Governor’s Choice Awards Recognize Outstanding Economic Development

DICKINSON, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum presented the Governor’s Choice Economic Development Awards Oct. 22 during the Economic Development Association of North Dakota (EDND) Fall Conference in Dickinson.

“These award recipients are attracting and retaining the workforce talent and capital that North Dakota needs to compete in a global economy, while also fostering a business-friendly environment and making the most of existing infrastructure,” Burgum said. “We thank them for their leadership efforts and alignment with our Main Street Initiative, creating healthy, vibrant communities with smart, efficient infrastructure to attract and retain a skilled workforce for the 21st century economy.

The Economic Developer of the Year award is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution that will leave a lasting impact on the economic health of his or her community or region. The 2019 recipient in the urban community division is Jennifer Feist of the Valley City- Barnes County Development Corp. Feist has served Barnes County for 32 years and a few of her successful projects include the I-94 Regional Development Corridor, Preventice Solutions and the Gaukler Family Wellness Center. The recipient of the award in the rural community division is Carol Peterson, who has served as economic development coordinator for the City of Milnor since 2010. Peterson’s successful projects include working to open a veterinary clinic, creation of a community-owned nonprofit daycare facility, securing a Verizon cell tower when emergency services and the community suffered from lack of service, expansion of natural gas to the area, and launching a children’s summer theater.

The Project of the Year recognizes a project that has made a significant contribution to the economic health of the community or region in terms of job creation, partnerships and overall economic impact. The 2019 recipient in the urban community division is Valley City-Barnes County Development Corporation for its involvement in the John Deere Seeding Group and I-94 Corridor Project. The 75-acre industrial park includes a maintenance facility and armory for North Dakota National Guard, giving the guard direct access to the highway if needed. The John Deere expansion created 80 new, high-paying jobs in the region. Lewis and Clark Development Group is the recipient for the rural community division in recognition of its involvement in the opening the North County Veterinary Clinic in Turtle Lake. Lewis and Clark Development Group provided interim and permanent financing for the clinic, which is important to the area’s livestock industry.

The Community Development Award recognizes a development project that has increased the quality of life in a community. Wahpeton Community Development received this award for its work on the City Brew Hall, a $3 million project transforming the vacant historic city hall into restaurant and event space.

“Economic developers around the state are helping to build thriving communities and a flourishing state economy. Over the last few decades, we have benefitted from exponential growth in the state, and EDND is pleased to recognize the standout developers, programs and projects of all of the award winners,” said Shawn Wenko, president of EDND.

The Governor’s Choice Economic Development Awards are given annually through a collaboration between the North Dakota Governor’s Office, the North Dakota Department of Commerce and EDND.