BEMIDJI - A new strategic direction brings a new name for the Joint Economic Development Commission.
The economic development organization will now be known as Greater Bemidji, and a new logo has been designed to help signal the change.
Within the past year, the Greater Bemidji board completed a strategic planning process "drive development and promote prosperity."
"The new name, Greater Bemidji, and in particular our tagline, give our region and the business community a better sense of who we are," Bob Fitzgerald, president of Greater Bemidji, said in a news release.
Dave Hengel, executive director at Greater Bemidji since Jan. 1, believes the new name is perfectly suited for the organization's new direction.
"The new name leaves two clear impressions that I think are central to our mission," he said. "First, it makes it clear that our organization is about serving the broader Bemidji region. Also, it gives a sense of partnership and collaboration, which is central to what we do."
Hengel said Wednesday there are signs the economy is improving, which should bring growth opportunities in the region.
"The Bemidji region has changed dramatically over the past five years," Hengel said. "We are increasingly seen as the regional center for north central Minnesota."
Hengel also said the Greater Bemidji name reflects the "culture change the board believes is critical moving forward."
The organization will continue traditional economic development activities, but also focus on four new primary areas: supporting entrepreneurship and innovation, growing attracting and retaining our talent, marketing the region as dynamic place to do business, and developing and accessing a toolbox of economic development incentives and services.
The name and logo change, which are effective immediately, will require new letterhead, business cards, signs and website domain. However, Hengel said no marketing firms or fees were needed, and the logo was "nearly free."
The news release said Greater Bemidji wants to engage interested partners from the region and encourage the public to get involved. Anyone interested is asked to contact Hengel through the Greater Bemidji website at www.greaterbemidji.com.