Top 10 – December AND 2016

  1. Cirrus Aircraft celebrated a milestone in December, delivering its first Vision Jet. We heard from its owner (the jet is his 11th Cirrus aircraft) who praised the quality of company and employees he entrusts with his family’s safety. Cirrus Aircraft manufactures composite and carbon fiber components¬†in Grand Forks for its fleet of general aviation aircraft.
  2. In October, The 701 co-working space announced its Downtown location and plans to open. The EDC board of directors was the first to step up and lend support to help this entrepreneurial asset launch in Grand Forks and we look forward to a monumental 2017 for The 701 and Evolve Grand Forks.
  3. Drone Biz luncheons launched in July, providing an opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to engage with the region’s burgeoning unmanned systems industry. On the 2nd Thursday of each month, 40-50 people meet and hear about all things drones Want to stay updated on lunch announcements? Tell Brandon to sign you up!
  4. The EDC’s emphasis on workforce development began in 2016 (and will continue in earnest in 2017), as we spearheaded efforts to address housing and daycare needs as well as work with an advisory group of human resources executives to identify ways we can support their recruitment and retention needs.
  5. Our region’s commitment to our military partners was recognized when Grand Forks was recognized in June as as one of the Top 10 Best Defense Communities in the United States. As a partner in the region’s Base Realignment Impact Committee (BRIC) the EDC continues to be part of leveraging our Base assets as a way to strengthen our region.
  6. And speaking of the Base, in November BRIC members Tom Falck and Bill Lee met with leaders at Scott Air Force Base and the headquarters of the Air Mobility Command, which was an opportunity to reinforce the importance of GFAFB to our nation’s defense program.
  7. The integration of medum-size unmanned systems into the airspace reached new, historic heights as the EDC’s Director of UAS Sector Development, Terry Sando, coordinated Elbit Systems of America’s entrance into the region with its Hermes 450, which is demonstrating its enhanced abilities in precision ag and transmission line mapping.
  8. The EDC supported two agri-business companies in 2016 that completed purchases and permitting requirements for land in north Grand Forks. North American Green Pulp’s straw pulp plant and Biomass Solution’s ethanol plant will further expand the region’s agri-business sector. Ground breakings are anticipated in 2017.
  9. Hal Gershman received the 2016 EDC Impact Award at our annual meeting. We’re looking forward to recognizing a 2017 honoree at our next annual meeting on March 30, which will include a keynote address from a former interim UND president, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and North Dakota governor. You guessed it. Mr. Ed Schafer.
  10. 2016 ended with another in a long line of firsts for the region’s UAS industry: approval for the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to conduct beyond-line-of-sight flight operations at Grand Sky, making this the first place in the nation where this is allowed.