New Leadership in Wadena County
17 May 2023
Spring is a time for renewal and new beginnings. Fittingly, now is an excellent time for Hope Williams to bring her passion and knowledge of the area as the new executive director of the Economic Alliance, the economic development agency for Wadena County. She is excited by the region’s potential and is excited to help the community and businesses grow into its future.
“The Economic Alliance is a great structure, run and supported by the businesses in the communities, which are the people and places the work of the Economic Alliance affects,” she said. “Having grown up in nearby Henning, I am familiar with many people and businesses here and excited to build on those relationships.”
Williams began her time with the Economic Alliance on March 27, 2023, planning to apply her vast knowledge of different industries, such as banking, manufacturing, and retail. In the past five years, she worked for the City of Perham in economic development and housing redevelopment and at Tuffy’s Pet Foods in Perham as a sales specialist. She has a B.S. in Finance from the University of Minnesota and completed her MBA from St. Cloud State University this May.
Williams answered the following questions to highlight her economic development approach and goals for the area through the Economic Alliance below.
Why is economic development critical to rural communities?
Economic growth is vital in all communities. However, general economic development is essential to rural communities like Wadena County, where cities are MUCH smaller than metropolitan areas. People want to move to rural communities to escape the hustle and bustle of the large cities. With people moving to these rural areas, there needs to be more housing, more businesses to provide jobs and more activities for the residents to participate in. We need to continue to grow and offer more as our population grows.
What are the key advantages/amenities of the Wadena County area that assist/promote economic development?
Wadena County has a lot of great things to offer. We have motivated and established businesses, great education options and great people! As a rural community, Wadena County can provide something that metropolitan areas cannot - SPACE! Plentiful undeveloped land for homes or businesses is one of the most important advantages Wadena County offers to promote economic development.
What are your objectives for the Economic Alliance in 2023?
I plan to build relationships with my organization's sponsors and local businesses to understand the different communities and their needs better. I want to build a solid base of knowledge of the County, so I can best address the needs of the area. Another short-term objective I have is to increase the reach of the Economic Alliance so more people in the county know of us and what we can do for them.
What are your objectives for the Economic Alliance over the next three to five years?
Wadena County is a beautiful place to live and work. I plan on focusing on the organization’s three pillars: education, networking and advocacy. I want to offer education/networking opportunities to get entrepreneurs together to learn something new and share insight into their experiences and challenges. I also would like to see more houses built across the county, as housing is one of the major concerns throughout the country. I have so many ideas and goals, and I am extremely excited to help Wadena County continue to grow.
Who are the key collaborators you hope to rely on for economic development in your area?
The city's economic development directors are great and useful resources. They are excellent collaborators and contributors to the economic growth throughout Wadena County. Constant communication with the area businesses is also an important part of economic development in the area because they are the ones who see the issues firsthand.
Reach out to Hope Williams today!
Williams and the Economic Alliance appreciate all the people and businesses that have decided to make Wadena County their home. Please contact Williams today for any assistance needed to make your business and life endeavors in Wadena County a success!