Creating a Co-op we Love

1. Welcome from Mark Johnson | FEC’s General Manager

Mark Johnson, Flathead Electric Cooperative General Manager

Welcome to Flathead Electric Co-op! While we are the largest rural electric cooperative in Montana, our employees feel like a family.

The Cooperative values, objectives, and philosophy are a direct reflection of the kind of utility we are and always aspire to be: everyone is involved in delivering outstanding, reliable, and affordable electric service to our community, where we make a meaningful and positive impact. We strive to be the best. And we’re looking for more like us.

At FEC, we pride ourselves on being member-focused, reliable, and open to new ideas and innovations. We are continuously transforming the way we operate to improve our ability to innovate and provide the most reliable and affordable electricity to our members. We want you to know that, as part of our team, you are the most important and greatest asset. We could not accomplish what we do every day without our employees.

With that being said, welcome to the family! I’m very pleased to have you on our team and look forward to working with you!

2. What do we expect of you?

To use good judgment. In every decision and every action you take.

Be your best self. We hire the best people to develop them into the best employees.

Show up and be ready to work on time, to work hard and be productive, and strive for a healthy work/life balance.

• Work and play safely.

Be respectful of members and of each other.

Speak up and report any sort of harassment, bullying or discrimination.

3. Our Four Guiding Values

4. Our Mission:

to provide competitive and reliable services,
achieve the highest level of member satisfaction
and enhance the quality of life in our communities.

5. Where we came from

Executive Order for the Rural Electrification Act


President Roosevelt created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) to provide funding to electrify rural homes.

Historic image of workers putting up power poles


A group of neighbors formed Flathead Electric Cooperative on September 20, 1937 to bring power to their homes and farms. In December of 1938 the inital 82 miles of line were energized and 117 Flathead farm homes had electricity for first time.

Lineworker in the 1970s with an electric line truck


Built and moved to the current location at 2510 US Highway 2 East, Kalispell.

Front page of the Daily Interlake Newspaper Flathead Electric Buys Pacific Power


FEC purchased PacificCorp, expanding its service area to the municipality areas of Kalispell and Whitefish, and all of the Libby area and Cooke City, Montana.

Flathead County Landfill


FEC and the Flathead County Landfill launched the landfill-gas-to-energy power plant.

Solar panels and an electric substation

2015 – 2018

In 2015 FEC unveiled Community Solar Phase I with 356 solar panels on Whitefish Stage Road. Then in 2018 FEC sold out an additional 198 solar panels in Community Solar Phase II (at 35 Terry Road).

Man giving blood at a blood drive and smiling Red Cross worker


Pulse Project started (largest community blood drive in Montana).

FEC's All Electric Chevy Bolt


FEC purchased first electric car (Chevy Bolt) for use by members.


You are hired and start making a positive impact on the Co-op! (yay!)

6. You’re Hired – what is next?

On your first day you will…

Meet your team and your supervisor, be shown your desk and office area, get a tour and meet some folks.

Have your employee photo taken. As much as we all love our photo being taken…smile pretty and it will be over before you know it!

Make it a good one! This photo will forever be on your badge that provides you access throughout the facility. It’s ok though, you get to have your very own personal photo-session (also fondly known as “Glamour Shots by Sharilyn”) with our Multimedia Designer. She promises not to bite.

Meet with IT to gain access to the computer system.

Meet with payroll and HR to finalize some documents and enrollments into health insurance, etc.

Meet with the GM and AGMs of the Cooperative and get to know our executive management team, whose doors are always open and they are ready to listen to all of our employees.

You may go to lunch with your Supervisor and a few co-workers, and then will start your first project or task.

Make mistakes. Ask Questions. We all did it.

We also encourage you to walk around a bit and talk to everyone – don’t be shy, just ask questions and give your opinion!

Your first month

You will have your feet under you, know your way around the facility without breadcrumbs.

You will have learned a lot from us, and we will have learned a lot from you!

7. Training | with HR Generalist Elizabeth Nelson

On-the-job training will be provided by either your Supervisor or an assigned co-worker. We encourage you to ask as many questions as you can!

FEC supports a number of training opportunities. From job-shadowing, formal courses, online courses, college degrees, and certifications – the opportunities to develop your skills and further your career are endless.

FEC is happy to assist you with your formal education goals through our education reimbursement program. If you’d like more information on this, please reach out to me directly.

Questions about your training? Start with your Supervisor – they are here to help you succeed (your success is their success!). And never be afraid to stop by the HR department! Come to us anytime with any question, and we will help you find answers.

I look forward to meeting you soon!

8. Company Policies

Yep, we have them… many of them… they are all on Livewire (our Co-op intranet) in what is called the Co-op Cabinet. Take a few minutes and find them, so you know where to look.

If you are a Union employee, always look at the Collective Bargaining Agreement (we call it “the Contract” and it is posted on Livewire (Co-op intranet) – if you cannot find the answer in there, look at our policies.

9. Confidentiality

We handle our members’ personal information very carefully and do not want it disclosed. Ever. Never.

It is required that all information about our members and other employees be kept strictly confidential. The release of confidential information, whether intentional or unintentional, can damage the Co-op and those individuals associated with it. If a team member violates this policy, disciplinary action will be taken, up to and including immediate discharge.

All records, data and files of the Co-op are property of the Co-op and considered confidential. No employee is authorized to copy or disclose any file or record, outside of their job duties.

Such information includes, but is not limited to

    • names and addresses of members
    • account or financial information relating to members
    • terms of contracts
    • employment records
    • payroll records
    • legal documents
    • personal identification information of members and employees
    • agreements between third parties and the Co-op

If you are ever unsure if something is confidential or have any question regarding your responsibilities in dealing with or releasing confidential information or materials, contact your Supervisor before taking any action.

10. Technology Talk | with BJ Hattel

The technology and equipment provided for you are to be used for Co-op business only. Treat it with respect, and don’t go to any sites your grandma wouldn’t visit.

As a public power utility, we are under constant threat. Co-ops are often targets for phishing attempts and scams. Our first line of defense is you.

Be aware. Be alert. Never click a link that you are not expecting to receive from the sender. If you have questions or question the legitimacy of an email, phone call, or link, do not hesitate to reach out to the IT department. More information about phishing attempts and scams will be given to you during our one-on-one meeting.

I look forward to getting to know you!

11. Policy Against Harrassment

We do not tolerate unlawful harassment of any of employees, members, vendors, suppliers, or independent contractors.

Any form of harassment which violates federal, state, or local law, including but not limited to harassment related to an individual’s race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marital status, pregnancy, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, political belief, vaccination status, retaliation or any other characteristic protected by law is a violation of this policy and will be treated as a disciplinary matter.  For these purposes the term harassment includes any verbal or physical conduct designed to threaten, intimidate, or coerce an employee, co-worker or any person working for or on behalf of the Co-op. Verbal taunting (including racial and ethnic slurs) that, in the employee’s opinion, impairs the employee’s ability to perform their job is included in the definition of harassment.

Definition of harassment on page with highlighted text

For examples of harassment and the procedures to follow, please refer to policy HR-545 which can be found on Livewire in the Co-op Cabinet.

The long and short of it is – harassment is NOT TOLERATED.

  • Don’t do it.
  • Report it if you see it.

12. Good-To-Knows


What times do people work?

  • Our lobby is open 7:30-5:30 M-Thursday, 8-5 Fridays
  • Many of our staff work 4-10s or 9-80 shifts
  • Your supervisor will let you know what your work schedule will be.

When should I arrive at work?

  • Early enough to get your coffee, settle in and be ready to work at your scheduled start time.

Aerial photo of cars in parking lot


Where do I park?

  • Park in an area that is not marked “Visitor Parking”
  • We do not have designated spots.

Woman's feet with dress shoes or work boots


What do people wear to work?

  • Dress for your day. Be clean, presentable, and dressed for whatever your day entails – that could be Flame Resistant (FR) clothing if your position requires it, or your Sunday best if you have a big meeting, or your wrinkle-free work clothes if you are working at your desk most the day.
  • No one here runs a 5K or performs yoga moves for their job, so you never will need to dress in those types of clothes for work. Just sayin’.

FEC Hard Hats

What equipment will be provided?

  • The equipment you need to do your job – your supervisor will tell you more on your first day.

What is a probationary period?

  • It is like a “trial period” for every employee hired and it lasts 1 year (if you get a new position at the Co-op during your first year, it may be extended)
  • We want to make sure you are capable, reliable, and suitable for the job, and we want you to make sure you want to work here – if it is not a good fit for either of us, it is best to part ways during the probationary period and get on with life.

Dog wearing glasses sitting at a laptop

Can I bring my dog to work?

  • With no opposable thumbs, we have not found a good job for a dog yet. Let them guard your house while you are at work.

Can I work from home?

  • We want to get to know you and you need to get to know us – for your first year of employment, you will be in the office or at least start your day at the facility (depending on your position)
  • What happens after your first year? Well, it depends on a lot of things and your Supervisor can tell you more.

A row of brown lunch bags and two apples

What is my lunch time?

  • I don’t know. Your Supervisor does. On your first day, we’ve got you covered and will take you to lunch!

Speaking of that, what should I bring on my first day of work?

  • Bring your passport (or some kind of federal ID).
  • Bring a voided check or something with your bank account/routing number on it.
  • Bring a positive attitude!

several peoples hands holding cups of coffee from above

Do I get breaks? When do I take them? How long?

  • Nope we chain you to your desk or vehicle. JUST KIDDING! Of course you get breaks. Whether you drink coffee or not, we know that employees perform at their best when they have regular breaks.
  • All employees are entitled to two 15 minute breaks per shift as well as their lunch break.
  • Your Supervisor will explain more as break times/policies vary by department.

13. Compensation

pay day circled on a calendar

Getting Paid

  • When: Every 2 weeks
  • How: Electronically – right into your bank account.
  • The payroll department is here to help you with all of it.

stock photo of medical staff arms crossed holding stethoscope


Employees at FEC enjoy LOTS of great benefits

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Basic life insurance
  • Short-term and long-term disability
  • 401K with matching by the Co-op
  • A retirement pension (what!?! a pension too?!)

The pros in the HR Department will go over it all with you, get you all signed up and let you know all the eligibility requirements!

Two empty beach chairs at sunset with unmbrella

How do I take Paid Time Off (PTO)?

  • PTO requests are submitted electronically to your supervisor via Ivue Connect
  • Your supervisor will show you how to use it and explain their expectations.

Will I get reimbursed for Co-op expenses?

Employees are allowed to be reimbursed for applicable expenses. Here ae some examples of what FEC reimburses:

  • Mileage
  • Registration fees for trainings
  • Professional License fees and dues
  • Medical exam for CDL fees

NOT allowed:

  • Kittens
  • Expenses must be submitted using the Personal Expense Reimbursement Form, with supporting receipts and documentation, and approved by your department manager.


Medical Leave of Absence

  • The Co-op is subject to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • FMLA leave is available to employees who have worked for the Cooperative for a minimum of twelve (12) months and who have worked at least 1,250 hours during the twelve (12) month period preceding the commencement of FMLA leave. The Cooperative uses a “rolling” twelve (12) month period measured backward from the beginning date of any FMLA leave to determine eligibility
  • There are LOTS of details to FMLA – better read HR 525 and talk to HR.

Military Leave of Absence

  • If you serve in the military and are require time off for those duties, the Co-op will grant leave, following state and federal laws.
  • Please provide the HR Department a copy of your orders as soon as possible.

Jury Duty

  • We like our employees to be civically involved in their communities. If you are lucky enough to be selected for a jury, the Co-op will pay you your regular pay for up to 40 hours per week, and then you get to give the Co-op that huge check the court sends you as jury pay.

family sharing a holiday meal from above


They are fun! Which is your favorite holiday? Mine is Valentine’s Day (but we don’t get that off from work, darn it)

The Co-op is closed:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Thanksgiving AND the Day after Thanksgiving (that’s a Friday!)
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day (also known as 4th of July, or my dog calls it the Apocalypse)
  • Christmas Day
  • Labor Day
  • If a holiday falls on a Saturday, the preceding Friday is the holiday. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is the holiday.

14. We are excited to have you on our Team!