McLean Electric serves approximately 4,031 meters location in McLean County and adjoining Mountrail and Sheridan Counties.
On the evening of August 26, 1945, sixteen people met in the council room in the Garrison City Auditorium to discuss the possibility of electricity for rural McLean County.
Nine of this group were the incorporators. They were Julius Mattson, Sara McElwain, Ralph Keel, Arnold Hill, Emanuel Keck, Walter Fiedler, Carl Hanson, Gordon Hacanson and Ellen Stenson.
At the organizational meeting, which followed, Walter Fiedler was elected president; Julius Mattson, vice president; and Ellen Stenson, secretary-treasurer. Robert Vogel was retained as attorney for the Cooperative.
The first order of business was to apply for a loan to the Rural Electrification Administration in the amount of $500,000.
The first meeting of the incorporators and directors was held at the Farmers Union office in Garrison on September 25, 1945. The bylaws for the Cooperative were adopted at this meeting. The Ulteig Engineering Company of Fargo was selected as consulting engineers and the per diem wage for directors was set at $3.00 per day with five cents per mile. Joseph A. Walters, of Stanley, was hired in April, 1946 to obtain easements for all the construction of 424 miles of line.
The first annual meeting was held in Garrison on June 12, 1946. At this meeting nine directors were elected for the nine districts. They were Julius Mattson, Gordon Hacanson, Sara McElwain, Leonard Borgen, Frank Stadler, Richard Thompson, Ralph Keel, Albin Leidholm and Emanuel Keck.
The first section of line was built to serve the boomtowns that developed with the start-up of construction of the Garrison Dam. This first line was energized on March 31, 1947.
Ralph Keel was hired as manager in 1947. W.S. Cumings, Jr. became manager of the cooperative on June 1, 1949. Joseph A. Walters was promoted to manager in 1954 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1981. Robert J. Dippold was hired as manager and served from January 1981 thru June 1997. Reginal R. Rudolph was hired as general manager and served from July 1997 thru August 2008. Martin D. Dahl was hired as general manager and served from January 2009-August 2020. Mark Doyle was hired as general manager on August 31, 2020.
The present headquarters building in Garrison was completed in 1958 and has been remodeled and expanded several times since that first construction.
Rural Electric Cooperatives are now expected to do more than just furnish electricity to the rural areas. They have the responsibility for providing their members with economical power, continuity of service, rural area development, a supply of power for the future, as well as many other services.