MADC’s Annual Meeting: 2020 Vision Going Forward

Posted: Feb 28 2020
“What truly makes Minot magical is all the collective hard work in this room. You have a variety of civic leaders, variety ofJohn MacMartin, James Leiman, Brekka Kramer, Randy Hauck professional economic development folks, legislators, administrators, private business owners, concerned citizens- you name it. As a result, this group puts their heads together and is able to achieve amazing things on behalf of this community,” opened keynote speaker James Leiman, Director of the Economic Development and Finance Division for the North Dakota Department of Commerce. The Minot Area Development Corporation (MADC) was thrilled to host Leiman as this year’s featured speaker for the MADC 2019 annual meeting, which took place on Feb. 25 at the Sleep Inn & Suites.

Leiman covered key components of North Dakota’s economic development, including the state’s recent activities and Minot’s current position for economic growth. At the state level, North Dakota has doubled its primary sector applications, meaning twice as many companies have been recruited or expanded, an astounding accomplishment that starts at a local level.  With primary sector being MADC’s direct focus, Leiman emphasized the importance of continuing growth and development within those industries; agriculture, energy, UAS, and distribution.

The ND Department of Commerce is currently collaborating with the private industry to pursue value-added energy strategies. “We have a lot of gas we are flaring and we are losing value every time we flare that gas, why not create a solution to reduce flaring and utilize that as feedstock to product something of value and create long-term sustainability,” explained Leiman. Minot is uniquely positioned for the energy industry, especially for secondary and tertiary opportunities that will follow. The state is also working diligently in lithium and other value-added spaces within the energy industry, as well as renewables to maximize capacity. The ND Department of Commerce has about $2 billion worth of projects that are underway in the agriculture industry. The state is actively exploring new markets, expanding existing markets, and has had tremendous growth in ag tech development (with an exciting announcement coming the week of March 2). In addition to energy and agriculture, North Dakota’s UAS industry continues to thrive. The state has seen a 1,400 percent increase in deal flow pipelines since legislature appropriated visual line of site. Unique contracts have been secured, such as working with NASA and the Department of Defense. Leiman covered additional special projects and economic development goals for 2020/2021.

Randy Hauck, Stephanie Hoffart, John MacMartinMADC’s annual meeting introduced the 2020 Chairman Randy Hauck, General Manager at Verendrye Electric Cooperative. Chairman Hauck shared insights on MADC’s involvement in the intermodal port, updates on the Industrial Park of Minot, and the exploration of a merger between MADC and the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce. The development of the intermodal port has been ongoing for many years and 2020 looks very promising, MADC hopes to have a third party logistics company in place by late summer/early fall. The MADC Industrial Park of Minot, a $10 million asset for the city, was fortunate to secure the CRISI (Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements) Grant. This means MADC will work diligently in 2020 with partnering organizations to utilize the CRISI Grant for further engineering and environmental work to continue the development of the industrial park.

With a change in leadership in fall of 2019 as former President/CEO Stephanie Hoffart transitioned away from MADC, the MADC board started looking at options moving forward. Over the last couple several months, MADC and the Chamber have had discussions on collaborating efforts and merging together, with both boards agreeing to pursue this endeavor.  A joint organization will utilize member resources together, offer more services such as workforce development, address business concerns with one voice, and other benefits.

As MADC’s annual meeting concluded, Chairman Hauck commended former President/CEO Stephanie Hoffart for her 10 year dedication to MADC, which received a standing ovation from the Minot business community. Chairman Hauck also thanked MADC’s 2019 Chairman Brekka Kramer, Vice President and Minot General Manager for Odney Advertising, who has put in countless hours to help MADC have a smooth transition and success with its efforts for the intermodal port. MADC’s interim President/CEO John MacMartin thanked Jim Rostad, President of Minot Public School Board, who has stepped down from MADC’s board. Chairman Hauck closed MADC’s annual event, “It’s certainly an honor and a privilege to serve as MADC Chairman, but I’m going to stress that MADC is only as good as its members, you all as members of the MADC bring strength to the corporation and without you we wouldn’t exist. Thank you for being members of MADC.”