Derik Otten, senior director of campus planning and management at the Minnesota Zoo, equates the inner-workings of the Zoo to that of a hospital. “We have critical needs much like a hospital does — with surgical suites and life support.”

Electricity plays a vital role for the animals housed at the Minnesota Zoo. If the power is interrupted or shut down, their life can be compromised.

Maintaining perfect living conditions for 533 different species is a nonstop, day-in and day-out effort. If a power outage does occur, backup generators immediately start and the Zoo’s dispatchers will notify staff.

“We first check with our life support systems staff to make sure they are aware of the outage,” said Otten. If an emergency is present, they will bring in life support operators, specifically for the aquatic exhibits since their well being is most crucial.

No matter the ambient temperature or heat generated by visitors, the aquatic exhibits must maintain precise water temperatures depending on species and season.

It does not take long for Otten and Jane Siebenaler, Dakota Electric’s business account executive, to be in contact with each other if an outage occurs. “Jane and I will talk an hour after it happens just to find out exactly what went down and what she knows about it,” said Otten.

The business relationship between Siebenaler and Otten is successful because each cares about how their job impacts the communities they serve.

Dakota Electric works hard to ensure all its business members receive the same quality service they need to achieve their goals.

Jane and Derik at Minnesota Zoo
Life support systems at Minnesota Zoo
Seal tank at Minnesota Zoo