Forward Sheridan conducted its annual strategic planning session March 7. These sessions enable our board members to voice their concerns and provide priorities around our scope of work. We are fortunate to have board members that take the time and are engaged about our role and the efforts we make. We are driven by A3: awareness, attitude and action toward economic development.

Two specific items were identified that define our organization. First as a “go to” business entity the question was what does that mean and who does this affect. From our day-to-day activities, “go to” means enabling communication opportunities with appropriate resources to aid businesses.

A simple example is when bitcoin miners were exploring Sheridan. One of their key issues regarding operations was the options for reliable electrical power. Forward Sheridan simply connected — no pun intended — them with the engineers at Montana-Dakota Utilities to address the available power and circuits throughout the community.

Another example of “go to” occurred recently when a tech business was looking for introductions to other appropriate programmers; we were fortunate to be able to steer them correctly and provide an open invitation — the result is a core group of like-minded folks.

Secondly, the other aspect of “go to” rests around questions about four basic business factors. These factors are physical plant, materials logistics, workforce skill and availability and attitude. Our attitude is that business is good, welcomed and supported. The key item for Sheridan is, for the most part, we recognize that viable business operations are the fuel and foundation that enables the significant and diverse social attributes we enjoy.

As we see the influx of the 30- to 45-year-old families into our community we must protect and maintain these attributes. Our focus is intentional. We strive to recognize, address and improve the economic sustainability of our community businesses using our network, skills and experiences. The stakeholders are advanced manufacturing, technology and infrastructure — entities where we can use our connections to provide opportunity.

FS would like to commend the Center for a Vital Community in their ongoing outreach on board dynamics. FS operates as a not-for-profit board. Our members take time from their jobs and families to attend and participate; this is a commitment that we recognize — time is critical. We have, as an organization, signed up to participate with these trainings. What is interesting is that many of our board members sit on other community boards, they are not passive but engaged and caring individuals. The CVC’s next meeting on board training is March 20.


Jay Stender is the executive director of Forward Sheridan.