Information, influence and connections are among the many benefits of joining the Greater North Dakota Chamber.
Here, our members share the reasons they renew their Chamber membership. Read their stories below.
AT&T Gains Insights into ND Legislation, Economy
The Greater North Dakota Chamber helps Cheryl Riley keep her finger on the pulse of business in North Dakota.
As the External Affairs Director for AT&T, Riley is responsible for ensuring that the telecommunications company knows about the economic and legislative landscape in North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Membership in the Greater North Dakota Chamber helps her do that job well.
“The Chamber is a lifesaver! They do a phenomenal job consolidating political and economic news for me. It’s how I know what’s going on in North Dakota,” said Riley, who is based in Wyoming.
The work done by the Chamber is remarkable, especially its business leadership, Riley said. She described how the Chamber helps companies navigate issues, get answers to their questions and build important relationships and also how the Chamber represents the view of business to the legislature.
“They are the biggest advocates for business,” Riley said. “Any company doing business in North Dakota should absolutely have a membership. They are a tremendous help.”
She cited Measure 2 as an example of the Chamber’s successful advocacy. GNDC took a strong position against Measure 2, a ballot measure during the June 2012 Primary Election that would have amended North Dakota's constitution to prohibit property taxes. The Chamber ensured that its members knew about the potential impact of the measure and the progress of the effort.
“The responsiveness of the GNDC staff is just incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Riley said.
The Chamber facilitates valuable programs as well, Riley said. For example, Riley found the Governor’s Business Forum to be extremely educational. The forum, which is held in February during non-legislative session years, connects business leaders with legislators and state and elected officials so they can discuss state policy issues and ideas for improving the state’s business climate.
“It was an opportunity to really learn about the economic landscape,” she said. “Their programs are just great. Other states’ Chambers pale in comparison.”
Marvin Companies Grows in North Dakota’s Business Climate
The value of Marvin Companies’ Greater North Dakota Chamber membership is clear to Brian Johnson.
Johnson, the Vice President of Operations for the manufacturing company, simply looks at its North Dakota footprint as evidence.
“We built our first manufacturing plant in North Dakota in the early 1990s, about the same time we joined the Chamber,” Johnson said. “We’ve built four more plants since then, which says a lot about the state’s business environment.”
Marvin Companies encompasses Marvin Windows and Doors, Integrity Windows and Doors, Infinity Windows and Doors and Tecton Products. Headquartered in Warroad, Minn., Marvin has 10 manufacturing locations overall. Johnson says the five North Dakota locations are among the company’s newer facilities and they have capacity for growth.
The strong business climate in North Dakota has been a major factor in the company’s growth here, he said, and the Greater North Dakota Chamber has had a direct role in shaping that climate.
“The Chamber is a very good avenue for communicating with the state’s leadership,” Johnson said. “One of North Dakota’s strengths is the accessibility to its government officials and the Chamber certainly enhances that accessibility.”
Johnson, who is on the Chamber’s board of directors, also gives credit to Andy Peterson’s leadership as President of the Chamber.
“The GNDC staff is very good at staying in front of the issues. They keep members very well informed through their website, emails and phone calls,” Johnson explained. “The staff's energy and motivation toward success has made the Chamber very effective and useful for members. GNDC is a great advocate for business. They understand the importance and value of business and the issues we face.”
Besides keeping legislative issues front and center, the Chamber also alerts its members to state programs and services that may benefit them. The first annual Business Forum held in Minot last year was a great example of how the Chamber creates this visibility for its members.
The Chamber’s facilitation of forums that connect business leaders and state leaders have also been valuable, Johnson said. For example, Peterson organized a meeting with the new higher education chancellor to help business leaders understand his vision and have the opportunity to understand how that vision aligns with the needs of business.
Johnson recommends that businesses throughout North Dakota join the Chamber. “Many people don’t realize what an advocate they have in the Chamber,” he said.