The Grand Forks Region EDC board of directors recognizes outstanding businesses and individuals making a positive impact on economic growth and prosperity in the Grand Forks region. Honorees selected at the board’s discretion and are recognized at the EDC’s annual meeting.

In 2017 the award was named in honor of Klaus Thiessen, who served as the organization’s president & CEO for 14 years.

Corporate Honoree

Primary sector businesses are recognized for significant contribution to the economic health of the Grand Forks region. Factors may include jobs creation, capital investment, partnerships, relevance to the primary sector, and overall economic impact.

Individual Honoree

This honor recognizes a person who, by his or her actions, invests time and talent to improve and/or enhance the economic growth of the region.

Picture of Klaus Thiessen
2017 Individual Honoree

Klaus Thiessen

Klaus Thiessen is EDC's the longest-serving president & CEO, serving 14 years.
“He is the type of leader everyone wants to work alongside and an inspiration to many,” said EDC Board Chair Tammy Peterson.
During Thiessen’s tenure EDC client jobs increased by more than 60 percent and clients’ capital investment exceeded $750 million. He was instrumental in the retention and expansion of several clients, including LM Wind Power and Cirrus Aircraft.
To signify the impact Klaus made in the region and the importance of his legacy the impact award has been renamed the Klaus Thiessen Impact Award..

Picture of Bill Burga Jr.
2017 Individual Honoree

Bill Burga Jr.

“His enthusiasm and passion for Grand Forks has helped us grow,” said EDC Board of Directors Chairperson Dwight Thompson said. “We have called on him many times to meet with prospective companies, where he has championed the quality of our community, the caliber of our workforce, and the value of doing business from Grand Forks.” Burga has been a senior executive with LM Wind Power, assigned in 2008 to manage the Grand Forks plant, which is the largest primary sector employer in the region and one of the state’s largest manufacturers. “It remains my finest career assignment,” Burga said. “I could talk about the value of living and working in this community all day long.” Bill Burga’s commitment to local procurement, corporate citizenship, and stewardship were factors in his selection.

Picture of PS Doors
2017 Corporate Honoree

PS Doors

PS Doors has worked with the EDC on a number of expansion projects since it first began in the mid 1970s with a few employees. Today, the company employs about 120 people and operates from more than 100,000 square feet. The company designs, engineers, and builds commercial products including flood protection barriers, safety gates, roof hatches and doors for residential and industrial clients. They have delivered products to all 50 states, nine Canadian provinces and 12 foreign countries. “We’re proud to be part of PS Doors’ success from Grand Forks,” Board Chair Dwight Thompson said.

Picture of Hal Gershman
2016 Individual Honoree

Hal Gershman

“Hal has channeled his passion for Grand Forks into an investment of time and talent that has impacted many facts important to building a community that attracts business growth,” said EDC Board Chair Dwight Thompson. “I am very optimistic about the future of Grand Forks and would like to thank everyone for giving me the opportunity over the years to participate in the well-being and growth of one of Amercia’s great small cities,” Gershman said.

Picture of Cirrus Aircraft
2015 Corporate Honoree

Cirrus Aircraft

``Cirrus Aircraft's investment and growth here positions our region for additional investment in this sector,`` said EDC Board Chair Steve Burian as he presented CEO Dale Klapmeier with a corporate Impact Award, honoring the company's commitment to and investment in Grand Forks. ``I am here literally to thank Grand Forks for our survival. We wouldn’t be here without the help of this community,” Klapmeier said.

Picture of Phil Gisi
2015 Individual Honoree

Phil Gisi

``His investment in Grand Forks is shifting downtown development and is among the reasons for renewed excitement in spurring additional growth in the heart of our region,`` said EDC Board Chair Steve Burian about 2015 honoree Phil Gisi. ``I never expected to get an award for something I love to do,`` Gisi said.

Picture of Dave Britton
2014 Individual Honoree

Dave Britton

``There are many factors that lead to economic growth,`` said EDC Board Chair Steve Burian (pictured left). ``Among them are people who are dedicated to building their businesses here, creating opportunities for employees to grow, and advocating for their communities.``