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SDC receives Governor's Choice award

Ryan Jilek, SDC executive vice president, looks upon the Governor’s Choice Project of the Year, Rural Community Division, Award given to the SDC at this year fall EDND conference for the SDC's involvement in Stone Mill's new facility. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

Stark Development Corporation has received the Governor's Choice Project of the Year, Rural Community Division Award.

The award was given for SDC's involvement in Stone Mill LLC's expansion project.

"I'm honored and humbled to be able to accept that award," Ryan Jilek, SDC executive vice president, said. "It's just nice to see one of our manufacturers get recognized out here, and it's a nice accomplishment."

The award recognizes a project that has made a significant contribution to the economic health of a community or region in terms of job creation, partnerships and overall economic impact.

To meet growing demands, Stone Mill, the country's largest organic flax processor, built a new 40,000 square foot facility to house four additional processing lines, equipment and warehouse space, for a total investment of $6 million in the community and the creation of three jobs.

"Their new facility is nothing short of impressive," Jilek said. "The technology they have in place is phenomenal. It's extremely high tech. Their ability to track basically from farm to table is very impressive."

For the project, SDC provided the community share of a Bank of North Dakota PACE interest buydown.

"It's an example of what we do every day," Jilek said. "We're trying to get out there and do more of it for other businesses, large and small, within the community."

The award was presented by the North Dakota Governor's Office, the ND Department of Commerce, and the Economic Development Association of North Dakota at this year's EDND fall conference, held Oct. 29 in Minot.

Jilek said he enjoying going to the conference.

"It's always nice to be able to get together with similar interests and colleagues from around the state just to visit about our similarities and differences," he said. "Everybody's dealing with workforce issues and trying to come up with solution. We're all trying to put our own spin on revitalizing our communities. It's nice to be able to get together and get fresh ideas from around the state."

The contribution was applauded by Ellen Huber, EDND president.

"Stone Mill LLC is an important value-added agriculture company which helps diversify North Dakota's economy and contribute to North Dakota's wealth," Huber said. "We are pleased to recognize Stark Development Corporation for their dedication to the economic health of their community."