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Amped up youths

November 1, 2019

Have I told you lately how lucky I am?

I get to spend time with a lot of different groups of people during my travels in the Minnkota Bolt, from co-op advisory groups to music festival attendees. They all have diverse ideas about what the future holds – not just in terms of transportation technology, but the world in general.

If you’re looking for unique insights, what better place than the youths?

This week I experienced a one-two punch of our youngest generation. I had the chance to bring the Bolt to the Northern Valley Careers Expo on Wednesday and Rydell Cars’ Trunk-or-Treat event on Thursday, both in Grand Forks. There wasn’t much driving involved to log EV travel data, but I was able to connect with youngsters preschool age to high school age.

It’s never too early to develop a love of EVs, right?

We pulled out all the stops for the career expo – an EV, bucket truck, digger truck, bag toss, line work demo, career board, candy, swag and, of course, really cool Minnkota employees.

The Bolt joined some of Minnkota’s heavier equipment at our career expo booth, where I – along with our lineworkers, engineers, an IT specialist and more – had an opportunity to chat with hundreds of area tenth-graders about all of the career paths that Minnkota and all electric cooperatives have to offer.

Engineers Brendan and Brenden talked to dozens of tenth-graders who were specifically interested in the engineering field. I'm so glad they were able to join us!
Senior PC network specialist Sarah talked to students about the growing possibilities for IT careers in the power industry.

The Bolt was just one element of our display, but as soon as I popped the hood, it started to draw several questions. It was fun to engage their curiosity about this unique set of wheels, especially as many of them were on the journey to a driver’s license. They seemed much more excited about the idea of an all-electric car than some groups I’ve spoken to. But that’s no surprise – young minds are often open minds.

These ladies had a mind for the technical and grilled me on the differences between an EV and a gas-powered car. It was great!
Our line crew led an amazing hands-on demonstration of how they use insulated hot sticks to do their work...
...and then took time during their coffee break to get a feel for the Bolt. They're excited to take it for a test drive!

On Halloween I made the shift from career guiding to candy grabbing. It was the Bolt’s second year being involved in Rydell’s Trunk-or-Treat. The event invites local businesses and organizations to sponsor a trunk and decorate it as they see fit, and then hand out candy to a couple thousand unicorns, hockey players, hunters and skeletons (and a family of raccoons, which nearly adopted my raccoon-costume-clad self that evening).

With the creepy crawlers out and the candy loaded up, this striped critter was ready for trick-or-treaters.
The lines of sweet-toothed families never ended – but I never ran out of chocolate to hand out. Phew.

Although most of the trick-or-treaters’ comments were about the spooky spiders hanging out in the Bolt’s trunk, many parents thought it was cool to incorporate an all-electric into the typical roster of sedans and SUVs. One dad said, “I love that they’re displaying that! They’re good for the environment!”

I don’t need Skittles – that’s sugar to my ears.

- Kaylee Cusack, Minnkota communications specialist

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