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The Grand Forks Herald has been running a cool series of articles highlighting success stories out of North Dakota’s oil patch. Here’s the latest installment. We hope you enjoy it!
Interested in making a difference in North Dakota’s future? 2020 & Beyond, the state’s 20-year visioning process, has just begun to hold community meetings across the state. These meetings are an opportunity for you to get involved and take part in shaping North Dakota’s future.
The initiative hopes to build on North Dakota’s growth and expand visions for economic development statewide, focusing on the areas of people, places and opportunities.
Meetings will be held in Wahpeton (March 13), Jamestown and Fargo (March 14), Williston (March 20), Minot (March 21), Devils Lake (March 27), and Grand Forks (March 27).
Visit www.ND2020andBeyond.com to find location information and to learn more about this exciting initiative.
They have a built-in state pride that’s so large that even the rest of the world knows that “everything is bigger in Texas.” In fact, if you Google image search “Texas flag tattoos” you’ll return over 93,000 photos of people who have forever inked their body with the Texas flag or some other iconic Texan thing.
It’s a little scary.
But in the end, I want a little of that.
No, not some crazy Texas tattoo, but a state pride for all our citizens that runs deep. One that North Dakota citizens could wear like a badge of honor no matter where they live now.
North Dakota has reason to be proud: We have a budget surplus and the lowest unemployment in the nation. We’re a leader in energy, agricultural, aerospace and more. We’re ranked in the top 10 in lots of stuff: #1 job market, #1 state competitiveness, #3 happiest people, #1 most social (media) state, #3 for gross domestic product growth, and #1 in awesomeness.
OK, I made up the awesomeness statistic. BUT, if there was a scale for that, I just know North Dakota would rank high there too.
Check out more North Dakota rankings in the 12 reasons to Live, Work and Play in North Dakota.
In the end, North Dakota is filled with a humble brood. Most our ancestors came from Scandinavian and Germans stock, where it just isn’t the cultural norm to brag about anything. We all live our lives, do our jobs, care about our neighbors and we don’t have much to say about it.
The citizens of North Dakota have much to brag about, but mostly they just like living and being from here. And, if asked, we’ll gently tell you we are from “North Dakota.” No extra context needed. No bragging necessary.
We may never reach the “Texas-level” of state pride, but I do hope we all strive to be Ambassadors for North Dakota. Staying positive about the state we live in and love helps others to see that what we don’t have is sometimes what makes us such a great place. And, remembering what we do have tends to keep us humble.
Amazingly, the North Dakota Ambassadors program, which is North Dakota’s volunteer feel good force, has grown to just over 7,600 members on our social networks. Ambassadors spread our positive state messages and we’re changing the nation’s view about what we are. Join us on Facebook or Twitter.
In the end, my dream would be that all our citizens and former citizens choose to be a North Dakota Ambassador. We all carry a different vision of what being an Ambassador for North Dakota is. The Ambassadors program is even looking for feedback on what you think an Ambassador is – Take the Ambassador Survey.
We may never reach a time when there are 93,000 Google hits depicting people with North Dakota’s flag inked on their body, but I hope we’ve got our North Dakota roots tattooed on our souls. It is a quieter kind of state pride than Texas has, but in the end, I’m left thinking maybe I don’t want everything to be bigger in North Dakota … maybe, I’m simply humbled by the fact that it’s better in North Dakota.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Greg Folley, vice president of Caterpillar Inc.’s Remanufacturing & Components Division, announced yesterday that the heavy equipment manufacturing company plans a major expansion at its West Fargo plant.
In August, Caterpillar officials will begin a $50 million expansion project that will create about 250 new jobs during the next three years, nearly doubling the West Fargo plant’s current workforce of 300 employees. The project includes building a 225,000-square-foot addition to the West Fargo plant where Caterpillar employees remanufacture parts for Caterpillar mining equipment. The expansion project is slated to be completed in June 2012. In April, Dalrymple, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, the city of West Fargo Economic Development and the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation began contacting officials at Illinois-based Caterpillar, encouraging them to consider West Fargo for their expansion plans.
“We emphasized that Caterpillar would benefit from a workforce that is second to none, that they would benefit from a responsive state government with strong business support services and that they would also benefit from low corporate and property taxes,” Dalrymple said. “With many remanufacturing facilities throughout the United States and the world, Caterpillar had many site options for this expansion. We’re pleased that they appreciate our business climate and we look forward to their growing business presence in North Dakota.”
Caterpillar’s remanufacturing operations return end-of-life components to their original condition in terms of reliability, durability and performance. The West Fargo expansion will help Caterpillar meet the strong demand for remanufactured drive train components for large, off-highway trucks and other mining equipment, including final drives, transmissions, torque convertors and steering clutches.
The plant’s expanded footprint will house high-tech machining, metal additive processes and a state-of-the-art metal sciences lab which will support the company’s increased production of remanufactured parts and advanced wear coatings.
In 2008, Caterpillar purchased the West Fargo remanufacturing plant from Gremada Industries which was established by Greg, Matthew and David Butler in 1962. With the assistance of business loans provided by the Bank of North Dakota and with workforce training assistance provided by North Dakota Job Service, Gremada’s business expanded to include more than 200 employees.
The flooding in North Dakota is making national headlines as Minot’s Souris River (also known as the Mouse River) crested this weekend at 1561.7 feet, beating the 1881 record of 1558.0 feet. Minot, Bismarck-Mandan and many of their surrounding areas continue to be heavily impacted by the excess water that needs to leave the state.
The Ambassador spirit of the North Dakota people continues as neighbor is helping neighbor, and more importantly, complete strangers are lending a hand to help out their fellow human beings. No questions, no payments, but rather simple thank yous and doing what is right is prevailing in most instances.
There’s been a lot of Ambassador questions about what is really happening and how can they help. Earlier this month we posted our first series of photo links to help you better understand the situation with our post North Dakota Flooding Photo Links. This is a follow-up to that post to provide you some more up-to-date information and imagery from North Dakota. If you have more resources, please feel free to add them I the comments section. As we learn of more we’ll also attempt to update.
- KX News Minot – Facebook Page photo albums featuring many photos from the flooding in Minot and surrounding areas: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.210029399040263.51264.113338562042681#!/media/albums/?id=113338562042681
- KX News Minot – Facebook Live Coverage: http://www.facebook.com/kxnewsminot?sk=app_190322544333196
- KX News Minot – Website offering live UStream coverage from Minot: http://www.kxnet.com/?setCity=min
- KX News Minot – YouTube photo montage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBoclslZ_bg
- New York Times Coverage of the Minot flooding: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/27/us/27airwaves.html?_r=2&scp=5&sq=minot&st=cse A corresponding slideshow from the story: http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/06/27/us/20110627_FLOOD-10.html
- North Dakota National Guard Flickr photos – hosts pictures from flooding across the state: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ndguard/collections/72157626806898434/
- BismarckMandan YouTube Channel featuring flood footage videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/bismarckman#p/u
- KFGO’s Mike McFeely’s ariel tour of Minot on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.241463309213504.78119.100000495107353
- ABC News Coverage: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/minot-struggles-record-breaking-floods-13932097
- Presidential Disaster Declaration – Individual assistance has been approved for Burleigh and Ward counties. Residents can apply for FEMA individual assistance online: http://www.disasterassistance.gov/
- Disaster Recovery Center Locations: The Bismarck Disaster Recovery Center will open, June 27 from 1pm to 7pm and be open daily from 7am to 7pm starting tomorrow. Locations: Bismarck – Bank of North Dakota – 1200 Memorial Highway; Minot – Minot City Auditorium, 420 3rd. Ave. SW and Minot State University-MSU Student Center, 500 University Ave. W.
- ND Flood Info – State flood related website offering information about steps to take before, during and after a flood as well as resources available to individuals and businesses: http://www.ndfloodinfo.com
- Donate – Give to the North Dakota Flood Relief Fund through the North Dakota Community Foundation: http://www.ndcf.net/Flood/Index.asp
- Donate – Give to the American Red Cross Mid-Dakota Chapter: http://minotredcross.org/
- Donate – Money for Minot efforts in the Fargo Area: http://www.moneyforminot.com/
What can we say, North Dakota loves accolades! The state has recently been recognized for having one of the best job markets in 2010, being number 3 in the nation for “well being,” and for having one of the lowest underemployment rates in the country by Gallup.
Here’s a little insight into the latest Gallup rankings.
Best Job Market
North Dakota has a Job Creation Index of 29 which puts us on top for Gallup’s best job market survey. More than half of the 10 best job markets in 2010 were in energy- and commodity-producing states. Having a significant presence of natural resource-based industries has been a distinct job-creation advantage for North Dakota.
*To learn more about best job markets in 2010 go to http://www.gallup.com/poll/146402/North-Dakota-Washington-Best-Job-Markets-2010.aspx
North Dakota is among the 10 states with the highest overall well-being scores, sitting happily at number three with a score of 68.4 on the Well-Being Index scale. The state-level data is based on daily surveys conducted from January through December 2010. The Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index is calculated on a scale of zero to 100, where a score of 100 represents ideal -. The wellbeing index is based on six main elements, evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors and basic access.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks U.S. wellbeing and provides best-in-class solutions for a healthier world. To learn more, please visit well-beingindex.com.
*To learn more about well-being go to http://www.gallup.com/poll/146288/Hawaii-No-Wellbeing-West-Virginia-Last.aspx
North Dakota has a underemployment rating of 9.0-11.9 percent and is in the top 10 states of the union not only in terms of underemployment, but also on measures of economic confidence and job creation.
Nationally, 18.9 percent of Americans were underemployed in 2010, but rates varied substantially across states. A group of six states, mostly in the middle of the country, had underemployment rates of less than 15 percent in 2010 and North Dakota was one of them with less than 12 percent underemployment. Underemployed Americans are generally those who are not working to their desired capacity. The definition of unemployment used as a component of underemployment closely follows the government’s definition; respondents are “unemployed” if they don’t have a job, and are actively looking for work and are available to begin work.
The extent of underemployment in the U.S. varies widely by state, from relatively low levels in the energy states of North Dakota and Wyoming to quite high levels in a number of states, including the nation’s largest, California.
*To learn more about underemployment go to http://www.gallup.com/poll/146486/Underemployment-Lowest-North-Dakota-Wyoming.aspx
Note: Thanks to Ambassador and North Dakota Department of Commerce Marketing Intern Stacey Loula for authoring this post.
Editors Note: The Week (an online news site – posted March 18, 2011) recently ran a story featuring some great stats about North Dakota. We’ve already bragged about some of these, but sure like sharing them again! Enjoy.
As states like Michigan, California, and Illinois grapple with booming deficits and unwieldy public sector entitlements, it’s easy to forget that not every state in the union is scraping pennies together. Take North Dakota, America’s third least-populated state. According to U.S. Census data, the Peace Garden State has been growing steadily for years; its largest cities’ populations have surged dramatically. Here, a look at the numbers behind America’s most successful state:
Population of Fargo, North Dakota’s most populous city. The figure, from the latest census results, is a record high, and places Fargo above cities such as Berkeley, Calif., and Green Bay, Wis.
Population of North Dakota
North Dakota’s population growth from 2000 to 2010. That’s lower than average, says USA Today, but “robust for a region that has suffered for decades from a depopulation of the Great Plains.”
North Dakota’s ranking in state-by-state income per capita. It was 38th in 2000.
The median price of a house or condominium in North Dakota in 2009.
The median price of a house of condominium in North Dakota 2000. Yes, says Ann Brenoff at WalletPop, North Dakota is still in the middle of a housing boom.
Share of houses foreclosed upon in the third quarter of 2010
North Dakota’s unemployment rate, the lowest in the country. It hasn’t risen above 5 percent since 1987.
Value of agricultural commodities exported in 2009 — an 88 percent increase over the 2005 figure
Number of active oil rigs in the state as of February 2011, a record high
Barrels of recoverable oil in North Dakota and Montana, according to the U.S. Geological Survey
Number of barrels of oil a day North Dakota could potentially produce by the end of the year
Amount set to be paid into the state treasury in oil, gas, and production taxes during the 2011-2013 budget cycle
The state of North Dakota’s current budget surplus. By contrast, neighboring Minnesota has a $5 billion budget deficit.
Editors Note: The following is an editorial piece by Joel Kotkin which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on March 14, 2011. It’s the kind of article that makes us proud to be Ambassadors for the Great State of North Dakota!
By Joel Kotkin, Wall Street Journal
Living on the harsh, wind-swept northern Great Plains, North Dakotans lean towards the practical in economic development. Finding themselves sitting on prodigious pools of oil—estimated by the state’s Department of Mineral Resources at least 4.3 billion barrels—they are out drilling like mad. And the state is booming.
Unemployment is 3.8%, and according to a Gallup survey last month, North Dakota has the best job market in the country. Its economy “sticks out like a diamond in a bowl of cherry pits,” says Ron Wirtz, editor of the Minneapolis Fed’s newspaper, fedgazette. The state’s population, slightly more than 672,000, is up nearly 5% since 2000.
The biggest impetus for the good times lies with energy development. Around 650 wells were drilled last year in North Dakota, and the state Department of Mineral Resources envisions another 5,500 new wells over the next two decades. Between 2005 and 2009, oil industry revenues have tripled to $12.7 billion from $4.2 billion, creating more than 13,000 jobs.
Already fourth in oil production behind Texas, Alaska and California, the state is positioned to advance on its competitors. Drilling in both Alaska and the Gulf, for example, is currently being restrained by Washington-imposed regulations. And progressives in California—which sits on its own prodigious oil supplies—abhor drilling, promising green jobs while suffering double-digit unemployment, higher utility rates and the prospect of mind-numbing new regulations that are designed to combat global warming and are all but certain to depress future growth. In North Dakota, by contrast, even the state’s Democrats—such as Sen. Kent Conrad and former Sen. Byron Dorgan—tend to be pro-oil. The industry services the old-fashioned liberal goal of making middle-class constituents wealthier.
Oil also is the principal reason North Dakota enjoys arguably the best fiscal situation in all the states. With a severance tax on locally produced oil, there’s a growing state surplus. Recent estimates put an extra $1 billion in the state’s coffers this year, and that’s based on a now-low price of $70 a barrel.
North Dakota, however, is no one-note Prairie sheikdom. The state enjoys prodigious coal supplies and has—yes—even moved heavily into wind-generated electricity, now ranking ninth in the country. Thanks to global demand, North Dakota’s crop sales are strong, but they are no longer the dominant economic driver—agriculture employs only 7.2% of the state’s work force.
Perhaps more surprising, North Dakota is also attracting high-tech. For years many of the state’s talented graduates left home, but that brain drain is beginning to reverse. This has been critical to the success of many companies, such as Great Plains Software, which was founded in the 1980s and sold to Microsoft in 2001 for $1.1 billion. The firm has well over 1,000 employees.
The corridor between Grand Forks and Fargo along the Red River (the border between North Dakota and Minnesota) has grown rapidly in the past decade. It now boasts the headquarters of Microsoft Business Systems and firms such as PacketDigital, which makes microelectronics for portable electronic devices and systems. There are also biotech firms such as Aldevron, which manufactures proteins for biomedical research. Between 2002 and 2009, state employment in science, technology, engineering and math-related professions grew over 30%, according to EMSI, an economic modeling firm. This is five times the national average.
While the overall numbers are still small compared to those of bigger states, North Dakota now outperforms the nation in everything from the percentage of college graduates under the age of 45 to per-capita numbers of engineering and science graduates. Median household income in 2009 was $49,450, up from $42,235 in 2000. That 17% increase over the last decade was three times the rate of Massachussetts and more than 10 times that of California.
Some cities, notably Fargo (population 95,000), have emerged as magnets. “Our parking lot has 20 license plates in it,” notes Niles Hushka, co-founder of Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson, an engineering firm active in Great Plains energy development. Broadway Drive in Fargo’s downtown boasts art galleries, good restaurants and young urban professionals hanging out in an array of bars. This urban revival is a source of great pride in Fargo.
What accounts for the state’s success? Dakotans didn’t bet the farm, so to speak, on solar cells, high-density housing or high-speed rail. Taxes are moderate—the state ranks near the middle in terms of tax per capita, according to the Tax Foundation—and North Dakota is a right-to-work state, which makes it attractive to new employers, especially in manufacturing. But the state’s real key to success is doing the first things first—such as producing energy, food and specialized manufactured goods for which there is a growing, world-wide market. This is what creates the employment and wealth that can support environmental protection and higher education.
Thankfully, this kind of sensible thinking is making a comeback in some other states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. These hard-pressed states realize that attending to basic needs—in their case, shale natural gas—could be just the elixir to resuscitate their economies.
Twenty-two North Dakota manufacturers and service providers are participating in the first Governor’s GE Aviation Small Business Supplier Symposium in Grand Forks today.
The symposium is structured around coaching and mentoring local small businesses in doing business with GE Aviation through panel discussions and one-on-one sessions. Following the event, GE will provide an opportunity for further discussions with those businesses that match GE’s growing commodities.
Gov. John Hoeven and GE Aviation Vice President Scott Ernest briefed participants on the significant benefits this outreach can offer both to local businesses and GE Aviation.
“We are working with GE Aviation to expand the company’s relationships in North Dakota, and in so doing, to create jobs and new opportunities for our state’s small businesses and entrepreneurs,” Hoeven said.
“GE Aviation is thrilled with the opportunity to grow its supply base in North Dakota. We are interested in expanding our number of minority and women owned businesses that have the capabilities we need during this time of increased production,” Ernest said.
Microlap Technologies, Inc. (www.microlap.com) employs 55 people in Rolla, N.D. They are a leading U.S. manufacturer of custom, high-precision industrial components made from synthetic ruby and sapphire, ceramic, tungsten carbide and other hard materials. The company services a variety of industries including aviation, defense, telecommunications, medical, and water jet cutting and cleaning.
“This symposium is a great opportunity for us to learn how our products and services might fit with GE Aviation. Having a forum like this helps smaller companies like ours gain exposure to larger companies like GE Aviation,” Microlap CEO Steve Arvidson said. “With an environment like this symposium we have a more focused opportunity than we would by going to an industry trade show. Obviously, that’s an attractive opportunity for a growing business like ours where marketing budgets are often limited.”
Appareo Systems (www.appareo.com) of Fargo also participated in the symposium. Founded in 2001, Appareo designs and manufactures electronic, mechanical and software products for aerospace, defense and transportation applications worldwide.
“As North Dakota continues to emerge as a center for aerospace innovation, events like this symposium catalyze our growing relationships with the industry’s household names,” David Batcheller, chief operations officer of Appareo, said. “Through these relationships we believe North Dakota companies can continue to stay at the forefront of aerospace technology.”
The North Dakota Department of Commerce helped coordinate the event. “North Dakota has a terrific base of innovative and efficient businesses that can deliver outstanding products and services as suppliers to large companies like GE,” Commerce Commissioner Shane Goettle said. “This is one more way we are working to support business growth and diversification in our state.”
GE Aviation employs approximately 37,000 employees and operates more than 50 manufacturing and service facilities around the world. The company invests $1 billion annually in jet propulsion R&D programs. GE Aviation, a GE operating unit based in Cincinnati, is a world-leading provider of commercial and military jet engines and components as well as integrated digital, electric power, and mechanical systems for aircraft.
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services. www.ndcommerce.com
ENTREPRENEUR. Webster’s dictionary defines it as “One who organizes, manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.
For some it means freedom. For others it’s the culmination of dreams.
To me, being an entrepreneur means hours of labor. Of hard work. Being able to think outside the box, being visionary, having an innate belief in myself, knowing that the first step is the hardest, being willing to help others, and the understanding that ‘NO’ is just a word.
My husband and I are both ‘entrepreneurs’. When we moved back to ND five years ago, he brought his business Tom Kat on Site Inc back with him. He is a mobile Caterpillar engine repair specialist. It’s defiantly considered a niche! Getting our business set up in ND wasn’t anywhere near as time-consuming or complicated as what was expected. Both our accountant and local banker were well-informed on what we needed to transition from Colorado to ND. With some creative marketing, a good work ethic and a great atmosphere, his business really took off and we are very happy with it.
Because of our success with Tom Kat on Site, we were able to start TomkatZ Repair (automotive) in Washburn and sell it to my cousin and his family who we had talked into relocating from Sacramento.
We also currently own D’Eggos Diner in Underwood. We’ve been there almost a year now. We decided that since I was already commuting to Bismarck to work in hospitality, I might as well work for myself. It’s been a little more challenging. Business is actually very good. Finding help is the issue at hand. With a little creativity we are overcoming that. Also through the Diner, we have been able to help one of our girls launch Connie’s Cowboy Cookies and Bakery. It works out great … She needs somewhere to bake, I need baked goods.
It’s like paying it forward. North Dakota Style.
For us North Dakota has been a great place to do business. The resources are seemingly endless. There’s networking opportunities, (we became active in the Ambassador program before moving here) free business classes, terrific support from our local lender, a state website that‘s easy to navigate, ‘atta boys’ from the community and much more. We tell everybody to come here! I would definitely say doing business in ND is rewarding. Not just financially, but personally as well.
Written by Guest Blogger – Katy Kassian | We could tell you her story, but she’s already done it so well above! Katy and her husband Tom live in the Regan area.
If Katy has aroused your inner entrepreneur, now’s the time to enter the InnovateND competition. Click the link and find out more!