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Bakken is building a better future for N.D., U.S.

A number of letter writers have commented on what western North Dakota is like these days. They try to summarize their trip using their experience driving through on U.S. Highway 85 and U.S. Highway 2 over a day or two. Sometimes they’re right, but mostly their short trips give little insight to what’s happening in the region.

I have a unique perspective when it comes to the Bakken. I’m a female studying industrial engineering at North Dakota State University who spent a summer interning for one of the Bakken’s largest companies. I worked 60-hour weeks on a crew fracking newly-drilled wells. Our teams worked hard. I was often hitting my maximum of 60 hours by Wednesday. Yet never was gender a consideration. Rather, our work was about a job well done on time.

After spending the summer working in the Bakken, I look forward to returning to the field again next summer. Too many people ask, “What was it like?”

They focus too much on the challenges of the region. They don’t understand how the region’s communities are building roads and infrastructure, adding new homes and increasing public safety. Mostly, they don’t understand the rewarding feeling of completing a project or how it feels to be trusted at a young age with the success of multi-million dollar projects. It is a sense of accomplishment I’ll enjoy for decades to come within the industry.

The people working in western North Dakota come from all aspects of life. There are professionals, and there are laborers. There are men, and there are women. Yet all of us out there share a sense of purpose. Yes, we have great jobs and great wages, but more than that, we know that the Bakken is driving the economy of North Dakota and the nation. We know the Bakken is securing America’s energy supply. We know the Bakken is building a better future for North Dakota and America.