Rural Leadership North Dakota


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Seminar Four - Thinking Critically and Creatively

When Feb 25, 2010 10:40 AM to
Feb 27, 2010 10:40 AM
Where Williston, ND
Contact Name
Contact Phone 701-231-5803
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The Williston Seminar started on Thursday morning at NDSU's Williston Research Extension Center (WREC), where the class met members of the Leadership Williston Thunderbird RanchProgram. After some quick introductions, 28 participants boarded a chartered bus to visit a local favorite, Thunderbird Ranch in Ray. Owners Monica Hartsoch and Mary Schmidt greeted the group with snacks made from a selection of Thunderbird Ranch's bread, dip and dessert mixes. After a short tour, it was back on the bus for a drive through the Nesson Valley to see some of the WREC's research and demonstration farm en route to Mountrail /Williams Electric Coop in Williston. 

Mark Holter and Steve Rock from Mountrail/Williams Electric and Montana Dakota Utilities shared some of the new developments in electric energy and their model for clean, efficient energy throughout the region and the vast development for energy demand in the region due to the oil boom. 

Participants enjoyed a luncheon hosted by Williston State College (WSC) while listening to presentations from Dr. Ray Nadolny, President; Kim Murphy, Agriculture Instructor and Jeremy Mohl, Train ND Specialist. Tours at the Williston State College's new Petroleum and Technology Center's training oil rig by Dennis Knudson, at Prairie Packing by Dave Slais and at United Pulse Trading by Brian Norby completed the day's introduction to agriculture and energy in the Williston area. 

Participants gathered for a gourmet evening meal made exclusively of locally grown products prepared by a chef and culinary instructor at Dawson Community College along with his colleagues at the Farm-to-Table Coop in Glendive, Montana. Bruce Smith, Dawson County Extension Agent, highlighted the economic incentives for enjoying locally produced foods and following the excellent meal. David Beurle

Seminar presenter David Beurle of Innovative Leadership Australia was introduced to the group, along with his co-presenter Juliet Fox. The class was interested in making connections between the day's ag tour, evening meal and David's presentation on the local effects of the changing global environment. His talk was the perfect ending to a day of exploration through the eyes of regional business people. 

Turkish employees of United PulseFriday, the class got down to the business of thinking critically and creatively with scenario planning and case studies of successful communities. A traditional Turkish meal was prepared and served at lunchtime by several Turkish employees of United Pulse Trading using the company's products. Members of the WREC, as well as Extension staff joined the class for lunch and later, they heard from Bob Evans, Agricultural Systems Research Leader at the Agricultural Research Station (ARS) in Sidney, Montana and Neil Riveland, Assistant Director of the WREC. 

Williston and Mondak Region leaders including WSC President Dr. Ray Nadolny, Williston Mayor Ward Koeser, Economic Development Director Tom Rolfstad and Sidney, Montana Mayor Bret Smelser joined the RLND class for its Leadership Dinner at El Rancho in Williston on Friday evening. The speakers shared their creative responses to area needs including the housing shortage, providing training for oil field workers and balancing community growth with quality-of-life issues.

Saturday's task was clear: create a mission statement for RLND Class of 2009-2011. Mission Statement planningParticipants reached consensus on a mission statement that reflected the class's desired impact on North Dakota and the participants' communities. 

The Mission Statement for RLND Class of 2009-2011 is:

"Empowering rural leaders to develop visionary thinking and collaborate partnerships to ensure the future growth of North Dakota."


 by Maeve MacSteves and Chet Hill

Filed under: Leadership
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