Governor’s Choice Award recipients recognized for their exceptional economic development

The Economic Developer of the Year award is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution that will have a lasting impact on the economic health of their community or region.

The 2021 recipient in the Rural Community Division is Danielle Mickelson with Rolla Jobs Development Authority. Mickelson’s successful projects include organizing the establishment of Main Street business and park incubators and supporting local food initiatives throughout North Dakota.

The 2021 recipient of the Urban Community Division is Brandon Baumbach, who has worked with the Grand Forks Area EDC since 2016 and is now Director of Business Development. Some of his successful projects include the recruitment of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for mobile reconnaissance systems, the Core Scientific data processing facility, and the Red River Biorefinery.

The Project of the Year award recognizes a project that has made a significant contribution to the economic health of the community or region in terms of job creation, partnerships and overall economic impact.

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The 2021 recipient of the Urban Community Division is Grand Forks Area EDC and Minnkota Power Cooperative for their collaboration to bring Core Scientific’s $ 114 million cryptocurrency mining and data processing facility to Grand Forks.

The 2021 recipient in the Rural Community Division is the Traill County Economic Development Commission for its work in bringing natural gas to its community. Residents and businesses will see cost savings immediately. The county expects to broaden its tax base and, more importantly, Traill County will be on a level playing field in attracting large businesses to the area.

The Community Development Award rewards a development project that has improved the quality of life in a community.

This prize is awarded to two communities: Adams County Development Corp. for the creation of The Rural Collective, and the City of West Fargo and EPIC Companies for their collaboration on Essentia Health Plaza at the Lights.

After a survey of Hettinger residents found the community in need of an educational learning center, the Hettinger Chamber of Commerce and Adams County Development Corp. bought a dilapidated and open building The Rural Collective, a collaborative work and workforce center in Hettinger. West Fargo and EPIC Companies have collaborated to create Essentia Health Plaza at the Lights, a downtown mixed-use area that supports retail, office, leisure, entertainment and housing.

A new award, the Program or Promotion of the Year Award, was presented to an economic development organization or entity that has helped facilitate an outstanding economic development program or promotion.

The 2021 recipient was McKenzie County JDA for its housing development program. An insufficient supply of affordable and quality housing has been identified as one of the main obstacles to the continued economic development of McKenzie County. Since the first home closed in December 2019, 26 quality single-family homes have received $ 1.2 million in grants.

The Governor’s Choice Economic Development Awards are presented annually through a collaboration between the North Dakota Governor’s Office, the North Dakota Department of Commerce and EDND.


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