There are a lot of reasons that the Minot Chamber EDC began a search for someone to handle the management of two of the five pillars of a recent strategic plan unveiled by Chamber EDC CEO Brekka Kramer and 2023 Chairman of the Board, Kevin Black. The five pillars are Economic Development, Community Development, Workforce Development, Member Services and Military Support.
A recent report on the economic impact of Minot Air Force Base reinforced the need for a more consistent management plan to reach out and embrace the military personnel at Minot AFB, as the base community contributes over $595 million dollars annually to the Minot community.
The position, for the time being, is listed as the Workforce Development and Military Liaison, and the person filling that position is Keli Rosselli-Sullivan, a Minot native who, in her own words, “has a tremendous passion for this community.”
Rosselli-Sullivan was born in Minot, moved away for about 20 years after college, and returned to her hometown in 2011. “I’ve been pretty involved with the community, especially the last seven years.” Rosselli-Sullivan has served on the board of the YWCA where she was board president, The Minot Chamber Ambassadors Committee and has been involved with the Souris Valley United Way where she has served as co-chair for their annual fund-raising campaign for two years. She also worked for Balfour Beatty, the resident housing management firm on Minot AFB.
“Basically, the Military Liaison is the voice of the Minot community, and [I will] help bridge that gap between the community downtown and the Minot Air Force Base and especially the military members who are coming in and are going to be stationed here,” according to Rosselli-Sullivan. “We don’t want them to feel like ‘oh my gosh, I am stuck in Minot, North Dakota,’ but instead make them feel that Minot is a great city to be a part of.” In the Military Liaison role, Rosselli-Sullivan will help the population at Minot AFB to experience the “downtown” community and help them become thriving members of it when they get here.
Programs that are important to providing that warm welcome will include the Adopt an Airman program that teams a first-term airmen arriving at Minot AFB with a family in the community, and a new program, Wayfinders, that will also provide a link between an Airmen or family and key community champions. “It’s a website and arriving (military personnel) get paired up with a community Wayfinder to help answer any questions, like what can I do in Minot and what can I expect?” The program will be launched before the Minot Chamber EDC annual meeting on March 27.
Keli will also be managing the Prairie Warrior Auction which is scheduled for March 16. “[The Prairie Warrior Auction] benefits the squadrons and their families, just helping to build teamwork and helping the families get together and do events like picnics and other activities. We’ve added something else this year…we’ve added VIP tables that are available, and the money raised from the VIP table will go the fund the new program Home for the Holidays which will allow Airmen to get home because obviously they are away from their families, and we want them to be able to spend time with their families over the holidays.”
For Keli, barely four weeks into her new position, the challenge becomes defining what the Military Liaison position will bring to the table for the Minot Air Force Base, now and in the future.