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Guest Blog by Shane Goettle, Commissioner, North Dakota Department of Commerce
Senator Elect John Hoeven named the first members of his new Senatorial staff today, and I have decided to join his team as the state director. I expect my role will evolve and change as Senator Hoeven’s agenda develops. I will wrap up my tenure at Commerce by the end of December. Governor-to-be Jack Dalrymple has asked Paul Govig, who has been my deputy for five years, to serve as interim commissioner while he takes time to select a permanent appointment to this key position.
This was an extremely difficult decision for many reasons, but most obviously, because I thoroughly enjoy the working for the Comerce Department and the people involved in it.
When I look back on the last five years, I’m amazed at everything Commerce has accomplished. It has grown from an infant agency to an organization that is trusted to build connections, deliver effective programs and lead the state’s efforts to increase wealth and improve the quality of life for North Dakota people.
The list of new initiatives spearheaded by Commerce in partnership with many others throughout the state is lengthy and includes the Centers of Excellence program, Innovate ND, Operation Intern, Empower ND, the Youth Office, Workforce Enhancement grants, western North Dakota infrastructure development, energy programs, Experience ND, the North Dakota Trade Office, the Native American Business Development Office and much more.
The network of people working to grow our state is stronger today than at any time in our history. State officials are working more effectively with locals and partnerships between communities are the norm not the exception. We are working more efficiently toward a shared vision of prosperity for all North Dakotans. And together we have managed to elevate North Dakota to a position of national prominence.
I’m confident the leadership of Jack Dalrymple as governor will keep North Dakota on this successful path, and I know community and economic development will remain a cornerstone of his administration.
Thank you for your ongoing involvement in growing North Dakota, and most of all thank you for your friendship. One part about my new role that excites me most is the opportunity I will have to continue working with you and others in North Dakota’s business and development community.
Thanksgiving time always gets me thinking about current blessings and past moments I am grateful for in my life. Having grown up on a farm in small town North Dakota, my memories may look different than yours, but we can all reflect back to a simpler time in the place we once (or still) call “home.”
One of my favorite ways to take a step back to those “home” moments is to connect with my hometown weekly newspaper, especially at Thanksgiving time. While I was growing up, the Steele-Ozone Press (Steele, North Dakota) offered up my community and the surrounding areas news weekly.
I may have grown up and moved away, but the Steele-Ozone Press has dutifully delivered the news in my absence. When I return home to visit, I love to flip through the weeklies’ pages and see a new crop of faces in 4-H or pictures from the Men’s Club Pancake Supper. In its pages I can find what the school lunches will be that week (yes, tuna noodle hotdish is still around) and what sporting events will take place. But my absolute favorite is the little reports from each community — mini-captures of what happened in one town as reported by someone living there.
These articles capture a piece of small town living in way that shows family extends to community in rural areas. They report happenings in town from community events to someone visiting a neighbor. I especially love when they have a phrase like: “Velda Thompson stopped by Marion Macklebee’s on Thursday for macaroon cookies and a nice visit.” or “Vernon Triple was ailing this week so the quilting guild took him a hotdish and noodle soup to lift his spirits.” They remind me that I am thankful for all those in my hometown who still think of me as family, those who ask my parents what I’m up to, and those who I think of often when I’m being thankful for moments past.
You may not have grown up with a weekly newspaper in North Dakota, but I hope you to are thankful for those outside your family who still care about you. Even if they haven’t seen you around in a long time. As some of you reconnect with those roots and visit your hometowns over the holidays, suck in the beauty of family, friends and the place you used to call “home.”
Oh, and P.S. – I’m also thankful for the many Ambassadors I have the opportunity to connect with, like you!
Program helps entrepreneurs turn innovative concepts into viable business ventures.
Registration for the 5th Annual Innovate ND competition wraps up on Nov. 12. Innovate ND is a statewide initiative designed to help entrepreneurs turn innovative concepts into viable new North Dakota business ventures. For a $250 registration, participants get access to a proven venture-building process and a chance to win one of five $15,000 prizes.
Registration is available online at www.InnovateND.com. The program includes online entrepreneur education, business planning tools and coaching and mentoring from successful entrepreneurs and proven business owners.
The top 20 entries will get the chance to pitch their business idea to a panel of potential investors. Up to five $15,000 cash prizes will be awarded as well as a wide variety of business services and potential seed capital investments to launch their businesses.
Nearly 700 participants and 350 teams have enrolled in the competition since 2006. Last year, 107 ideas were submitted and over 200 people participated in the program.
The program is organized by the North Dakota Department of Commerce, the UND Center for Innovation and the NDSU Research and Technology Park.
Forum Communications is the lead sponsor. Cavendish Farms of Jamestown is also a premier sponsor. Partner programs include Marketplace of Ideas, DSU Strom Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Southern Valley Innovation Center in Wahpeton, IDEA Center in Bismarck, Bismarck State College Office of Innovation, Minot State University and Severson Entrepreneurship Academy.
Other sponsors include Great River Energy, State Bank & Trust, Bremer Bank, North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Montana Dakota Utilities, Weather Modification, Solarbee, Agency MABU, the Kilbourne Group, First Western Bank and Trust, ND Society of Certified Public Accountants, Bismarck-Mandan Development Association, Dakota Growers Pasta Company and Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corporation.