October 22, 2015
Making big plans is Gary Greff’s modus operandi – the way he operates. Greff, who retired from teaching and returned to his hometown of Regent, ND, is now gaining notoriety for his artistry on display along ND’s Enchanted Highway and his success in dreaming big and making those dreams a reality.
Greff, along with other western North Dakota leaders, will share his bold vision for successful community and economic development with an audience of local leaders at the Ideas to Actions Summit, hosted by the Red River Regional Council, to be held November 4th at the new Grafton Public School Performing Arts Center in Grafton, ND.
With dreams as big as the sculptures he creates, Greff, owner and creator of the Enchanted Highway sculptures and the Enchanted Castle hotel and restaurant in Regent, is continuing to implement his bold vision to draw visitors and economic activity back to his town. He is now working to implement plans for a new sculpture – an enormous spider web – which will join seven existing sculptures along the Highway.
According to a fundraising campaign website he is using to raise funds for his next sculpture, Greff indicates his newest work of art conveys a symbolic message about bridging the east/west divide in North Dakota through partnerships and leadership.
“This next sculpture is a symbol of connection in the North Dakota prairie, a spider web,” Greff says. “A web connects all parts into one cohesive unit, and similarly this web will act as a symbol that connects all of North Dakota. North Dakota can often be lumped into two separate regions, western and eastern.
Although the state is sometimes categorized in this fashion it is important to realize North Dakota gains its identity and culture from both areas working as one.”
The event will feature Greff, along with Mayor Brent Sanford, Watford City; Lyn James, Bowman City Commission President; Mayor Dan Stenvold, City of Park River; Linda Svihovec, McKenzie County Auditor; Amie Vasichek, City of Lakota Auditor; and Gene Veeder, McKenzie County Job Development Authority.
According to Al Anderson, Commissioner at the ND Department of Commerce, much can be learned from community leaders serving in the oil boom counties. “Great communities like Grafton have strong leadership and their willingness to continue to learn from other great local leaders who have faced significant challenges recently can only aid in their efforts to further grow their community.”
The event is designed to focus on how to make the most by capitalizing on community spirit, teamwork, partnerships, and can-do attitudes.
“It is exciting to work on a daily basis with Walsh County entrepreneurs who are visionary, innovative and willing to take the risk to move their ideas into projects and businesses.” Julie Campbell, Executive Director of the Walsh County Job Development Authority said. “This is often not an easy process and typically is only accomplished through partnerships that include the entrepreneur, local financial institutions, city, county, regional, state and federal entities joining together to find solutions.”
The overall purpose of the Ideas to Actions Summit is to provide an opportunity to inform the public of the goals and activities of the Council, to create excitement about the potential of our region’s communities, and to recognize the excellent work of the region’s communities. The agenda includes a 4:00 pm roundtable discussion with western and northeastern ND leaders, moderated by Bruce Gjovig of the UND Center for Innovation, followed by a 5:30 pm networking social with music by Sneaky Wild Oats. The keynote event will begin at 6:30 pm and will include the awards presentation. All events will be held at the Performing Arts Center at the Grafton Public School complex and are free and open to the public.