy today is a complex undertaking given the increase in regulatory oversight and polarized political climate. We have learned that decision-making at Basin Electric is risk-intensive.

Is this something new? Not really. Looking back at the challenges and politics facing Basin Electric’s founders, I believe risk-taking has made us who we are. It seems the bigger the risk, the more co-op people rise to the challenge.

And when we work together cooperatively – everyone has a voice and a vote. That’s America, my friends.