The Williston Economic Development Office has been recognized for excellence by an international organization.
The city’s Economic Development office has earned accreditation from the International Economic Development Council, and becomes one of 62 economic development organizations to be given the accolade and be recognized as an Accredited Economic Development Organization. Executive Director Shawn Wenko said Williston's Economic Development office is the first in the state to receive an accreditation from the council.
"IEDC is kind of the gold standard for economic developers across the nation and the globe," he said. "It's a place to go for resources and understanding best practices of economic development, and really creates a good mentorship with peers in the economic development community."
The council is the largest membership association that serves economic and community development professionals in the world. The organization provides information, professional development and advocacy resources to more than 5,000 members across the globe. Earning accreditation is not an easy process. Wenko said his office began back in late May.
The program is quite comprehensive and involves a two-phase peer review process to determine an organization's eligibility. The phases are a documentation review and a site visit.
Wenko said the development office is compared to organizations in similar communities, and that the review team ensures that the organization is following the best practices in terms of development for their city.
"It can vary from city to city, as far as when we talk about economic development and the efforts that people are trying to do to attract development to their community," he explained. "But for us, a big focus is quality of life as well as trying to bring in some of the opportunities that people want to see in this community in terms of restaurant, retail and activities."
Maintenance of an organization's accreditation is required every three years, and is done through documentation submission or by onsite visits by a team from the accreditation subcommittee. Wenko said earning this accreditation is an honor not only for his office, but for the city of Williston as a whole.
"I am thrilled that the Williston Economic Development office has been approved to join an elite group such as AEDO," he said. "Not only should Williston Economic Development be proud, it's also a testament to the city of Williston leadership and the community overall that they support our economic development efforts."