Outsourcing Main Topic at Economic Conference

The Economic Development Association of North Dakota came to Williston to host its 2012 Summer Conference ‘Thinking Outside the Bakken,’ Tuesday June 19-20 at the Airport International Inn.

The conference has brought in a variety of people from all over the state of North Dakota to learn about the unique opportunities in the Bakken.

“This conference is unique in the fact that we’re in an area, that without a doubt has the greatest activity in North Dakota right now, and it has been for many years,” said John Phillips, chairman of the Economic Development Association of North Dakota.

The conference started with a welcome by Williston’s Mayor Ward Koeser. Conference attendees were then treated to a tour of the Bakken area, with lunch at Target Logistics Man Camp.

“The tour was to make people aware of what’s happening in the area,” Phillips said.

Tuesday afternoon’s conference focused on Bakken outsourcing opportunities. Many knowledgeable outsourced businesses presented their stories of success to attendees. Dick Edgar from Wells Concrete in Grand Forks said the oil and gas has changed everything.

“Who would have believed,” Edgar said.

He said the prospect for businesses in Williston abound.

“When I first got here, I saw and smelled money everywhere,” Edgar said.

Wells Concrete manufactures precast concrete, Edgar said.

“Built in Grand Forks, shipped to the job site, assembled quick,” Edgar said. He said the way of doing things here in the Williston community is rapidly deteriorating. “We need to change our way of thinking on everything, pricing isn’t everything,” Edgar said.

The opportunities in Williston and North Dakota abound for any business that might be looking, Edgar said.

“We talk about the oil in North Dakota, it’s more than that,” Edgar said. He said companies just have to be patient and work to get the clientele they need. “You just got to keep bouncing around out here until you get in,” Edgar said.

The aim of the conference is to capture the attention of businesses seeking to get into Williston and North Dakota, Phillips said. “We know right now, that there are some opportunities from the service side and industry companies in this area, that have needs that are not being met within 100 miles of this area,” Phillips said.
The event started up today at 8:30 with breakfast and a presentation by Al Anderson, commissioner for the North Dakota Department of Commerce. Kathy Neset and Jasper Schneider presented a panel on planning for North Dakota’s Future. Jolene Kline, from the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency spoke on North Dakota’s Housing Incentive Fund.

Other panels of interest for today included a presentation on labor availability study alternatives, a financing for the future panel, and a presentation by Rick Harrison from Neighborhood Innovations, LLC, who presented on Building a Greater North Dakota.

“The question at the forefront of everyone’s mind is, ‘How do we move these communities forward? How do we make these communities more sustainable?” Phillips said.
He said businesses need to come to North Dakota for all the opportunities it holds.

“The whole focus of this conference, is how do we outsource from the Bakken,” Phillips said.

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