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Linda Butts Resigns From Commerce
BISMARCK, N.D. – Linda Butts has announced she will resign from her position as senior Commerce advisor in order to return to the private sector. Butts has worked with the agency since before its inception in 2001.
“Linda will leave a valuable and lasting mark on economic development efforts in this state,” Commerce Commissioner Shane Goettle said. “We will miss her diverse talents, her knowledge and her amazing list of contacts and positive relationships with people in business, higher education, government and politics throughout the state. She has been a very valuable member of the Commerce team since this agency was born, and I sincerely thank her for her service.”
In May, Butts left her position as director of the Division of Economic Development and Finance to spearhead Commerce efforts to promote entrepreneurship and innovation within state businesses and to leverage and commercialize business opportunities within the University System.
Butts was the first female and longest-serving director of the Economic Development and Finance Division at Commerce, holding that position from 2001 until 2006. She helped oversee the merger and creation of Commerce. During her tenure, Butts launched several successful programs including the North Dakota Trade Office and the North Dakota Ambassador Program. The state’s trade figures are growing at an annual rate of 18 percent, almost twice the national average. The Ambassador program has grown to a network of more than 1,100 former and fellow North Dakotans who are committed to helping grow the state. In 2005, Business Facilities magazine named the North Dakota Ambassador Program as Best Program of the Year.
“I have always viewed Commerce as an agency that builds bridges between the many partners and players in the economic development process,” Butts said. “I’m proud of the collaborative partnerships I’ve developed over the years and I look forward to passing the baton to a new leader who can continue this work in their own way.”
Butts will wrap up several projects and complete her tenure at Commerce in the next few weeks.
“I always planned to go back to the private sector,” Butts said. “I have really enjoyed my time at Commerce and all the wonderful relationships I’ve made with people throughout the state. I appreciate the new direction Commerce is taking to nurture innovation and entrepreneurship in our state. I look forward to supporting these efforts from the private sector perspective.”