QUALITY OF LIFE? COME AND GET IT!
The Bismarck, Fargo, and Grand Forks metropolitan areas were all recognized recently by Expansion Management Magazine.
Bismarck and Fargo-Moorhead received the "Five-Star Community" award after the magazine's annual "Quality of Life Quotient" rankings. The award places the two communities in the top 15 percent of all 329 metropolitan areas surveyed.
Grand Forks-East Grand Forks received "Four-Star Community" ranking, placing it in the top 33 percent.
Expansion Management Magazine is a monthly business magazine for executives of companies actively looking for a place to expand or relocate in the near future.
"If your idea of a great place to live and work is based upon a reasonable cost of living, affordable housing, low crime, excellent transportation access, good public schools, proximity to community colleges and universities, an educated work force, low taxes, and other concerns you as an employer might have, then our Quality of Life Quotient is worth a look," said Bill King, editor-in-chief.
The magazine, one of the world's leading site location and facility management journals, with 45,000 corporate and business subscribers, uses nearly 50 categories to evaluate metro areas.
CALIFORNIA CAMPAIGN UPDATE
As we persevere in enlightening California businesses about the benefits of moving or expanding to North Dakota, the next parts of the strategic marketing plan fall into place. An attention-demanding billboard went up in the San Jose area in June; it will stay up through the summer. ED&F; is also compiling a direct-mail list of North Dakota alumni in the San Jose area.
The campaign has provided at least one unexpected bonus: many expatriate North Dakotans have seen the ads and commercials and contacted ED&F; to request information about moving back home to the Peace Garden State.
FARGO COMPANY OFFERS BUSH SOLUTION TO ENERGY CRISIS
BeAtHome,Inc., Fargo, makes a wireless, Internet-based home control system. Dan Malmstrom, BeAtHome cofounder, was invited to Washington, D.C. in late June to meet with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Energy Secretary Abraham on urgently needed energy-containment technology.
Malmstrom showed the group BeAtHome's newest product: a remote monitor and control device for home generators. "We're encouraged by the President's interest in available energy-management and cost-saving technologies like ours," Malmstrom said.
Others who presented information and products at the session included the CEOs or division chiefs of General Motors, General Electric Appliances, Intel, Daimler-Chrysler, National Semiconductor, and Puget Sound Energy.
The BeAtHome System combines wireless devices in the home with a personal, secured web site. The system lets homeowners manage lights, temperature, and appliances' energy consumption, and remotely monitor and control back-up generators, from anywhere in the world. To save money, energy, and resources, homeowners can pre-schedule or remotely set thermostats, operate conservation-based lighting schedules, and turn off appliances, like water heaters, for extended periods. The product is used in a variety of home and commercial settings.
BeAtHome, Inc. was awarded the 2001 Consumer Electronics Association Innovations Award for Home and the 2001 Home Automation & Networking Association's Mark of Excellence Award.
SUCCESSES, BOARD SELECTION HIGHLIGHT ND MEP JULY MEETING
To continue the drive toward increasing productivity and to encourage development of the North Dakota Manufacturing Extension Partnership (ND MEP), ED&F; will hold an oganizational meeting Thurs., July 12.
The meeting, which will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., will be held at the Harold Schafer Leadership Center at the University of Mary, Bismarck.
Leaders representing a cross-section of manufacturers throughout the state are invited, including members of the ND MEP steering committee and companies who have already received MEP services. Highlights of the meeting:
- Kevin Carr, director of MEP NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce, will join via a remote link from Gaithersburg, MD, to introduce high-performing MEP centers.
- Don Morton, Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions, Fargo, will discuss the eBusiness Partnership with MEP NIST.
- Dale Crownover of Texas Nameplate Company, Inc., will describe how MEP transformed his company. North Dakota business owners will also share their success stories.
"North Dakota MEP is about committing to growth and change in order to become more profitable," said Randy Schwartz, Director of Business Services at the ND Commerce Department.
There are about 350,000 small-to-medium-sized US businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees). By the end of 1999, the national MEP program had worked with a third of those businesses, and the results were clear.
"The difference in productivity between businesses that participate in MEP and those that don't is astonishing," Schwartz said.
NDDF BOARD INVESTS IN EQUIPMENT, WEB SITE, RESTRUCTURING
The North Dakota Development Fund (NDDF) Board approves funding for companies and projects that bolster the state's economy and primary-sector business growth. Recent investments:
- Semolina Specialties, Crosby: $50,000 as part of a $4.6-million funding package, to purchase machinery and equipment. The lead lender in the project is Farm Credit Services of Minot. Other funding comes from the Spirit Fund of Crosby, the Magic Fund of Minot, and the Star Fund of Williston.
- FarmNet Services Inc.: $75,000 to expand www.farmnetservices.com to include 20 more grain-producing states and introduce grain marketing features.
- Agri ImaGIS (AI), Maddock $33,333, in addition to bank financing, to restructure finances to meet increasing sales and new long-term contracts. The funding also positions Agri ImaGIS to partner with RadarSat International, a global provider of satellite imagery based in Vancouver, Canada.
ED&F;'S GAEBE NAMED HOEVEN'S AGRICULTURE POLICY ADVISOR
Lance Gaebe, former executive director of the ND Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC), joined Gov. John Hoeven's staff in June as agriculture policy advisor.
APUC administers the state's value-added agriculture business grant program and its $3.9 million budget.
"Lance combines a knowledge of value-added agriculture with extensive experience in management," Hoeven said. "He knows first-hand about living life on the farm, he's well-versed in the complicated issues of federal ag policy, and he's highly respected among North Dakota's commodity groups and the Legislature."
In his new position, Gaebe will work with North Dakota farmers, businesses, and the new Commerce Department staff to promote the development of value-added ag production. He will also work on federal farm policy and the changes needed to produce a more stable agricultural economy in North Dakota.
Gaebe replaces Clare Carlson, who resigned from Hoeven's staff to accept the position of Director of USDA Rural Development.
NEW ED&F; STAFF
MICHAEL STROTHEIDE holds a B.A. in psychology from Minot State University, but for the past 13 years has worked in Texas, Georgia, and Arkansas. Since March 2000, Strotheide has served as president of the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development (OPED) in Camden, AR. OPED was formed and incorporated, and secured initial funding, under his leadership. He has also served as manager of business development for KMC Telecom in Atlanta and as executive director for the Longview Economic Development Corporation in Longview, TX.
Director of Marketing:
TRACY METZGER is new, and yet not new, to the ED&F; staff. Since 1989, Metzger has been president and lead consultant with Pearce Metzger Communications, Inc., of Bismarck. For the past year, she has been a marketing consultant to ED&F.; In addition to disseminating myriad news releases and producing numerous agency publications and promotional materials, Metzger made the Growing Interest newsletter a reality and is the key architect of the California marketing campaign.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
"The communities and governments have a positive business posture. The quality of life is excellent, as is the work ethic." (Erik Olson, general plant manager, CNH [Case Corp.], Fargo)
"To provide strategic direction and quality products and services that stimulate and support local economic growth and diversity."