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Keith Lund takes over as head of Grand Forks EDC

On multiple occasions, Keith Lund has said everyone should work some time in a job that helps develop customer service skills. What it teaches a person is to how to serve others, a quality he says is important. "I'm geared toward customer service...

After working for the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. for 14 years, Keith Lund has taken over as CEO and president of the organization. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
After working for the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. for 14 years, Keith Lund has taken over as CEO and president of the organization. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

On multiple occasions, Keith Lund has said everyone should work some time in a job that helps develop customer service skills.

What it teaches a person is to how to serve others, a quality he says is important.

"I'm geared toward customer service and doing what I can to support other people and organizations," he said. "I think a lot of that came from my experience in retail."

It's one of the qualities he has tapped in his 11 years as the vice president of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp., and it's likely one he will carry with him as he takes on a new role: the EDC president and CEO.

Today, Lund officially begins his tenure as the organization's head, a position vacated by Klaus Thiessen. Under Thiessen, who led the EDC for 14 years, Grand Forks has seen exponential growth in the primary sector.

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Lund said he wants the EDC to remain a leader in the community and continue Thiessen's legacy of collaboration. The region's work ethic and community leaders, Lund said, are beneficial in helping the EDC perform its core function: business development.

"It's been very rewarding to work in such a collaborative environment," he said. "It's definitely a warm and welcoming community."

Continued collaboration

Lund's time in Grand Forks dates back to the late 1980s.

He moved to the city in 1987 to manage a shoe store in Columbia Mall. After working for a property management company, he then took a job with the city in 1994 at the Grand Forks Urban Development Office, his most recent position there being a deputy director for his last two years with the city.

He said he was a little nervous coming to the EDC. The vice president position was a higher profile post than other jobs. But after working with its leaders during his time with the city, including Thiessen, Lund said he was familiar with the organization's work.

"I was nervous as you would be in any other position, but not nervous about the role," Lund said.

Thiessen's last day was Friday, and Lund said he was fortunate to work under his leadership.

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The former EDC leader described Lund as technically strong, professional and a person who quickly gains the respect of anyone he deals with.

"He's got respect locally and on the state level, and I think that bodes well for the Grand Forks EDC moving forward," Thiessen said, adding Lund will continue to expand on the primary sector, rural development and the area's workforce.

EDC board members felt Lund had developed the traits needed to lead the organization, which is why it didn't open its president and CEO search to outside candidates, said Dana Sande, the Grand Forks City Council President who sits on the EDC board.

"Keith demonstrates all of the attributes of the candidate we would want," Sande said, adding it didn't make sense to spend money on a nationwide search when everyone on the board felt confident Lund would be the ultimate choice.

He would like to see Grand Sky, a tech park near Grand Forks Air Force Base dedicated to the unmanned aircraft industry, be fully development in the next decade, as well as more rural development in surrounding communities.

"I see ourselves having a stronger role in downtown development," Lund said, adding the vibrancy of downtown could attract potential residents to Grand Forks to fill job openings. But continued teamwork and collaboration with the city will be essential, he added.

"The community has been so much more successful working together than they would have been otherwise," he said.

Sande and Thiessen both said Lund will accomplish big things for the EDC and the Grand Forks region.

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"I think the city of Grand Forks is in really great shape, and I think Keith is poised to lead (the EDC) for many years," Sande said.

EDC hiring for New position

The Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. is hiring a business development manager.

The position will focus on economic development programs and projects in the Grand Forks region, and the successful candidate will work with community leaders to attract business while supporting retention and expansion projects, according to the job description.

The posting comes after the EDC unanimously voted to hire Keith Lund as its CEO and president. He was previously the EDC's vice president.

Replacing the vice president position, the business development manager entails most of Lund's responsibility before he took over as the organization's leader.

"That is a critically important position," Lund said. "That position is the liaison between the EDC Board and the primary sector businesses."

Job applications are due July 14. Lund said the position could be filled as early as late August.

To view the application, go to grandforks.org.

Related Topics: KEITH LUND
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