Latest news....

Hope everyone is having a great start to their summer! The newsletter this month contains numerous articles from the Vision West ND Consortium, Faces of the Consortium and other announcements.

Source: ND Tourism
Vision West ND named Community Innovation Grantee!

Vision West ND has been named a Community Innovation Grantee by the Bush Foundation. Vision West ND was awarded $199,916 for a two-year period to implement economic diversification strategies in western North Dakota by focusing on economic diversification and local business retention and expansion.

Vision West ND’s network of rural counties and Native nations hopes to adapt creative economic planning techniques for their communities. The group will promote strategic partnerships between entrepreneurs, businesses, elected officials and other community leaders. The grant initiative is centered around the concept that creating communities where people want to live is the most sustainable path to economic development, diversification and resiliency.

Thank you Dunn County (Tracey Dolezal & Daryl Dukart), Karalea Cox (Common Sense Consulting) and Deb Nelson (DLN Consulting,Inc.) for making this opportunity possible!

Federal Partner Visit

Vision West ND would like to thank the Federal Partners that attended the June Consortium Meeting.

Partners included:
USDA Rural Development (USDA-RD)
Ryan Taylor, State Director and presenter
Also in attendance: Bill Davis, Holiday, Melanie Bauer-Dukart and Alisa Dahl.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 8
Cindy Cody, Sustainability Coordinator
U.S.. Economic Development Agency
Kirk Keyser, Economic Development Representative
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Terrance Ware, Community Development HUD presented for Thomas Rounds
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Aaron Gagne, Director of Planning & Community Development and presenter
Also in attendance: Joel Manske and Guadalupe Herrara

Special thank you to Joel Manske for coordinating the visit with the Federal Partners!
Vision West ND was represented at the Economic Development Association of ND (EDND) Summer Conference, held in Bowman June 21-23. We were pleased to learn that several of Vision West ND’s priority areas are being addressed by EDND, the ND Department of Commerce and the state’s Small Business Development Centers. As we continue to work on economic diversification, succession planning, reauthorization of the Housing Incentive fund, child care capacity, the Main Street success projects, and other areas of concern to the 19 oil and gas producing counties, we will continue to seek out collaborative efforts. Vision West ND’s bronze level sponsorship of the EDND conference was made possible by a donation from the Dunn County JDA.
Use It or Lose It! Succession Planning for Information Transfer

The participants in this day-long workshop learned that it is essential to develop a succession plan for transferring knowledge from those currently in office to younger individuals moving up through the ranks or risk losing years of institutional knowledge. The workshop was designed for city, county, and other public service organizations and agencies. Participants learned how generations differ, yet have similar traits that are encouraging to work toward succession. Don Macke, director of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship in Lincoln, NE led the workshop, which was facilitated by Karalea Cox, consultant for Vision West ND. Deb Nelson and Dawn Nelson from DLN Consulting also participated in the presentations. Participants took away some specific methods to help them develop succession plans when they return to their home communities.

(Pictured above from left to right: 1 - Don Macke featured presenter from the Center for Rural Enterpneurship, 2 - Generational Panel - (Panelist: Neil Scharpe, Lyndsay Ulrickson, Vicky Steiner, Daryl Dukart, and Yana Ness) 3 - Karalea Cox facilitator and presenter)


Generational Diversity Profiles

North Dakota - Bottineau County - Divide County - Dunn County - McKenzie County - Mountrail County - Ward County - Williams County

Event made possible by:
Face of the Consortium - Minot State University

Minot State University
Member Type:
Voting Member
Neil Scharpe
Position: Project Director with NDCPD

Minot State University is a regional, public institution located in north Central North Dakota. The University has a 100-year history of providing higher education to students from across the state and around the world. Minot State offers both undergraduate and graduate courses. The university's main purpose is to help people appreciate life and learning and contribute meaningfully to the live of others.
The North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities (NDCPD) is a part of the universities core purpose. NDCPD is located within Minot State University and is a Center of Excellence. The role of NDCPD is to assist persons in North Dakota in a wide range of ways, serving citizens of all ages from the Infant Development programs to the Senior Medicare Patrol. NDCPD has a staff of nearly 100 full and part time people spread out across the state with the main office at MSU, Memorial Hall.

Tell us about you: (Professional) Neil moved to North Dakota in the spring of 1975 to pursue a degree in Special Education/Elementary Education at Minot State University. In the fall of 1978 he entered the Minot School system as a Special Education teacher where he decided to further his education and complete the master's degree at Minot State University in Special Education. After completing his education, Neil took a position with North Central Human Services Center as the Regional Development Disabilities Coordinator for two years. During this time Neil oversaw the relocation of residents from the Grafton State Development Center back into their communities. Neil went to work for a community rehabilitation program in Minot serving adults with developmental disabilities for 24 years. Neil developed contracts with the federal government through the National Industries Severely Handicapped (NISH) at both Minot and Grand Forks Air Force Bases to provide services for the bases. Services included stocking shelves at the commissary and operating the library and postal service center. The jobs provided ways for people with disabilities to earn a paycheck, usually greater than the person providing support.

For the past seven years Neil has worked at NDCPD implementing a variety of projects including a statewide effort to track hearing results of infants when they are born and get appropriate intervention as soon as possible with hearing loss. For two of the years at the center, Neil directed the Great Plains Center for Community Research and Service which lent to his involvement in Vision West ND. Currently, Neil administers the statewide Navigator project designed to educate North Dakotans about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and assist them in accessing health insurance.

Tell us about you: (Personal) Neil has been a Vikings/ Twins fan since birth being born and raised in south-central Minnesota. Neil's short term venture to college in Minot turned out to be a lifetime enjoyment with North Dakota. This is where he met his wife Jo (Miller). Neil and Jo raised four sons who still live in the Minot area and are successful in their fields. Two of his sons are married and have blessed them with a grandson and a granddaughter. The whole Scharpe family was effected by the 2011 Minot Flood when their home was filled with 10 feet of water. They have recovered from the flood and hope all water challenges are past them. Neil's philosophy is, "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...it's learning to dance in the rain." Neil has been actively involved in the outdoors from hunting and fishing to golf and watching his children play sports. Today he is taking life easier fishing at Lake Metigoshe and playing with the grandkids when he isn't fixing the old cabin/retirement home. The greatest words of encouragement come from his two-year old granddaughter, "Grandpa just do it."

Involvement with Vision West ND:
"My commitment with Vision West started when VWND was started, and i was named the Minot State University representative. I am a firm believer that in working together, we can make ND even a better place for the next generations. As a member of the Consortium I have a tendency to volunteer more than I should and maybe deliver less than I could. As we look forward to sustainability for VWND, I am firmly committed to making it successful. It was one of the best uses of federal funds that I have been a part of and sustaining the work we have started will be much more efficient than starting over years down the road." ~Neil Scharpe

Favorite moment or moments at the VWND Consortium Meeting or past meeting?
"At a recent succession planning meeting I was able to come out of the closet and declare myself as a full-fledged Baby Boomer, with all of the good and bad that goes with that label. In fact it was self-gratifying to be able to confirm that designation." ~ Neil Scharpe

Visit the Minot State University website at, www. minotstateu.edu.

North Dakota Tourism Statistics
-May 2016-

Click the photo to view the data.

Face of the Consortium -
ND Department of Commerce

Member: ND Department of Commerce
Member Type: Associate Member and Partner
Representative: John Schneider
Position: Executive Director of APUC & VWND Liaison for ND Dept. of Commerce

The North Dakota Department of Commerce is the lead agency charged with growing the state and improving the quality of life for all people in North Dakota. The four divisions of the North Dakota Department of Commerce- Tourism, Economic Development, Workforce Development and Community Services - along with the relocation effort - ExperienceND - currently provide nearly 50 programs and services to support business, workforce and community development in partnership with local leaders.

Tell us about you: (Professional) John started his professional career as a consultant in Minneapolis, Minnesota assisting companies with human resource related issues. He moved back to North Dakota in 1993 and took a job with the Harvey Area Economic Development Corp as the Executive Director.
John currently is the Executive Director for the Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) a position that he has held for the last 15 years. APUC is a grant program for value-added agricultural products and by products in North Dakota. In his role he also serves as the program manager for the Partners in Marketing Program. The program provides grants to Economic Development organizations to recruit primary sector industry to their area. John serves as a liaison for the Department of Commerce on several committees including Vision West ND.

Tell us about you: (Personal) John, the youngest of seven children was raised in Knox, ND just 15 miles east of Ruby. John has had a passion for agriculture and the outdoors from a young age when his family had a diverse farming and ranching operation. John is an alumni of North Dakota State University and holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics. After spending time in Minneapolis, John missed small town North Dakota. Today, he resides south of Lincoln, ND. John's love of the outdoors takes him traveling, hunting, fishing and working in his yard in his free time.

Involvement with Vision West ND:

"I was asked by my boss to attend a Vision West meeting and take notes. From that first night I knew that this was a worthy project and I wanted to help anyway I could. I went back and told my boss I wanted to continue to be involved and the rest is history. I have attended most of the county planning meetings and consortium meetings and have been involved since the beginning." - John

Favorite moment at the VWND Consortium Meetings?
"I would have to say my favorite moments were when we did the initial planning meetings in each county. I learned so much from the people of Western ND and developed a deep respect for each and every one one of them. But to be honest, my favorite moment was after the Medora meeting, when a local resident came up to me and asked if I was from out west (I think it was because I was wearing a cowboy hat). I said no. He looked at me for a second or two and said well you’re one of us now, so you have no choice but to help us! I never forgot that and I guess I do feel like I’m one of you, if only in spirit" ~John

Visit the ND Department of Commerce website at, https://www.commerce.nd.gov/.

Like Vision West ND on Facebook & Twitter!
June 12, 2016 - VWND Consortium Meeting - Conference Call
August 2016 - VWND Consortium Meeting - Conference Call
September 2016 - VWND Consortium Meeting - Face-to-Face
For more information on announcements visit the VWND website.
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