January 13, 2010

Looking forward to a good year

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

For the Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce and the Watford City Economic Development Corporation, 2009 was a prosperous year with both groups’ new presidents looking forward to an even better year in 2010.
With several new faces on the board, the Chamber spent the year reviewing all of its past events with new eyes. Some events were changed, some ended and others stayed the same making for a great year.
“It was a fantastic year to be the Chamber president,” says Brenda Berquist, Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce 2009 president. “Looking at all of the events with a new perspective made for a very busy yet productive year.”
Incoming president Debbie Larsen was part of the 2009 board and she intends to continue its focus on the members so they can continue to get the most bang for their membership buck.
“I’m very excited to begin my term as the Chamber president,” adds Larsen. “Each decision we make this year will be evaluated as to whether it’s an appropriate and wise expense of time and money.”
One new project for 2010 will address the need to find the best way for welcoming new members to the community.
“We know those new to town have lots of questions about day-to-day services and lots of interest in our many activities,” states Larsen. “So watch for our ‘Welcome to Watford City’ events coming soon.”
Larsen says the board will keep and expand on its most successful events with plans of adding a new event in the fall and continuing with the new Christmas events.
“The Watford City area is fortunate to not be experiencing the economic downturn so much of the country is,” comments Larsen. “Because of that, the Chamber’s focus will continue to be that this area is ‘Open for Business!’”
As the area continues to grow through new and expanding businesses the Chamber isn’t the only organization with great expectations for 2010. The Watford City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), an organization responsible for adding jobs and people to the community, also had a great year in 2009 with the new president ready to hit 2010 head-on.
“It’s been a fantastic year for the EDC,” says Eric Mogen, 2009 EDC president. “That being said, all things are pointing towards another good year in 2010. I think this will be a great year for both McKenzie County and the state of North Dakota.”
Incoming president Dan Kelly feels that while the EDC was successful at meeting many of its established goals in 2009, the area’s increased activity demands that the group continue to address housing and business development, so he feels that the EDC needs to reevaluate its goals for the next three years and determine what its future priorities will be.
“From my perspective, the goal of the EDC is to promote and assist in the expansion of current businesses as well as facilitate the recruitment of new business and industry,” says Kelly. “Building on the legacy of past EDC presidents and with the excellent support of Gene Veeder, I look forward to guiding the board in the establishment of priorities for the next three to five years. We will also continue to focus on expanding the housing choices within the county and looking for diversification, and given that opportunity, attempting to recruit additional businesses to the county.”
Kelly sees the outlook for 2010 as being mixed.
“Economically, McKenzie County as well as the State of North Dakota face a bountiful 2010,” says Kelly. “With that comes concern as we need to make certain that we have the infrastructure to meet the increases in activity within the county. Specifically, but not all inclusive, we need to continue to offer housing, make certain we have the appropriate businesses in place, ensure that our schools and medical facilities can accommodate the increased activity and make certain that we have building sites as well as water, sewer and roads within the appropriate areas to not only support the increase in oil and other activity, but to support the additional families that are moving into our area.”
As the economic future of our nation continues to fluctuate, both the Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce and the Watford City Economic Development Corporation look forward to a year of hard work to ensure that both entities continue giving back to the community as much as they can.