Dickinson Continues to Grow Despite Oil Slowdown

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The recent slowdown in the oil industry isn't slowing growth in Dickinson.

"We've had a slowdown on the energy sector, it's allowing those industries to expand," said Shawn Kessel, city administrator.

Industries like manufacturing, for instance. Recently Dickinson was named the top micropolitan area for economic strength in 2015, and Kessel says these industries have a lot to do with it.

"It's an endorsement of our strategy of diversification when it comes to economic development. You can't be too heavy in one area," Kessel said.

At the annual Ports to Plains Conference, speaker William Fruth gave Dickinson the top spot, with Williston and Minot close behind. Economic strength is defined as an economy being able to grow consistently over time.

"The manufacturing strength of several of our local businesses. The medical industry has got a much larger footprint than it's ever had in Dickinson," Kessel said.

While new industries are contributing to the city's economy, old industries have created the blueprint on how to sustain in a ever-changing economic environment.

"Over the last five years it's been challenging finding enough employees. In fact, we've turned work away, so this slowdown in oil has been probably a silver lining and its been good for us," said Guy Moos, president of Baker Boy.

Since 1957, Baker Boy has distributed frozen dough products to bakeries and convenience stores across the country. Moos says manufacturers bring an essential piece to the city's economic vitality.

"We're builders and we're very proud of that. We have a strong manufacturing base in Dickinson," Moos said.

However, Dickinson's location also plays a role in its recent title.

"One of the things that we're now seeing blossom in Dickinson is gateways onto and off of that interstate highway that feed industrial parks and that feed commercial operations in Dickinson," said Gaylon Baker, executive vice president of Stark Development Corporation.

Baker says statistics show how cities with a strong growth path are often along interstate highways, which has certainly helped Dickinson land the top spot.​