Sauer retires after 30-year career at Dakota Gas

Dave Sauer, Dakota Gasification Company’s senior vice president and chief operating officer, is retiring after 30 years of service to both Dakota Gas and Basin Electric.

Sauer began working at the Great Plains Synfuels Plant in August 1989 as a rotating equipment engineer. Over the course of his career, he held various positions at the Synfuels Plant, including plant engineering supervisor, maintenance manager, and process operations manager. In 2011, he accepted the position of senior vice president of administration at Basin Electric, and in May 2012, Dakota Gas vice president and plant manager. In June 2013, Sauer was named Dakota Gas senior vice president and chief operating officer, the position he held when he retired.

Sauer held multiple positions within the company throughout his career, and says, “I enjoyed them all, as each one had its own set of challenges. The common theme, though, that made them enjoyable were the hard working, dedicated people I worked with in those positions.”

When asked about a memorable moment, Sauer says, “There are too many to mention!” Working on the expansion projects, major outages, and black plant outages top the list, though, he says.

While challenges at the Synfuels Plant did exist during his tenure, and still do today, Sauer says everyone always pulled together to solve the problems and challenges. “I couldn’t be prouder of a group than I am of the employees at the Synfuels Plant,” he says. “The innovation and tenacity of the workforce has and always will get Dakota Gas through the tough times and on to a brighter future.”

Human Resources Manager Erica Petrowitz says she enjoyed working with Sauer and gained valuable knowledge from him over the years. “Dave was a great mentor,” she says.

“He is honest, hard-working, and looks out for the best interests of Dakota Gas and its employees. He was always someone I could count on when I needed advice, especially when working through different employee situations. I will miss Dave and our conversations.”

“Dave was a great leader and role model for Basin Electric and Dakota Gas, as well as for me personally,” says Trinity Turnbow, process operations and assistant plant manager.

“This business can be tough; but through Dave’s leadership, Dakota Gas is in a better position to succeed in the future. Dave’s path from engineer to chief operating officer proves that working hard with a positive attitude during challenging times, along with accepting opportunities when they arise, results in a very successful career. I will miss our talks and his advice on how to handle almost any situation. He should be proud of the legacy he left.”

Vice President and Synfuels Plant Manager Dale Johnson says he and Dave spoke almost every day, and often multiple times per day. “Dave had a long history with the plant and was well versed, particularly in the mechanical aspects of the plant,” Johnson says. “We were able to work through challenges at the plant, and took time to celebrate the victories. Dave can certainly look back at his career and be proud of the accomplishments we have made at the plant.”

Even as the years passed and employees retired, Sauer says he was always impressed with the new generation of employees. “I have no doubt that the new group of leaders at the Synfuels Plant and Basin Electric will help guide the company into a prosperous future,” he says. “They are a very talented group that demonstrate great teamwork.”

Sauer plans to spend time with family and friends in his retirement. “I now have the time to watch my grandkids grow and can be a part of their lives better than I did with my own kids,” he says. Sauer also plans to travel and work on completing a project list that he says is a mile long.

“Thinking back, it’s hard to believe the job I came to in 1989 for a few years turned into a 30-year career,” Sauer says.