ND Small Business Development Centers

Powering the creation, growth, and success of small business in North Dakota.

December 2020

Season’s Greetings from the North Dakota Small Business Development Network (ND SBDC, ND PTAC, and VBOC of the Dakotas)!

As we look back on 2020 we have to acknowledge that it has been an extraordinary, and at times, difficult year for many of our partners and clients, but we hope you are finding joy this holiday season and that you are able to connect and spend time with loved ones – whether in person, through a phone call, or over Zoom (like me!).

For December’s stakeholder update we are highlighting our wonderful State Advisory Board.  The Board is comprised of nine members and one ex-officio member. Each member lives and works in one of the eight state planning regions. The ninth member is the Board President of the Economic Development Association of North Dakota. This structure ensures that North Dakota businesses are accurately and fairly represented. Additionally, these board members include a balance of three small business owners, three lenders, and three economic development professionals in order to represent multiple sides of business. The ex-officio member is our ND SBA District Director, Al Haut.

The role of the board is to advise, counsel, and confer with our network leadership and staff. The board is integral to helping us keep a finger on the pulse of North Dakota’s small businesses as we work to serve their growing and shifting business needs.

Meet our 2020 Advisory Board Members

Ray Berry
Small Business Owner
Ray Berry is co-founder and CEO of OmniByte Technology in Fargo. He is a life-long ND resident and combines over 28 years of experience in the fields of engineering and technology with a passion to accomplish the OmniByte mission: “Improve the work lives and safety of field service personnel through technology.” The ND SBDC has been a valuable partner of OmniByte since its beginning in 2015 and Ray is a big supporter of our program.

Kevin Davidson
Kevin is currently the Lake Region Market VP for First Community Credit Union in Devils Lake. In this role, he assists with FCCU strategies, structure, and planning processes, while advocating for the SBDC in his role on our State Advisory Board. Kevin feels fortunate to have great staff, stakeholders, clients, lenders, and partners across the state that make the SBDC a key player in economic development and small business success.

Rachael Eider
Small Business Owner
Rachael is the owner of RH Standard in Grand Forks. She opened her business seven years ago with the goal of bringing quality service and luxurious goods to her customers. She is an advocate for fellow small businesses and the downtown community. Rachael is happy to bring that greater sense of community and her visionary outlook to the ND SBDC Advisory Board and has seen the difference this program can make for a small business, first-hand.

Missy Feist-Erickson
Missy is the Vice President of Peoples State Bank of Velva, a locally owned community bank with offices in Velva and Minot. She is also treasurer of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Governor-appointed board, Commission on Status of Women. Missy believes that small business is big business! Through the partnership with her local SBDC and her bank customers, she has seen first-hand the key role the ND SBDC plays in the success of small businesses of all kinds.

Cherie Harms
Small Business Owner
Cherie is President/CEO of Leonardite Products in Williston, a mining and processing facility serving the agriculture, foundry, and oil industries. In addition to serving on the ND District Export Council and Western Regional Development Economic Boards, Harms is a founder and Secretary/Treasurer of the Humic Products Trade Association. She has personally used the ND SBDC and is happy to promote and support the program.

Kelvin Hullet
Economic Development
Kelvin brings a wealth of public relations, economic development, and government affairs experience to his role as Bank of North Dakota’s Economic Development and Government Program Market Manager. “Small Business Development Centers play an important role in entrepreneurship and business expansion in our state,” shares Hullet. “It is an honor to be asked to serve on the Board and be a part of this important mission.”

Ryan Jilek
Economic Development
Ryan is a graduate of NDSU with an Electrical Engineering degree. After 22 years as a small business owner and SBDC client, he took a role in economic development as the Executive VP of Stark Development Corporation. In this role, Ryan has been active with workforce and business recruitment and expansion, as well as strengthening an environment that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. The services provided by the ND SBDC are vital tools to support this effort.

Connie Ova
Economic Development
Connie is the Chief Executive Officer of the Jamestown Stutsman Development Corporation, a position she has held since 2003. She has been instrumental in developing partnerships among many community entities. She says, “ND SBDC support for this local community and region is invaluable. They provide a much-needed service to new entrepreneurs as well as to existing business owners who want to enhance their opportunities for growth.”

Shawn Wenko
Economic Development – EDND Board President
Shawn has been the Executive Director of the Williston Economic Development office since 2014. He holds a master’s degree from George Washington University and graduated from the economic development institute at the University of Oklahoma. The success of Shawn’s clients is attributed to the time they have spent with the regional ND SBDC office. SBDC provides entrepreneurs with the knowledge, planning, and tools needed to ensure their business is successful.

We would like to take this moment to say a big THANK YOU to our Advisory Board members who are concluding their terms on the board this year: Cherie Harms, Rachael Eider, and Kevin Davidson. They have been valuable and longstanding members of our advisory board and we appreciate their time, knowledge, and input over the years. We will have 3 new Advisory Board members to introduce to you in the new year!

We couldn’t be more thankful for our Advisory Board. Their advocacy, experience, and hard work make them great partners and assets for the network as we work together. When small businesses thrive, communities thrive… North Dakota thrives.

We wish you all a healthy and happy holiday season – from all of us!

Thank you,
Tiffany Ford, State Director
And all the Staff of the ND Small Business Development Network



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