April 20, 2021
The Red River Regional Council staff has recently added two new staff to its team, Jacob Schmuck and Jake Wiensch. Both staff have been initially tasked with completing more than 100 one-on-one business interviews in the region to learn more about the COVID-19 impacts, challenges, and opportunities as well as ideas for the future as part of a regional recovery/resiliency planning initiative.
Jacob Schmuck is a Grafton native and is excited to grow the regional community he calls home. Jacob received a Bachelor of Business and Public Administration degree in Marketing from the University of North Dakota. He previously served as a Search Engine Manager for Digi-Key’s European accounts. Jacob and his wife Joelle have two young boys and he loves spending family time with them outdoors. He also really enjoys movies, so it would be inadvisable to challenge him to cinematic trivia.
Jake Wiensch earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics with a minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from the University of Wisconsin – Stout. He has previous economic/community development experience working at Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Here he analyzed and worked to improve the standard of living and business conditions in his geographic area. Jake is originally from Cadott, Wisconsin where he grew up on a small hobby farm. Jake loves the outdoors and adventure, he enjoys traveling, hiking, and biking.
To reach Jacob or Jake, please find their contact information on our staff page: https://www.redriverrc.com/staff/
April 5, 2021
The past year has been full of unprecedented impacts due to COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses have had to adjust their business models to continue to remain operational, dealt with mandatory closures, and fluctuating staff demands. While there has been disaster aid to address financial impacts, businesses have had ever-changing environments.
To express appreciation for enduring these conditions as well as to learn about how economic development programs may be able to assist in a proactive manner, the Regional Council and regional development partners such as job development authorities, city economic development committees, Chambers of Commerce have launched a one-on-one interview program entitled the business retention and expansion program.
“With disaster assistance provided by one of our key federal partners, we have been able to increase staff to develop an economic recovery/resiliency plan,” said Dawn Mandt, Executive Director. “Our first step is to learn first-hand specific business challenges, opportunities, and discuss ideas.”
An estimated 40-80% of new economic growth comes from existing businesses - businesses that have already invested substantial resources into the community.
There are two tiers of businesses to be interviewed. Tier 1 includes manufacturing and food processing companies. Seventeen Tier 1 interviews have been completed in Walsh and Pembina Counties. Tier 2 includes businesses that have been heavily impacted by COVID including healthcare, food services, retail, services, and hospitality and 18 interviews have been conducted in Grafton over the past couple weeks with a goal of approximately 30 as a sample size. The interviews will be held confidential while the data will be aggregated to identify possible trends within communities, counties, or region.
For more information contact Dawn Mandt at 701-352-3550. Please reach out if you would like to be included on the survey list or an online survey link can be found at www.redriverrc.com.
Region 4 includes Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina, and Walsh Counties. The program will focus on the areas of the region outside the City of Grand Forks at this time.
Collaborative partners include economic development organizations in Region 4 including: Nelson, Pembina, and Walsh County Job Development Authorities; Grafton and Park River Economic Development Committees; Grand Forks Region EDC; Minnkota Power Cooperative; Job Service North Dakota; Grafton and Cavalier Chambers of Commerce; and North Valley Career and Technology Center.
The online survey can be accessed here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YR2GML7