- Associated Press - Sunday, August 21, 2016

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Just weeks into her new position, Williston Chamber of Commerce executive director Janna Lutz feels she hasn’t even scratched the surface of the unique attributes Williston has to offer.

“As a business community, we have the common ambition of advancing the region in its economic prosperity,” she told the Williston Herald (https://bit.ly/2bnPb8D ). “This is a beautiful piece of North Dakota we live in and I am proud to be able to better serve the members and the community in this new position.”

Lutz served as vice president of the Regional Council with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, before joining her husband in North Dakota in 2011.

“It was umbrellaed under one chamber, which operated under one membership while they continue their own initiatives,” Lutz said. “They kept their identity but could take part through the major chamber.”

Reaching nearly 5,000 members before her departure, she represented the largest chamber in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, preparing her for the future in Williston.

“My husband’s family is originally from here,” she said. “When I first came to visit I was always sad to leave because the people are so nice. People wave when you drive by each other, and you can tell people genuinely cared. I’m originally from Pennsylvania and I get claustrophobic there now. I got used to wide open spaces.”

Lutz was working at the Williston Area Builders Association until it was announced that Williston Chamber of Commerce president Scott Meske had been hired to lead the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce.

“The kids are getting older and they’re in school now, so I started working at the Builder’s Association,” Lutz said. “Then this came open, it was good timing. I was coming from a chamber and I loved it.”

The breakneck pace of getting up to speed has prevented her from meeting as many of the chamber’s committee members as she would have liked. But she’s already set goals to grow partnerships and collaboration among the different city organizations.

“I want to begin pulling together resources as much as we can to help facilitate everybody,” she said. “We’re all about Williston and we want to do what’s best for our community.”

Lutz looks to analyze feedback from a strategic plan slated to conclude in 2016. It will help better assess what needs to change and or improve upon going forward.

“We need member input,” she said. “My short term goal is to meet as many members as possible and find out their direction.”

Although she is just getting acclimated to the cogwork of the chamber, she feels her experience can easily be applied.

“The chamber already does a really great job with wonderful staff and volunteers,” Lutz said. “I’m glad to call North Dakota home.”


Information from: Williston Herald, https://www.willistonherald.com

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