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Connie Ova to stay on as JSDC CEO

Ova has been the CEO since November 2003.

Connie Ova
Connie Ova Contributed / Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.

Marlee Siewert, board chair, said Monday, March 14, at the JSDC Board of Directors meeting that the search for a new CEO is over. She said Ova requested to stay as CEO for up to two years on Thursday, March 10, which was accepted.

“She wants to see some of these big projects to the end,” Siewert said. “We are very happy to have Connie stay on to get through this. This is a win for everybody.”

Planned projects include ADM’s Green Bison Soy Processing and the Houweling Tomatoes greenhouse project in the Spiritwood Energy Park Association industrial park east of Jamestown.

Siewert said the JSDC search committee had some “very excellent” candidates for the CEO position. She said the candidates for the CEO position would be notified about Ova staying on Monday, March 14.

Ova has been the CEO of JSDC since November 2003. She announced in December that she was retiring and her last day as CEO would be May 13.

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Ova could not be reached for comment.

In other business, the JSDC Board approved 7-1 to fund an automation incentive program up to $250,000 with a 50-50 city-county split.

Mark Klose, board member and chair of the Stutsman County Commission, was opposed.

Corry Shevlin, JSDC business development director, said the automation incentive program is a grant program only for primary-sector businesses where they can receive up to $25,000 or 5% of the cost of their new equipment that is associated with automation. He said the new equipment must be associated with the production of the facility and cannot eliminate any employment.

“I think it will have a fairly large impact on a lot of our primary-sector businesses in Jamestown and Stutsman County,” he said.

Klose said JSDC Board went away from providing grants because it wanted the money to come back and recirculate again.

“Not that I'm against it or for this at all,” he said. “What kind of road are we going down here now with the grants?

Shevlin said a business can only apply one time for the funding.

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The city of Jamestown and Stutsman County each will provide $125,000 to the pilot program pending approval from the City Council and county commission.

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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