Infrastructure Week Full Agenda
North Dakota needs infrastructure. This vast network of interrelated sectors connects our state beyond our borders and secures our position in the world. Infrastructure provides households access to higher quality opportunities for employment, healthcare, and education. Our economy needs reliable infrastructure to ensure these connections are occurring between cities and people, to provide for supply chains and the movement of goods and services.
This series looks at different sectors from the perspective of subject matter experts who work day-in and day-out within these industries for the success of their business and North Dakota.
The infrastructure week webinar series will utilize the zoom platform. Following each panel discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to pose questions to the panelists. To receive call-in information, attendees will need to register in advance. Recordings will be made available to members following the event. Non-members can pay a one-time business rate of $50 - which will provide company-wide access to all 5 sessions.
May 15 - State of ND Water
ND Dept of Water Resources: Dir. Andrea Travnicek
Stantec: Chris Meehan, Sr. Principal
Dir. Travnicek will provide an overview of the state of water in North Dakota - from physical landscape to political/legislative impacts. Her discussion will also touch on the national outlook.
Following the overview, Chris Meehan will provide a industry perspective and private sector response.
Gov. Doug Burgum appointed ANDREA TRAVNICEK to lead the newly created Department of Water Resources in August 2021. Travnicek returned to North Dakota after nearly three years of service in top leadership positions at the U.S. Department of the Interior, where she most recently served as deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management. Travnicek also served as Interior’s principal deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, overseeing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. National Park Service. Prior to that, she served as a senior policy advisor for natural resources in the North Dakota Governor’s Office from 2010 to 2016 under then-Gov. John Hoeven and then-Gov. Jack Dalrymple.
As leader of the water resources group and senior principal at Stantec, CHRIS MEEHAN has collected more than 20 years of experience within the industry. With expertise in ecological floodplain solutions, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, and innovative stormwater management, he works with clients across the northern plains in both the public and private sectors. Currently Chris’ focus area is in regional stormwater management, working with municipal, county, and water management organizations to address the needs of our rural and urban communities across the region.
May 16: Comprehensive Planning
Brant Johnson, Vice President - North Plain Connector (Grid United)
Jason Benson, Engineer - Cass County
A project's success isn't made by fate or fortune - it's the efforts of comprehensive planning to ensure the right people, players, and goals come forward. The North Plains Connector, currently in the planning and development phase, is an approximately 385 mile and up to 600 kilovolt high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line connecting the U.S. eastern and western electric grids in Montana and North Dakota. The North Plains Connector will be open to all sources of electrical power generation. In response to demand, the project will be able to transport power in either direction along the line.
Following the overview on Grid United, Jason Benson - Cass County Engineer, will have a discussion on perspectives from a county planning position.
BRANT JOHNSON leads Grid United’s North Plains Connector project. With more than 20 years of experience as an energy professional, Brant has supported the development of major linear infrastructure projects across the U.S. With deep experience managing regulatory, environmental, tribal, and landowner issues, Brant employs an inclusive approach with North Plains Connector stakeholders as a former native of both Montana and North Dakota.
Prior to joining Grid United, Brant has led legal and technical teams at large companies supporting energy and infrastructure. Brant has also served as counsel to local government housing development efforts. Brant is active in environmental industry associations and has been an adjunct law professor teaching a course on energy regulation. He received his J.D. and bachelor’s degree in zoology from Brigham Young University and is a licensed attorney in Texas and Montana.
JASON BENSON has served as the Cass County Engineer since 2011. Prior to becoming the County Engineer Jason served as a construction and design engineer for Cass County from 2000 to 2011.
Jason’s engineering duties include infrastructure management of nearly 700 miles of paved and gravel roads and over 500 bridge structures. His engineering experience includes being responsible for design and construction of road, bridge, and drainage projects. Jason manages the highway maintenance staff, engineering staff, Vector Control Department, and the Planning Department. He serves as the Incident Commander for all flood related natural disaster operations. He also serves as a senior technical and administrative advisor for the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Project.
May 17: Energy: Private vs Public Sector Perspective
Senator John Hoeven
Senator Kevin Cramer
Congressman Kelly Armstrong
Craig Stevens, GAIN (Grow America's Infrastructure Now) Coalition
This conversation will examine the landscape specific to energy infrastructure through the perspectives of public and private sector. With much of this policy happening on the national level, the discourse will be sure to highlight of H.R. 1 - the Lower Energy Costs Act and what this means to business as well as what to current happenings, support, and opposition.
As a senator, JOHN HOEVEN has been leading efforts to develop a comprehensive national energy plan similar to North Dakota’s EmPower North Dakota, a comprehensive plan that encourages an all-of-the-above approach to development and includes both traditional and renewable resources. Hoeven believes such an approach will lead to jobs, economic growth and true energy security for America. The senator’s work includes serving as the leading advocate for approving the Keystone XL pipeline and advancing measures that will eliminate outdated and unnecessary regulations that are prolonging the approval process and discouraging investment and innovation. [Full Bio]
SENATOR KEVIN CRAMER was elected to the United States Senate on November 6, 2018 after serving three terms as North Dakota’s At-Large Member of the United States House of Representatives. He is the first Republican to hold this Senate seat in his lifetime. He serves on the Armed Services, Environment and Public Works, Veterans Affairs, and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committees. [Full Bio]
CONGRESSMAN KELLY ARMSTONG is a lifelong, devoted North Dakotan and a tireless advocate for making North Dakota a better place to live and work. With his background in business, his love for the outdoors and his volunteer and public service experience, Kelly is fighting for our North Dakota values in Washington and working to advance positive changes to benefit our state and country. [Full Bio]
CRAIG STEVENS, GAIN Spokesman, served in the Bush Administration for seven years, beginning in the Department of Health and Human Services under Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. After HHS, Craig moved to the Department of Energy where he served as the department’s chief spokesman under Secretary Sam Bodman. Craig has also worked on the presidential campaigns of Governor George W. Bush (2000) and former Governor Mitt Romney (2008).
May 18: NDDOT: Funding ND Infrastructure
ND Dept of Transportation, Shannon Sauer, Chief Financial Officer
The session will showcase ND Dept of Transportation’s recently approved 2023/25 biennium budget and funding streams. Emphasis will be placed on partnership development for growth of North Dakota’s ground transportation system.
SHANNON SAUER has been with the ND DOT for nearly 43 years; first as an internal auditor, then as an accountant, and for the past 34 years as Chief Financial Officer. Shannon has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Mary and a master’s in Public Administration from the University of North Dakota. He is a certified public accountant and a chartered global management accountant. Shannon and his wife DeAnn make their home in Bismarck; they have two grown children, and four grandchildren.
ADDITIONAL INFO FOR EVENT
NDDOT Fact Sheet
Funding the NDDOT
Information about Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)
May 19: After the Session Reflection on Infrastructure – Legislator’s Take
Rep. Dan Ruby (District 38): House Transportation Chair
Sen. Brad Bekkedahl (District 1): Senate Appropriations Chair
The 68th Legislative Session will close out with some big solutions and responses to the state's infrastructure needs. Whether its specific to transportation, transmission, highways, by-ways, EVs, roads, bridges, or air - no infrastructure is out of bounds to the decisions made. This session will dive into what policies will be impacted and what dollars were allocated to fortify our state systems.
REP. DAN RUBY
- Circle Sanitation Inc; Noonan Landfill LLC
- Married (Lori); 10 children; 17 grandchildren
- House since 2001
SEN. BRAD BEKKEDAHL
- BA, University of Jamestown; BS, U of M; DDS, U of M School of Dentistry
- US Army Reserves (1996-2002); ND National Guard (2002-Present), Rank: COL
- Williston Park Board (1988-1996); Williston City Finance Commissioner (since 1996); USA Hockey Director Emeritus
- Senate since 2015
- Senate Portfolio Leader - Pipeline infrastructure in North Dakota