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ND's MDU Resources celebrates milestones

Dave Goodin, CEO and president of MDU Resources Group Inc., talks about the utility company's 70 years as a member of the New York Stock Exchange from his office headquarters in Bismarck on Friday, March 9. Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK—MDU Resources Group Inc. will ring in, or ring out rather, 70 years as a publicly traded company by ringing the closing bell on the New York Stock Exchange this week.

Fewer than 100 companies have been on the exchange for the same time period, said CEO Dave Goodin. Some have merged over the years, but a small number who were on the exchange when MDU joined are still listed under the same ticker symbol.

"I think it demonstrates the staying power of MDU," Goodin said.

When MDU joined the stock exchange in March 1948, its equity value was about $10 million. Today, the company is valued at $5.2 billion and Wednesday's bell ring will celebrate.

In his 35 years with MDU, Goodin has been present to ring in and out the day at the stock exchange for a number of company anniversaries. But this year's milestone coordinates with another for the company—50 years of operation in Bismarck.

"We feel the decision to establish our headquarters in Bismarck is sound and will meet with the hearty approval of customers throughout our service area," then CEO David Heskett told the Tribune in November 1966.

When the company came to the community, opening headquarters in November 1968, it was a small regional utility organization, with some oil and gas holdings. At that time, the Tribune ran a 30-page spread of stories about the company and ads from other businesses welcomed MDU to the community.

At the time of the company's move from Minnesota, Heskett said it would bring the employees to be a part of one of the communities it was serving, making the company more efficient in serving customers' needs.

He said his employees were in good spirits having "found a clean city—this was mentioned over and over again—one without slums and a community with good schools and churches."

Today MDU Resources subsidiaries can be found operating in 47 of the 50 states. Its utilities operations cover eight states, its pipeline company covers four, construction materials are in 17 states west of Mississippi and construction services are in all of its states of operation.

"I think it's neat, here we are a North Dakota company," Goodin said of one of the few publicly traded companies headquartered in the state. "We're really proud to be from North Dakota and rooted here."

To celebrate its 50-year anniversary in Bismarck, Goodin said the plan is to host a community day in mid- to late summer. Details are being confirmed but it will be a day for families meant to thank the Bismarck-Mandan area for its support over the years.

This past year was a good one for MDU Resources and 2018 promises to bring the company more success, Goodin said.

Early season weather challenges were hard on the construction materials business but, by the end of the season, it had made up the gap. Construction services had a record year for revenue. And the natural gas pipeline subsidiary, WBI, transported a record amount of product, Goodin said.

The company has inked contracts for $1.2 billion in construction business going into 2018. And Goodin said some of the western states served, such as Oregon and California, have signed large 10-year infrastructure funding bills that could help keep MDU's construction services company busy.