A land of opportunity
By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer
Changes in the economy have led many people to relocate in search of work, and the heavy oil activity in the McKenzie County has made this area a popular place for individuals and families looking for a better opportunity.
Derek Kysar, of Yacolt, Wash. always thought his boys would get into the family business of cabinet making. But then the economy changed, taking the opportunity he thought his boys would have with it.
“The recession changed everything,” says Kysar. “The opportunity that I had in the cabinet business and the opportunity that I thought my boys would have isn’t the same since the recession. That’s why we started looking for other opportunities. Opportunities that we found here in McKenzie County.”
Kysar and his two sons, Owen and Jackson along with his son-in-law Keith Massie and nephew Wayne Koistinen make up Westwood Enterprises Inc., one of Watford City’s newest construction companies.
“We are building houses, cabins, garages, shops and even doing remodels, adds Koistinen. “So far, everything has been falling in place for us which has allowed things to move really quickly.”
Koistinen moved to Watford City from Watertown, S.D. last summer to work for a construction company and then started his own construction business.
“I built some cabins east of town that I was renting out,” adds Koistinen. “When I sold my business to Westwood Enterprises Inc., I was building cabins for North Country Cabins, LLC. and in the process of remodeling Larry and Carla Sorenson’s home and Westwood Enterprises Inc. took those projects over and I went to work for my uncle managing Westwood’s home building division.”
Like Koistinen, Owen and Jackson each manage part of Westwood Enterprises Inc. Owen manages the cabins and Jackson runs Jack’s Store, formerly R&L Oil, in Alexander.
“Westwood Enterprises Inc. is owned by Owen, Jackson, Keith and I,” adds Kysar. “Both of the boys and Wayne have decided to make Watford City their home and I will be spending a good amount of time here.”
Kysar and his son’s have only been working in the area for one month, but through lots of planning and determination, they have been able to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.
“Westwood has 60 lots in various places available for building homes and we’ve already broke ground on three of the lots,” adds Koistinen. “We are in the process of building 20 cabins and Jack’s Store is being remodeled with many new things coming soon. We also have a rock pit that we will be leasing out for crushing. Things have really been working well and we’ve been able to accomplish a lot.”
When he set out looking for an opportunity, it seems that Kysar made a good choice when he picked McKenzie County.