Community and cooperative connector
Marty Tetrault has taken another step into service as Cavalier Rural Electric’s newest general manager.
Back in 2017, the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) recognized Marty Tetrault with its annual Community Service Award. Tetrault was serving at the assistant operations manager at Cavalier Rural Electric Cooperative (CREC) at the time, and a colleague told the NDAREC that Tetrault was “CREC’s Michael Jordan” – a go-to talent who made everyone else want to be better.
On May 1, 2022, Tetrault was passed the ball of leadership, becoming the new general manager of the cooperative following the departure of Charles Riesen. The former CREC operations manager, line foreman and journeyman lineworker has been with the co-op full time for 25 years. However, he was a part of the team as a teen growing up in Langdon, N.D.
“I actually started out in high school, part-time, on the pole-treating crew,” Tetrault recalled. “It was a summer job. I did that for about three years, and then I graduated and had other plans to go to auto body school. Two weeks before I went, I decided to sign up for lineman school.”
Tetrault’s experience with the line crew had revealed his true professional passion. “I liked the atmosphere, and I liked the co-op and what’s behind the co-op. I grew up with that, and I wanted to be in that type of work.”
From day one as an apprentice lineworker to the present day as general manager, Tetrault has found pride in his co-op’s commitment to its member-owners. He speaks of career highlights that have enhanced lives in Langdon and the surrounding service area, like having electricians on staff to assist members and maintaining a public stock room of wire, breakers, water heaters and more. Three years ago, Tetrault helped guide CREC through the acquisition of Glenn’s Appliance, a local appliance center that was looking for a buyer to keep it a Langdon-based resource.
“It’s things like that, that we’ve done for the community – the community has really supported us with it. We have a really great following,” he said. “For us, customer service is our biggest goal. We try to do our best, with minimal people some days.”
Tetrault leads a tight-knit crew of four lineworkers, two electricians and a small handful of office employees. In several cases, he has watched them grow up, and has even watched their families grow up. It’s one of the things he finds special about his rural corner of northern North Dakota, and one of the reasons he’s adamant about giving back to the region that has given so much to him.
Tetrault’s co-op resume is impressive, and it’s backed up by list of roles he has held in the community. He served 20 years on the Langdon City Council and has been active with the volunteer fire department for 26 years – three of those years as chief. He coached youth baseball for around 10 years as a member of the baseball board and continues to coach varsity football as an assistant. Tetrault helped build a fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade football program with a previous coach, which is still flourishing.
There’s a reason CREC’s new general manager was recognized with a Community Service Award, and a reason he’s been likened to an NBA great: He always wants to see the home team succeed.
“I just enjoy the aspect of small community, people helping people,” he said. “I like the community, I like where I live, I like being involved.”