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CONTENTS"We will leave no stone unturned" Who adds value and creates new wealth? ED&F; surveys primary-sector businessesKey ND manufacturers jump-start MEP processUpdate: ND Department of CommerceWhat they're sayingED&F; missionED&F; staff listing
"WE WILL LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED"
The ND Department of Commerce's business development unit, under the leadership of Mike Strotheide, plans a
high-energy campaign to bring new business into the state.
"We're going to aggressively target out-of-state businesses to expand in North Dakota, especially in our small to medium-sized cities," Strotheide said. "We've had great success where that has happened."
"Our intent is to help communities participate with us in attracting new business," he added.
The business development office is finalizing its marketing plan for the next two years. The plan includes participation at trade shows (some for the first time), as well as site visits to companies in the central part of the country -- Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois -- with industries similar to North Dakota's. Special events and marketing missions round out the plan.
"We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to develop new businesses and attract out-of-state expansions to North Dakota," Strotheide said.
WHO ADDS VALUE AND CREATES NEW WEALTH? ED&F; SURVEYS PRIMARY-SECTOR BUSINESSES
ED&F; recently sent a three-page survey to 1,000 North Dakota manufacturers, food processors, and export service companies. In addition to introducing ED&F; services and offering assistance, the survey's purpose was to gather information from companies with the potential to become primary-sector (new wealth-generating) businesses.
Questions on the survey are related to adding value and creating new wealth. North Dakota Century Code requires primary-sector businesses to add value to a product, process, or service through the employment of knowledge or labor, and to create new wealth rather than redistribute dollars from one North Dakotan to another.
Companies had the option, for the first time, of completing their survey over the Internet, and were given a user name and password to ensure exclusive access to their record. Basic company information (name, address, phone, etc.) will be displayed on the web site in a public area, but most of the requested information will remain confidential and available only to ED&F; staff. The information will be used for business development, workforce development, and Manufacturing Extension Partnership purposes.
"The information collected in this survey is vital to the operations, research, services, and success of the Department of Commerce," said DOC Commissioner Lee Peterson. To boost the response rate and gather as much information as possible, ED&F; will phone companies that don't respond.
North Dakota companies are generally surveyed on an alternating schedule, but if you have never received a survey and want to know if ED&F; would characterize your business as primary-sector, simply visit the ED&F; web site at www.growingnd.com. Select Company Profile from the left-hand menu, and then select Add a Profile from the drop-down list. Although the final determination of whether a business is primary-sector is based on personal interviews, the web site will let you know whether your business seems to meet the qualifications.
ED&F;, previously a separate agency, is now a division of the newly formed North Dakota Department of Commerce (DOC) that facilitates the creation of new wealth through the start-up, retention, and expansion of primary-sector business. ED&F;'s goal is to increase the standard of living for all North Dakotans by helping businesses to develop in our state.
KEY ND MANUFACTURERS JUMP-START MEP PROCESS
Lean manufacturing processes have helped many small and medium-sized North Dakota manufacturers greatly increase their productivity. The processes are facilitated through the North Dakota Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center.
In July, key manufacturers from across the state met in Bismarck to learn about the national MEP system and begin developing a strategic plan for the ND MEP Center, which became active in December 1999.
"The MEP was formed to help small manufacturers become more competitive and close the productivity gap between small and large manufacturers," said Randy Schwartz, MEP director for the ND Department of Commerce.
The US has about 350,000 small and medium-sized businesses, defined as those with fewer than 500 employees. By the end of 1999, the national MEP program had worked with a third of those 350,000 businesses, with astonishing results in productivity.
In 1998, manufacturing contributed over $1.46 billion to North Dakota's gross domestic product. That figure is 8.5 percent of the state's output.
"I can't stress enough the importance of the existing manufacturers in our state," said ND Gov. John Hoeven, who participated in the July meeting. "With the MEP, we hope to further develop this existing business base while nurturing new ventures in advanced manufacturing."
The ND MEP center has already helped several manufacturers across the state produce notable results.
Dakota Machine, Inc., West Fargo, a wind tower producer in West Fargo, says that lean manufacturing practices learned from MEP professionals enable it to produce ten sections per week, more than twice their output before they started lean manufacturing.
Funshine Express, Dickinson, will nearly double production numbers from last year. Lean manufacturing allowed it to do this while adding only one person to the assembly line -- although they'll need to hire the equivalent of three full-time staff people to keep up with increased customer service, marketing, and product development activities resulting from the increased productivity.
Cloverdale Meats, Mandan, is still implementing lean manufacturing practices but has already seen productivity increases and improvements in teamwork and product quality.
"I support the efforts of the MEP in our state and its economic impact in creating jobs with high wages," Hoeven said. Annual earnings for North Dakota manufacturing employees averaged $29,711 in 1998, above the average
for all other industries in North Dakota.
"Unfortunately, our state's manufacturing industry has been underdeveloped. Solving that problem is crucial and is precisely why we are here today," Hoeven said.
UPDATE: ND DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Recent changes at the ND Department of Commerce:
ED&F; is now officially a division of the new combined ND Department of Commerce, along with the Division of Community Services, Tourism and Workforce Development.
Lee Peterson, former ED&F; director, has been named commissioner of the Department of Commerce.
Linda Butts, former deputy director of ED&F;, has been named ED&F; division director.
ED&F; and Workforce Development staff moved into new offices at 400 E. Broadway Ave., Suite 50, effective Aug. 1. All phone numbers and email addresses remain the same.
The ND Division of Community Services plans to move to the same address by Sept. 1, and the Tourism Division is shooting for Oct. 1.
The entire Department of Commerce will move into the Worker's Compensation building on Century Avenue when it's completed in two years.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
"North Dakota people have the skills to develop, apply, and maintain the technology required to be successful in today's economy." Dennis Johnson, CEO TMI, Dickinson)
"To provide strategic direction and quality products and services that stimulate and support local economic growth and diversity."
ED&F; STAFF LISTING
- Lee Peterson, Department of Commerce Commissioner 328.5300
- Linda Butts, ED&F; Director 328.5342
- Sheila Auch, Administrative Assistant 328.5310
- Celeste Engelhard, Account/Budget Specialist 328.5306
- Chuck Fine, Senior Project Manager 328.5331
- Cory Finneman, Research Vice President 328.5328
- Cornelius Grant, Rural Development Council Director 328.5313
- Bob Gruman, ND Development Fund Consultant 328.5308
- Jim Hirsch, Workforce Development Director 328.5345
- Tara Holt, Women's Business Program Director 328.5885
- Leigh Ann Huether, Research Analyst 328.5336
- Tracy Metzger, Marketing Vice President 328.5352
- Nancy Miller, Administrative Assistant 328.5312
- Sandy Opp, Project Manager 328.5338
- Kelly Potts, ND Development Fund Credit Officer 328.5349
- Dean Reese, ND Development Fund/Rural Fund CEO 328.5334
- Brad Rosenfeldt, Computer Network Specialist 328.5362
- Inez Ryberg, APUC Administrative Assistant 328.5318
- Randy Schwartz, Manufacturing Extension Partnership Director 328.5314
- LaVonne Stair, Office Manager 328.5317
- Mike Strotheide, Business Development Vice President 328.5322
- Laura Willard, Project Manager 328.5337
ED&F;: A BIOGRAPHICAL VIEW
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