Past accomplishments keep JSDC on track for bright future

Past accomplishments keep JSDC on track for bright future Main Photo

7 Jan 2021


Kelly Rachel has served on the Jamestown/Stutsman County Development Corporation (JSDC) since 2013, the last two years as Chairman. With the close of 2020, Rachel stepped down at the end of his term after overseeing a tenure of impressive economic growth and development in Jamestown and Stutsman County.

Rachel is the President/CEO of Jamestown's Unison Bank and has been involved in the area in various manners for 40 years since attending the University of Jamestown. During his JSDC tenure, Kelly served on the New Business Attraction, Existing Business Outreach, Organizational Excellence and Finance committees. Kelly will continue with JSDC as the Past Chairman in 2021. Rachel was gracious enough to offer his insight into his past tenure, as well as a look forward to what lies ahead for Jamestown and Stutsman County.  

What accomplishments are you most proud of during your JSDC tenure?

The completion of Dakota Spirit Ag Energy was a major milestone, becoming fully operational in 2015 as the anchor tenant at the Spiritwood Energy Park, an industrial park with over 500 acres located approximately 10 miles east of Jamestown. The 65 million-gallon-per-year biorefinery produces ethanol, distillers grains and fuel-grade corn oil, while utilizing steam from Spiritwood Station for its operations. 

The continued expansion of the Flex PACE Interest Buydown Loan Program provided significant investment and jobs into our community. Flex PACE, or Partners Assisting in Community Expansion, allows communities the ability to provide assistance to businesses that do not meet the primary sector definition of PACE. A program of the Bank of North Dakota, Flex PACE is designed to help communities expand their economic base.

The completion of the I-94 Business Park was quite satisfying. With JSDC developing the 30-acre park, it is now 100% occupied with manufacturing, warehouse distribution, logistics, and other industry businesses. 

What has been most personally satisfying about your JSDC tenure?

Definitely building relationships with staff and board members to work towards building a better community. With my background in banking, I had a general knowledge of JSDC programs, but digging deeper into the details and working with others to refine the process was enjoyable.There were challenging moments, such as being  intimately involved with the litigation surrounding the Spiritwood Energy Park Association (SEPA), but fortunately it was resolved and we can move forward. (A lawsuit filed in 2019 against the Spiritwood Energy Park Association by North Dakota Soybean Processors was settled in 2020.)

What are your overall impressions about the JSDC Board and Staff and Jamestown in general?

The community doesn’t always see the entire picture until a project comes to fruition, but the Staff and Board are working diligently to do what’s in the best interest of our City and County every day. It’s been a wonderful place to work and raise our family.  It’s a place where you can get involved and make a positive impact if you desire.

What do you see for the future of Jamestown and Stutsman County, and you personally? 

Even in this COVID world, 2021 has the potential to be a very exciting year for the Jamestown area. There are exciting future growth opportunities for the Dakota Spirit Ag Energy biorefinery with cellulosic, isobutanol and other biofuel technologies. JSDC has several major projects planned including the continued expansion of the Spiritwood Energy Processing Park with a Soybean Processing Plant and a 30-acre Greenhouse in the planning stages. Plentiful opportunities exist in the newly developed Airport Business Park. A new facility for the Anne Carlsen Center, a non-profit organization providing individuals with developmental disabilities or delays with services and support, is eagerly anticipated as well. 

For myself, I will serve the next 2 years as Past President with JSDC, but plan to remain involved in many other civic and charitable organizations.