North Dakota Department of Commerce | Prairie Public Broadcasting

North Dakota Department of Commerce

Commerce Dept. audit debated

Nov 7, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The director of North Dakota’s Commerce Department called it an “honest mistake.”

Michelle Kommer talked to the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee about a state audit finding that $854,000 in spending was improperly charged to the 2017-2019 biennium budget. The money was part of a grant to Grand Sky, the Grand Forks-based home for unmanned aerial vehicles. The money was to go to construction at the Grand Sky site. But because of bad weather, construction was delayed – and the money didn’t go out until July of 2019.

North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler has resigned, after sending out what was termed an “unacceptable” e-mail.

The announcement came Monday from the Governor’s office.

Sources in the Department of Commerce say Schuler sent out an e-mail, with attachment, from his state e-mail address. It went to all Commerce employees, and it dealt with the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court appointment.  Some employees took the matter to the state’s Human Resources Management Services office.

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.

ND Commerce director retiring

Dec 7, 2016
Courtesy ND Dept. of Commerce

North Dakota’s Commerce Commissioner will retire at the end of the year.

Al Anderson has been with Commerce for six years – and he said that makes him the longest serving Commerce Commissioner in state history.

Anderson said coming to government from the oil and gas industry, he was very familiar with “boom towns” – and he said the biggest change he’s seen in the state’s economy has been to riseto the challenge of infrastructure to support the economy.

Legislature passes Dept. of Commerce budget

Apr 28, 2015

The budget for the state’s Department of Commerce is on its way to Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

It’s a $127.5 million dollar budget. It contains one-time spending on flood impact grants, unmanned aircraft and tribal colleges.

Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck) said the bill deals with a lot of – as he put it – “corporate welfare, cronyism, favoritism and pork-barrel spending.”

North Dakota Ranks Third for Business

Jul 11, 2013

North Dakota ranks third in the country for business, according to a CNBC report.

Al Anderson is the North Dakota Commerce Commissioner. He said the state ranked fifth last year.

“Of course the primary reason is oil. With the increase in oil production, the increase drilling activity; that’s one of those things that is known throughout the U.S,” Anderson said.

Anderson said North Dakota is doing well in the five industries targeted for jobs. He says agriculture is still the number one industry. He said manufacturing businesses are also doing extremely well.

North Dakota Tourism Maintains Growth

Aug 16, 2012

Energy and population are not the only areas booming in North Dakota. The North Dakota Department of Commerce’s Tourism Department has increases in almost every area.

For the tourism department's second quarter, visitation at state and national parks are up nearly 25 percent, airport arrivals are up 21 percent, state tourism attractions are up 13 percent, travel near the Canadian border is up 13 percent, tax collections and arts entertainment are up 37 percent.  

Summer is closely followed by fall and spring for the busiest tourism seasons.