Barton Community College celebrates 30-year relationship with Midwest Energy, Inc.

November 13, 2017
Story and photos by Micah Oelze

Midwest Energy, Inc. made its first donation to the Barton Community College Foundation in support of the Academic Enrichment Fund Campaign 30 years ago. The Foundation once again received the annual donation like clockwork. Since September of 1987, Midwest Energy, Inc. has contributed more than $71,000 for scholarships, program development and advancement at Barton Community College.

“From 1987 until present, Midwest Energy, Inc. has been a loyal and consistent donor,” Cape said. “What has made their giving so valuable is that their gifts have been unrestricted – they come with no criteria or restrictions as to programs, scholarships, or enhancements; they are given to be used as needs arise at the discretion of the Foundation. Having unrestricted funds at our disposal is a true blessing.”

Midwest Energy, Inc. Key Account Executive James Wright thinks the unrestricted funds are a great way to give back.

“Personally, I think it is a neat thing. Not limiting the funds helps open more opportunities for all sorts of potential students to take advantage of Barton,” he said. “We have always tried to support the college in whatever shape or way we could whether through insight or contributions to the Foundation.”

Another way Midwest Energy, Inc. contributed to the college was by being a major donor for the Midwest Utility & Pipeline Training Center (MUPTC) in 2004. Over the years the MUPTC has become a recognized premier location in the midwest for training within the natural gas and energy industries. In addition to the certificate and degree program for new employees, industry partners utilize both the facilities and faculty for customized training and on-going education.

“When the Midwest Building was built on campus a few years back, that is when I first came into the picture. That has been a big bond between us,” Wright said. “We can have the type of training some of our guys need right here locally.”

Midwest Energy, Inc. has also helped the college with tactics to lower the college's electrical bill and improve lighting around campus. This was accomplished by giving ownership of the lights, which previously were owned by Midwest Energy, Inc., to the college and suggesting an upgrade to LEDs.

“With advances in LED technology we were able to provide brighter lights, lower bills and increased safety around the campus,” Wright said. “Maintenance and energy costs are down and it helps everyone feel safer on campus.”

In a recent Foundation letter, Cape wrote about the Foundation’s relationship with Midwest Energy concluding with a statement summarizing the partnership’s impact and her gratitude.

“The word energy as defined by Webster’s dictionary is two-fold: 1) energy is the property transferred to an object to perform work and 2) energy is the strength and vitality required to sustain physical and mental activity,” Cape said. “Thanks to the generosity and insight of Midwest Energy, Inc., Barton Community College has been able to provide both to our students and our industry partners for the past 30 years.”

A Natural Gas Transmission and Distribution Technology class visits a gas measurement site on a field trip.
A Natural Gas Transmission and Distribution Technology class visits a gas measurement site on a field trip.