Burt County Public Power District was recognized as a rural utility in 1935. Dudley Beck, Burt County’s first manager, dedicated 24 years to the District between 1937-1961. During this time, Burt County saw its first electrified home owned by George Helea became a reality on April 15, 1938. An energizing ceremony was held to celebrate this event at Bertha Hall. From then on things grew rapidly with the first transmission line to serve the District and new headquarters built in Tekamah in 1942. When Mr. Beck retired in 1961, the District had grown to 16 employees and 2,601 customers now had electricity.
Burt County’s newly appointed Manager, Jesse Rogers was next to take the helm from 1961-1983. Mr. Rogers’ management skills had already been proven as the previous manager for the Franklin County Public Power District. During Jesse’s term as manager, the District faced tremendous load growth. Even more dramatic than the increased demand in residential services was the increase in new irrigation service and the need for more substations to serve customers. At the end of Jesse’s term in 1983, the District had 22 employees and 3,953 customers.
In 1983, Ray Carlson became the next Burt County manager. Prior to Ray’s management appointment, he worked in a variety of positions for Burt County PPD. Ray’s 22 years experience as a District employee helped him confront radical changes in the electric business. New terms like automated energy management, load shifting, ratchet penalty, and off-peak running replaced the “build and cell” process of the past. Ray recognized the importance of irrigation load management and the use of energy efficient transmission lines to allow Burt County to supply demand. These measures helped offset the cost of new power plants and transmission lines and ensured Burt County rates remained affordable. At the end of Ray’s 13 years as Manager, Burt County had 21 employees serving 3,758 customers.
When Ray retired in 1996, he recommended that the board of directors consider Richard Ray for Manager. At the time of the recommendation, Richard had been with the District for 20 years and had advanced to a position that qualified him for management. Richard’s advancement to manager has allowed him to take on the many challenges of today’s electric utility industry. Many of these challenges include retail wheeling, corporate restructuring, legislative and regulatory updates, wholesale and retail competition, mergers, and a complete restructuring of the electric industry nationwide. Richard retired in 2019 after 43 years of dedicated service. When asked about a memorable moment at the district, he said “We have weathered many storms here at Burt County PPD, the most recent that came to mind would be the Flood of 2011 and the Windstorm in 2014.”
When Richard retired in 2019, the board of directors was pleased to announce Jon Dockhorn as the 5th General Manager in the district’s long history. Jon graduated from the University of Nebraska Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He is currently pursing a master’s degree in Engineering Management from UNL. At the current time the district has 19 employees and 2,059 miles of line.