Economic Development director opens up about time in office
The success or failure of a community often lies with its ability to adapt to an ever-changing world. Every community relies on economic development. Communities that embrace economic development stand a better chance of thriving and adapting to an ever-changing environment.
By Chris Slone
Fortunately, Bowman County has continuously embraced and invested in economic development. The Bowman County Development Corporation staff and board of directors continue to work towards achieving the goals set forth in the mission, vision, and values with enthusiasm.
“I am passionate about our community and the opportunities we have to grow.” Teran Doerr, economic development director, said. “The leadership, amenities, location and regional support give Bowman County a distinct advantage.
“There’s a lot of pride in this community and a willingness to make things happen here. I love the way people support each other. When someone needs something, this community gets behind them. That’s a great feeling.”
The Bowman County Development Corporation is overseen by a 10-person board of directors that represent a cross section of the county and industries. The mission of the organization is to encourage and assist in the development and sustainability of employment, community, industry, and tourism within Bowman County.
Primarily, the organization is represented by a dynamic and diverse group of women. The office offers multiple resources including partnerships with the Small Business Development Center, Chamber, Tourism and more. The office culture demonstrates love for the community and willingness to tackle big ideas.
Doerr has been the Executive Director for almost five years, but has been with the office for nearly 10. Betty Werth works part-time for the office. A former business owner herself.
“She’s a great ambassador for local businesses.” Doerr said.
Aurora Keppler was brought in to primarily focus on tourism, but her position has developed into all areas of community promotion and marketing.
Laura Weber whose primary focus is business development, has a heart for helping businesses succeed.
“She’s someone clients trust and becomes a permanent resource for them as they start and grow their business.”
Doerr felt like having the right people in place was crucial when she first began.
“Anybody that comes into these positions has to figure out how they can best serve their own community,” Doerr said. “Every community is different. There is no good job description in this role. Everybody has to put their personal stamp on it and find their way.”
In the past five years, the BCDC has put a strong focus on promotion. The website has been updated twice to create a better experience for users and the Bowman County mobile app is another resourceful tool for information.
“It’s a great way to promote our community,” Doerr said. “Users can locate places to eat, shop, attractions to visit and more. The app not only targets visitors but all locals. They can find things to do and places to go, all in one place. We have worked very hard to stay at the cutting edge of technology with our mobile app and website.”
The Bowman County Development Corporation makes community input a priority. Topics have jumped to the forefront in various forms. Members of the community have expressed interest in seeing expanded dining options, specifically a steakhouse. Downtown has been a significant focus, including concern over maintaining the theater. Doerr said the Bowman County Development Corporation is continuing to look at options on all fronts.
According to Doerr, when most people think of economic development they envision incentives. While the BCDC offers access to incentives for new and expanding businesses, one of its primary focuses has become education. The BCDC seeks to offer business development classes throughout the year, but this last year did it on a much larger scale with the addition of the Fusion Conference. Fusion was an idea that was generated directly from the office, and became a resource for not just Bowman County, but the tri-state region, that could bring opportunities for personal, professional and community growth.
“There was some concern that we could not host an event of this magnitude in our area, but we love the challenge of bringing big ideas to a small community. We were determined to host an event that you would travel miles to see right here in Bowman,” Doerr said Fusion will continue be an annual event.
Another landmark project of the BCDC is the Bowman Gateway Industrial Park. Bowman County has many great attributes including the new airport, hospital, business district and school.
According to Doerr, “the industrial park will just add to the assets we have to offer.”