Grand Forks Region EDC receives international award for Grand Forks 'Cooler' initiative

The ‘Cooler’ initiative was founded in 2017 as a talent attraction and retention program for Grand Forks County.

GF EDC logo.jpg
The Grand Forks Region Economic Development, located in the Herald Building downtown. (submitted photo)
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GRAND FORKS — The Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation’s Greater “Grand Forks: Way Cooler Than You Think!” website has won an international award.

The website took home the gold award for “Special Purpose Websites” and was also featured as a best practice in economic development for the 2022 Excellence in Economic Development Awards from the International Economic Development Council.

“The EDC is exceptionally honored that the ‘Way Cooler Thank You Think’ website has received this international recognition,” Keith Lund, EDC president and CEO, said in a news release. “The success of the website and ‘Cooler’ initiative is due to the region’s leadership investment in creating the critical workforce attraction platform and their ongoing efforts to ensure that it meets the needs of our region’s employers. This award acknowledges their efforts and the efforts of the EDC workforce team led by Becca Cruger, director of workforce development.”

The Cooler initiative was founded in 2017 as a talent attraction and retention program for Grand Forks County. Since then, Cooler has launched a website, social media platforms, national digital advertising campaigns, a relocation guide and a community blog. The initiative was launched with funding from the city of Grand Forks, Grand Forks County, Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation, the Chamber of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks, Altru and UND. It is now primarily supported by private sector investment.

IEDC's Excellence and Leadership in Economic Development Awards recognize the world's best economic development programs, partnerships, marketing materials and influential leaders, according to a news release from the local EDC.


The awards presentation was held in Oklahoma City during the 2022 IEDC Annual Conference

These 25 awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. The awards are judged by economic and community developers from around the world and the council received more than 500 submissions from the U.S. and four other countries.

Submissions for the EDC’s award were evaluated on a number of factors, including the project’s goals, effectiveness of the message, quality of content, accessibility and overall value for economic development efforts, the release said.

“This year’s awards selection process was especially competitive. We are honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects, and partnerships have improved regional quality of life,” said IEDC Awards Advisory Committee Chair Christina Winn.

The plant will be able to process up to 42 million bushels of soybeans per year into crude degummed soybean oil, meal and hulls. CEO Dennis Egan says soybean oil will likely go into the renewable diesel industry, while the meal will go into the livestock industry.

Sydney Mook has been the managing editor at the Herald since April 2021. In her role she edits and assigns stories and helps reporters develop their work for readers.

Mook has been with the Herald since May 2018 and was first hired as the Herald's higher education reporter where she covered UND and other happenings in state higher education. She was later promoted to community editor in 2019.

For story pitches contact her at or call her at 701-780-1134.
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