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 North Dakota Department of Commerce
 1600 E. Century Ave. Suite 2
 Bismarck, ND 58503


For Immediate Release

Jan. 26, 2006


For more information contact:

Julie Fedorchak, Communications Manager

(701) 328-5300, (701) 391-1140


Commerce to Promote North Dakota’s Business Advantages in Denver

Event to Showcase State’s Energy Industry and Capabilities

      BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Commerce and nearly 50 North Dakota business leaders from throughout the state will be in Denver Saturday, Jan. 28, to sell North Dakota alumni and potential business contacts on the advantages of doing business in the state.

The Denver Business Gathering is sold out with 230 guests attending and a waiting list of others from the Denver area who want to attend. The event will showcase North Dakota’s growing energy industry and capacity for further energy development. Martin White, CEO of Bismarck-based MDU Resources Group Inc., will be the keynote speaker. Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple will also speak at the event.

“We are thrilled by the interest and response to this event,” DOC Commissioner Shane Goettle said. “We believe North Dakota is creating a buzz in certain business circles, and one of them is energy. This will be a tremendous opportunity for us to market North Dakota to an audience of people who care about the state and are interested in what we have to offer.”

The DOC launched its marketing efforts in 2001 and the North Dakota Business Gatherings are one innovative way to strategically position North Dakota’s business strengths, enhance the state’s image, generate contacts for business recruitment, and to enlist North Dakota advocates in business networks nationwide.

The agency currently hosts events in five markets – Minneapolis, Chicago, Portland/Seattle, the Silicon Valley and Denver. These sites were selected because they boast a large number of North Dakota alumni and have a concentration of businesses that coincide with one of the state’s target industries.

Response to the Denver Business Gatherings has been favorable, and has directly assisted in the creation of two new businesses in the state: AWM Staffing in Hazen and Grizella Corp. in Hebron.

“We target former North Dakotans and alumni because we recognize many of them left the state for job opportunities elsewhere and now hold decision making positions in their organizations,” Goettle said. “Still, they have a warm spot in their hearts for North Dakota.”

For example, Tim and Elaine Auen, founders of AWM Staffing, are former North Dakotans. Mark Draeb is a Hebron native who moved back to start Grizella. All three are now part of the DOC’s Ambassadors Program, and have spoken at previous Denver events about doing business in the state.

“We must be innovative and targeted with our marketing efforts because we have limited resources with which to build our state’s image,” Goettle said. “The Business Gatherings are one of the tools we will continue to use to enhance our image and sell North Dakota to people who can really make a difference for our state.”

The event will include a reception and showcase featuring nine North Dakota energy galleries, followed by dinner and a program. Organizations hosting galleries are: Coal Country Initiative, the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center/Fort Mandan, Wind Energy (Department of Commerce), Bismarck State College, MDU Resources Group, Inc., North Dakota artist Andrew Knudson, North Dakota State College of Science, North Dakota Petroleum Council/EERC, and Dickinson State University.

Event sponsors are: Greater Fargo-Moorhead EDC, Beulah Jobs Development Authority, Washburn Area EDA, Grand Forks Region EDC, Bismarck-Mandan Development Association, Jamestown-Stutsman Development Corporation, Stark Development Corporation, Montana-Dakota Utilities, Bowman County Development Corporation, Underwood Area Economic Development Corporation.

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