A contingent from the North Dakota Department of Commerce visited Rugby on March 20, visiting a number of local businesses and examining the growth in the town.
The group of six representatives visited Rugby Manufacturing, the Rugby Farmers Union Elevator, Heart of America Medical Center and Rugby High School.
“We go out to communities and see what’s happening,” said John Schneider, Director of the Agricultural Product Utilization Commission. “We visit with local leaders, check out local projects. We all have different areas of expertise. I run a grant program, so we go to businesses we’ve either funded or had some involvement in but we also like to come and see some facilities like the school.”
Schneider, a 1988 graduate of Rugby High School, said he was wowed by the development Rugby has seen since his days as a Panther.
“It’s exciting to come back to see how much it’s changed and expanded,” Schneider said. “The high school, I hardly recognize it, how far they’ve advanced. It’s fun to see Rugby take ahold of its future, working to grow and expand. That was the most exciting part.”
Other representatives on the trip included John Mittleider, Value Added Ag Project Manager, Project Manager Laura Willard, Development Fund Loan Officer Nathan Schneider, Wind Project Manager Mike Fladeland and Community Development Block Grant Manager Bonnie Malo, who worked on clinic expansion at HAMC, according to Schneider.
“They help businesses that are interested in locating here if they have questions, anything from workforce development grants to finding locations,” Schneider said.
Schneider said Rugby has the opportunity to develop differently than the cities in the western part of the state, which are just scratching to keep up.
“To compare, really being reactive out there, just reacting to what’s going on to come here and see the community being proactive and smart with their growth and development,” Schneider said.
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