BISMARCK, N.D. _ The Bismarck-Mandan Development Association has a new executive director.
Brian Ritter was appointed acting executive director at the group’s board meeting last Thursday.
Ritter will remain in the position through the end of the year. He will then be reviewed and the board will decide whether to make the appointment permanent.
“I’d like to thank the board for their confidence and the opportunity to serve this community,” Ritter said in the group’s newsletter. “I’m extremely grateful and even more excited! That’s because everywhere you look in Bismarck, Mandan, Burleigh and Morton counties, there’s growth.”
Ritter had been one of several applicants for the job vacated by former BMDA President Russ Staiger. Board member Matt Reichert, who was on the hiring committee, said the board did not hire Ritter outright because “he has never performed in that type of position before.”
Reichert said the board wanted to give Ritter the opportunity to step up into the position “and we honestly think he can.”
Reichert said the hiring committee had sent out several requests for resumes and conducted one phone interview with another applicant.
“We felt Brian was the best candidate at this point in time,” he said.
Ritter said with the transitions the organization is making and the potential for changes to the group’s structure, being in an interim position will be the most efficient way to bridge that gap.
“He (Ritter) definitely has a lot of passion,” said Ron Day, past executive committee chairman. “We all believe he has the drive and desire. He’s a new young person with a lot of energy.”
The Bismarck City Commission also is discussing hiring it’s own economic developer but Day said there always will be a need for an economic development organization.
Day said Ritter’s experience with the BMDA and the group’s Blue Ribbon Committee, which was formed to re-evaluate the organization’s role in the community, made him an asset.
“We’re already seeing great things from Brian,” he said. “We’re really excited and think he’s going to take the organization in a great direction.”
Finding that direction is Ritter’s main goal now.
“I think the biggest thing we need to do right now is take a look at the organization and how we can best meet the needs of the community,” he said.
Ritter said he wants to do that by continuing with the Blue Ribbon Committee and getting comments from others in the community.
“I believe this process to be ongoing because economic development itself is ongoing,” he said in the newsletter.
Ritter also said the organization’s communication with community is always going to need to be improved but thinks it has taken steps in the right direction with its weekly highlights, Economy At A Glance publication and increased membership numbers.