The City of Williston is celebrating Economic Development Week, showcasing all the great things that are happening in the business community.

Created by the International Economic Development Council, the goal of the week is to increase awareness for local programs that create jobs, advance career development opportunities and increase the quality of life. Williston Economic Development Director Shawn Wenko said the week is a way to advertise to the public what Economic Development does, and what value it truly bring to the community.

“We really want to point out what our efforts are and what we’re doing to help grow the economy in Williston and help have a good, vibrant quality of life in the city.” Wenko told the Williston Herald.

The week kicked off with the Economic Development open house, held Monday, May 6 at the organization’s office. The rest of the week has a full slate of activities, including the Williston API meeting on Tuesday, May 7 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Grand Williston; 1 Million Cups at the Williston State College Teton Lounge from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8; The State of the City address on Thursday, May 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Grand Williston and the Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Aafedt Residence at 1301 University Avenue in Williston.

The week caps off on Friday, May 10 with the Williston Economic Development and Small Business Development Center Awards Banquet, held at the Grand Williston from 6 to 10 p.m. The night kicks off with the social at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and awards at 8 p.m.

“It’s really a great evening of celebrating business success,” Wenko explained. “We recognize some business winners and we just have a great time. These businesses are the entities that are getting it done in Western North Dakota. They’re setting up shop, they’re showing that there’s success in the businesses here, they’re helping the economy grow and they’re helping the future of Williston grow.”

Wenko said he encourages everyone to be involved and ask questions of their local economic development office, so that residents have a better understanding of just what the office does for the community, in terms of encouraging business and working to promote the city to help create a better quality of life for its residents.

“It can be hard for people to understand what exactly the economic development office does and what sort of value it brings to the community,” Wenko said. “I always point out that according to the International Economic Development Council, there’s probably 20,000 developers out there doing what I do on a daily basis, trying to sell their community. So it’s important as a community that we do have representation as we continue to try to promote this area and grow the economy and grow the city for the future.”


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