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Black Hills Energy

Dan Willets, supervisor of gas operations at Black Hills Energy, strikes a pose on Wednesday inside the company's new headquarters at 3132 East 18th St.

The search for a new home is over now that Black Hills Energy has moved into a newly remodeled facility at 3132 East 18th St.

“It’s a good location for us,” said Dan Willets, supervisor of gas operations at Black Hills Energy. “We are not around residential areas and retail businesses. We didn’t want to be anywhere where we might affect someone’s retail.”

After closing on the property in July, Willets said he worked closely with B-D Construction employees regarding the redesigning and remodeling process. Overall, Willets said the project totaled $1.25 million which includes the building purchase. It currently serves as a headquarters for technicians and operational support team members.

“It’s more economical to buy something existing than build from scratch,” Willets said.

Black Hills Energy provides natural gas and electrical utility services to customers in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, Arkansas, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming.

Willets said the new facility is a huge step up from the previously leased building east of 23rd Street that was owned by Roger Bettenhausen, president of Nebraska Irrigation. He said the new location is about twice as big -- about 25,000 square feet -- and, most importantly, employees don’t have to drive through gravel roads to get to their offices.

Officials began moving employees into the new space on Sept. 11 and completed the move on Sept. 27. Since then, employees have been enjoying the additional space.

“It’s fantastic,” said Carrie Mausbach, operational service specialist at Black Hills Energy. “First of all, the driving. We are not on gravel roads. No more window dings. Just being in a bigger facility, the office is more manageable.”

Mausbach said the move provided employees the opportunity to complete some much-needed fall cleaning allowing them to only bring over essential items to the new headquarters.

In the long run, Willets said it was an economical decision to own the new building which allows officials to have more control on costs, which ultimately helps keep customer rates down, he said. Because of additional storage space, he said more materials and equipment can be kept indoors preventing needless wear and tear.

“We were fairly cramped in the other building, especially in the warehouse,” Willets said. “If we can control cost, if we can extend the life of our equipment, if we can help avoid waste by being able to keep all of our materials and supplies inside, then that’s fewer expenses that we have to incur.”

Moving forward, Willets said he foresees the new building being the permanent home for the company. He added that he is working on setting a date for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, noting it might take place sometime later in the year.

“Oh yea, we will stay here,” he said. “I see us being here for many, many years.”

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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