Julie Fedorchak is chair of the North Dakota Public Service Commission.
The small but mighty North Dakota Public Service Commission handles a lot in this vast agricultural and ranching state. North Dakota PSC is also in charge of weights and measures, protecting consumers by making sure they get what they pay for. Commissioners in North Dakota are elected and spend a lot of time traveling to hearings held among constituents for the serious business of regulating in the public interest.
PUF's Lori Burkhart: How did your background lead you to be Chair of the Commission?
Chair Julie Fedorchak: I followed a somewhat unusual path. I graduated from college in journalism. Norm Sarri [Michigan PSC] and I are among a small number of commissioner journalists. He always said, we need to start a movement of journalists in utility regulation.
I was hired early in my career to be the communications person for our Governor in the nineties. Working in the Governor's office, I realized I loved public policy, writing, and communications.
I love the challenge of identifying why public policy matters to people and helping to communicate that. I stayed in government work for ten years with that Governor. Then I consulted for ten years while my kids were babies. When they started school, I realized I missed the environment of an office, and the public servant role. I expressed to our then-U.S. Senator, that I'd be interested in getting back into that.