New Commerce director: Excited about the challenge of economic diversification

Jul 7, 2017

Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler.
Credit Commerce dept.

North Dakota’s Commerce Commissioner said he welcomes the challenge to diversify North Dakota’s economy.

Jay Schuler has been at Commerce since January. He was appointed by Governor Burgum to take the reins after former Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson retired.

"My background is starting new businesses, adding value, being a disruptor," Schuler said in an interview. "That's what I want to continue."

Schuler said one of his main tasks is to keep college graduates in North Dakota.

"We need to keep our brains, our young people, our educated people in the state," Schuler said. "We don't want them moving. They collaborate, and they figure out better ways to do things."

Schuler said one thing he’s very excited about the future of drone technology in North Dakota. He said it's “exciting as all get out.” And schuler said North Dakota leads the US in drone development.

"There are two reasons for it," Schuler said. "One is our environment. We have four seasons. And if drones are going to fly, they have to fly in all weather."

The other reason: North Dakota's open skies.

"If we crash a drone, it might take out a few ears of corn, rather than a few people," Schuler said. "We also have the University of North Dakota, that has the expertise."