As Director of Economic Development, it's Shawn Wenko's job to sell potential developers and business owners on the benefits of setting up shop in Williston. Now, he's found a new way to connect those individuals with the people who have taken the leap and are getting the job done.
The Williston Works Podcast is a new venture from the Economic Development office, a venture Wenko says was designed to let those who are looking for a future in Williston hear from the people who have already found success in Western North Dakota.
"When I deal with developers, investors and things like that, it's great that I can sit here as Economic Development and sell them the community," he explained. "But at the end of the day, they kind of look at me like 'That's what your job is supposed to be,' so I've found success in saying 'I'm going to connect you with real people that are getting it done, and if you've got questions, you can talk to these people."
Wenko says he owes credit to those who work with him in the Economic Development office for encouraging him to create the podcast series to highlight projects that have gotten done in the area. The first season of the series has touched on projects such as work at the Williston Basin International Airport, Leadership Williston projects, and new businesses that have opened or in the midst of construction, such as Chatter Pediatric and Safari Fun Trampoline Park.
The first season of the podcast consists of six episodes, each running about 10 minutes in length. Along with the audio, each episode is filmed and available on YouTube, which Wenko said he felt was important in allowing people to put a face to the names of those who are making positive changes in the community.
"That's the biggest thing with Economic Development, it's all about making connections," he said. "That's really what these podcasts are designed to do. It's supposed to put a face to some of the development that's out there, a face to the people that are actually in Williston that are getting it done, and it's the hope that this will spur some of the developers and entrepreneurs who are looking at Williston to make that final decision to either move to Williston, or take that leap and start that project that they've been thinking about."
Wenko says the response from the podcast has been overwhelmingly positive, with the videos receiving hundreds of views each.
With the response his office has gotten, Wenko said plans are in the works for a second season of the podcast, but that it is only in the planning stages at this time. The Williston Works Podcast is available online at places like iTunes, Google Play and Anchor, as well on YouTube or at www.facebook.com/WillistonEconomicDevelopment.