Klaus Thiessen announces retirement

Grand Forks Region EDC President & CEO Klaus Thiessen announced to the organization’s board of directors today he will retire June 30.

Thiessen, the longest serving EDC president, has been leading the region’s economic development organization since 2003. In his tenure with the EDC, capital investment by client companies has exceeded $750 million and clients’ regional employment and average wages have grown by more than 60 percent.

Under Thiessen’s leadership, companies including Amazon.com, Bison Transportation, and Challenger Manufacturing have expanded into the region and the region has successfully retained and assisted in the growth of companies including Cirrus Aircraft, J.R. Simplot, and L.M. Wind Power, one of the state’s largest manufacturing employers.

“Being part of the Grand Forks region’s transformation following the flood of 1997 has been an honor,” Thiessen said. “There are so many opportunities for the region to continue on its growth trajectory.”

Thiessen was instrumental in the establishment of the Base Realignment Impact Committee (BRIC), which led efforts to create what is now Grand Sky, the nation’s only UAS aviation and business park.

He co-led the formation of the Valley Prosperity Partnership with the Fargo-Moorhead EDC to collaborate on economic development priorities impacting the entire Red River Valley.

EDC Board Chairperson Tammy Peterson said, “The board is indebted to Klaus, whose commitment to the Grand Forks region has had an invaluable impact on our region’s economic health. He has championed efforts to engage the University of North Dakota at all levels of economic development, recruit and retain primary sector companies, and has worked to support all facets critical to our region’s growth and long-term prosperity.”

Peterson said the board will immediately begin the process to select Thiessen’s replacement.

Thiessen came to Grand Forks from Economic Development Winnipeg where he developed strategies to improve the economy and was noted for his success in encouraging greater community participation in economic development and attracting more volunteers to achieve results.

In addition to his leadership with the Grand Forks Region EDC, Thiessen has served locally on boards of The Chamber, United Way, and the UND Engineering Advisory Board. He is a past president of the Economic Developers Association of Canada and a past director with the International Economic Development Council.