BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum presented the Governor’s Choice Economic Development Awards on Oct. 6 during the Main Street Summit, in partnership with the Economic Development Association of North Dakota (EDND).
The Economic Developer of the Year award is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution that will leave a lasting impact on the economic health of his or her community or region. The award is presented in both urban community and rural community divisions.
The 2020 recipient in the urban community division is Shawn Wenko with Williston Economic Development. Wenko has been with the Williston Economic Development Office since 2008, initially starting as the workforce development coordinator and assistant director before being promoted to executive director in 2014. During his time with Williston Economic Development, Wenko’s successful projects include providing startup manufacturing costs for Flowcore Systems, a chemical injection and water treatment automation solutions company; securing capital for Wellspring Hydro, a state-of-the-art chlor-alkali facility; and securing capital for Yellowstone River Beef, a meat processing plant.
The recipient of the award in the rural community division is KayCee Lindsey, who has served as the Divide County Job Development Authority director since 2010. Lindsey’s successful projects include a 12-unit Housing Incentive Fund project, the $1.3 million expansion of the Crosby Kids Daycare Center, and securing funding for Divide County’s only Primary Sector business: In the Potter’s Hand, a specialty skin care product manufacturer.
"We are proud to recognize the work of the Economic Developer of the Year award recipients," said Jennifer Greuel, EDND executive director. "Both Shawn Wenko and KayCee Lindsey have dedicated themselves to building vibrant communities with strong economies, which will benefit the entire state of North Dakota for years to come."
Three finalists in each category were also recognized at the ceremony for their outstanding achievement in economic development. The other finalists for the urban community division were Brad Barth, Devils Lake, and Ryan Jilek, Stark Development Corporation. The other finalists for the rural community division were Dennis Lindahl, Tioga Area Economic Development, and Paul Gunderson, City of Harvey.
The Governor’s Choice Economic Development Awards are given out annually through a collaboration between the North Dakota Governor’s Office, the North Dakota Department of Commerce and EDND.
EDND represents 80 state economic development organizations and businesses on the front line of economic development efforts throughout North Dakota. The primary purpose of the organization is to promote the creation of new wealth throughout North Dakota to develop more vibrant communities and improve quality of life. Additional information is available at www.ednd.org.