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Swedlund submits resignation from Jamestown Tourism position

Jamestown Tourism Executive Director Searle Swedlund's last day will be Sept. 9.

Progress Searle Swedlund one.jpg
Jamestown Tourism Executive Director Searle Swedlund submitted his resignation, and his last day will be Sept. 9. He has held the executive director position since 2013.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun file photo
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JAMESTOWN – The executive director of Jamestown Tourism has submitted his resignation and he is thankful for those who supported him in the community.

“As an outsider to be welcomed in the way that I have, it’s just been an absolute honor,” Searle Swedlund said.

Swedlund’s last day will be Sept. 9. He has held the executive director position since 2013.

Swedlund said he will do economic development work for the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission. He and his family will be moving to Morris, Minnesota.

“It isn’t about where we are going. It’s about where we have been,” he said. “I think for us, this is not an easy decision. We are going to miss Jamestown a lot.”

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Swedlund, who is from Velva, North Dakota, received the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce 2021 Above and Beyond Award.

Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich said losing Swedlund will be a huge loss for the community.

“I think everyone would agree to that,” he said. “Searle is of course a great guy and if opportunities present themselves and this is right for him and his family, we are happy for him.”

Losing Swedlund is going to be huge, said Paulette Ritter, president of the Jamestown Tourism Executive Board. She said he’s made a lot of connections and helped places like the 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse and Fort Seward develop into being more than just a place to stop.

She said hiring the right person to be the next Jamestown Tourism executive director is important. She said the position includes marketing and administrative work.

“The next person comes with some other talents,” she said. “The board will work with them. … We are hoping that somebody locally might be interested in it. We will find out once we get it all ready and posted to see what kind of field we get to apply for that position.”

The job description for the position states the executive director reports to the Jamestown Tourism Board of Directors and is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives. The executive director will be responsible for public relations, fiscal management, environment, personnel, reporting, grant management and program planning, development and evaluation.

Ritter said the job description was unanimously approved. The Jamestown Tourism Board of Directors could appoint a search committee at its meeting Aug. 22, she said.

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Ritter said Swedlund will put a contract together for an hourly wage in case he is needed to answer tourism-related questions or has to come to Jamestown to finish some work.

One of Swedlund’s biggest accomplishments was when he stepped in and would not allow Frontier Village to leave Jamestown, she said. Frontier Village is owned by the city of Jamestown and is currently managed by Jamestown Tourism.

“That is probably one of the bigger things he did was kept that going because it would have been gone,” Ritter said.

Heinrich said Swedlund stepped up to be the person in charge of Frontier Village, which is not part of his job. He said Swedlund was the right person for the job at exactly the right time.

He also said Swedlund has made tourism into more of a visitor-involved activity rather than just having people present to look at something.

“He’s trying to give them something to do while they are here,” he said.

Swedlund said his favorite accomplishment was helping the National Buffalo Museum double its paid admission in less than two years.

“I remember going to their board meeting and saying, 'you all have a very nice museum but if you don’t know the story of the bison and you come in and look at all the artifacts, it doesn’t make a lot of sense,'” he said. “'You should do a video.'”

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He said the work that was done with the National Buffalo Museum is what Jamestown Tourism should be doing.

“It’s not supposed to be sitting in an office and talking about how great we all are,” he said.

Swedlund said it is important for the community to support the next executive director. He said it’s about the work and how important that is to the development of the community.

“The work in this community is not done,” he said. “Jamestown Tourism will continue to support all the good things that make Jamestown a great place to visit.”

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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