August Update

The purpose of these monthly messages regarding the pending BMDA / Chamber Restructure is two-fold; to inform you of the various aspects of the restructured organization’s value proposition and to update you on the progress being made to that end. Regarding the value proposition, this month we’ll focus on the strengthened business community voice and the more efficient use of resources that will result from the Restructure. Both of which result from having one, unified business development organization as opposed to two.

In reviewing both the BMDA and Chamber’s 2017 – 2019 Strategic Plans (separate plans, mind you), there are five areas of overlap: infrastructure & transportation planning, workforce development, entrepreneurship, local advocacy and community engagement. These are areas which both organizations, separately, identified as being important enough to address as part of their efforts and followed through. For example, both the BMDA and Chamber had Staff and/or Volunteers serve on the City of Bismarck’s Joint Task Force, the City of Mandan’s West End Redevelopment Committee and the TEDx Bismarck Planning Committee.

It is our intent that as a result of the restructure, we can serve all those groups as a stronger voice representative of even more of the business community.

What’s more is that if we do so as one organization, we can conceivably take the same number of staff and volunteers and be involved with even more groups, efforts and initiatives. Think about it; if there were two staff or volunteers on one committee representing the BMDA and Chamber, one organization could have one of those representatives involved with that effort and then re-direct the other representative to another effort that we might not otherwise have been able to previously.

The same logic can be applied to the use of financial resources. Both organizations have traditionally had their own marketing & administrative staff whereas once the restructure is complete, we could take the same resources previously dedicated to those four staff members and keep one administrative position, two marketing positions and then re-direct existing resources to create a new workforce-focused position that we need in order to address what is the business community’s most pressing issue.

That’s just one example of how we plan to more efficiently utilize the same amount of resources to accomplish even more.

As to where we’re at in the restructure process, despite what you may have heard, it is not done. We are working with legal counsel to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the approval of both Boards which would ‘set the table’ for what we need to accomplish yet, legally. We have also engaged an area marketing firm to help us develop the organization’s new name, logo and brand for which they are seeking input from the membership.

If you ever have any questions, please do not hesitate to get ahold of me directly at or (701) 223-5660.




July Update
The value proposition for a restructured BMDA and Chamber has many facets and we’ll touch on all of them over the coming months as part of this series of communications. While some of the value proposition includes things that are new or different, one thing that will not change is the quality programming and events that you’ve come to expect from both organizations.

For instance, each year the Chamber facilitates the Leadership Bismarck-Mandan Program which seeks to develop local leaders who actively participate in and support community progress. Neither that program nor others such as Lemonade Day or the Outstanding Teacher of the Year will go away as a result of the restructure. The same can be said for our signature events like the Workforce Development Summit or Celebrate Bismarck-Mandan. We’re simply looking to build on them. Take for example the Economic Outlook Forum. A restructured organization is in a position to: host an event like the Economic Outlook Forum, analyze the results of the event & accompanying survey and then address or implement programming based upon those results whether they’re specific to economic development or advocacy. One organization can do all of that and that’s advantageous for not only the organization, but the entire community as well.

And while the Chamber may be better known for hosting the aforementioned events, the BMDA has also developed programming that can be strengthened by the restructure. This includes the organization’s annual Job Shadow Week where area high school and college students are encouraged to participate in two and four-hour job shadows in an effort to learn more about a specific profession. While the program has been incredibly successful in its three years of existence, the BMDA has only 240 private sector investors to whom the program is primarily marketed. By comparison, a restructured organization could have over 1,300 private sector investors to whom we could market and ultimately grow the program. In doing so, we can better address one of our membership and community’s most pressing needs.

Once again, it’s important to note that by restructuring, we’re not looking to do less with the resources that we’ve been entrusted with. In fact, we’re looking to do just the opposite; take those same resources, leverage them and do even more. The examples above are just a few ways we expect to do so as a unified business development organization.  

As to what’s currently being done to complete the restructure, each organization has engaged independent counsel to review their bylaws in an effort to ensure proper compliance throughout the process. In addition, the organizations have developed and solicited responses to a request for proposal (RFP) for a marketing firm to develop the restructured organization’s new name, logo and brand.

Should you ever have any questions, comments or concerns during this process, you can always get a hold of me directly at or (701) 223-5660 / (701) 222-5530.




June Update
Throughout the process of considering whether or not to restructure the BMDA and Chamber, a common question has been, “What is This Going to Cost?” More specifically, what would a restructure of our two organizations mean in terms of membership investment? 

It’s a reasonable question and one that we answered by first determining that this restructure is about providing the most robust, efficient services for our members; not a way to arbitrarily cut costs. The leadership of our organizations believes very firmly that if we are going to restructure, the motivation for doing so cannot be financial. It must be about doing what is best for the BMDA Members, Chamber Members and most importantly, our community.

With that in mind, we developed a value proposition that quantifies what more we can do as one organization for approximately the same amount being used to support two. To support that value proposition, we then developed an investment structure by simplifying the Chamber’s existing membership schedule and combining it with four community partnership levels based upon the BMDA’s tiered investment schedule. Under this investment structure, all members will first determine their base investment by using the simplified membership schedule before considering at what level you might invest additional funds in return for recognition as a community partner. It’s important to note however that your investment, no matter the amount, will all go into one budget for one organization governed by one leadership.

The investment structure is still being finalized, but when it is complete you will be able to insert your own company to determine your investment under the restructured organization. What you’ll see in doing so that is whether you’re currently a member of the Chamber, the BMDA or both, your investment will only change significantly if you want them to.

Over the coming months, we will spotlight the specific aspects of the value proposition that will justify and be supported by this investment structure. Should you have any questions, comments or concerns during this process, you can always get a hold of me directly at or (701) 223-5660.   


Frequently Asked Questions

Isn’t the Restructure Already Done?
No, the BMDA / Chamber Restructure is not yet complete. Both organizations continue to operate separately while working towards a restructure that would be complete by January 1, 2019.

What Will the Restructured Organization be Called?
That has not been determined yet. An outside marketing firm has been engaged to help develop the restructured organization’s name, logo and brand with input from membership.

Where Will the Organization’s Office Be?
In the existing Chamber building at 1640 Burnt Boat Drive.  

Will Anyone Be ‘Laid Off’ as a Result of the Restructure?
No. The only Staff change expected as a result of the Restructure is for the position of BMDA Office Manager, currently held by a temporary employee, to be redirected or reassigned elsewhere in the organization.



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