Advisory council moving ahead

March 28, 2016

A new council has been created that will provide recommendations to higher education in North Dakota based on the ever-changing needs of the workforce.

Comprised of business and industry leaders from throughout the state, the Workforce Education Advisory Council came together for the first time in January in a series of organizational meetings that helped refine the focus of the advisory body. With many workforce-related issues the council to weigh in on, WEAC will work toward refined recommendations that give the State Board of Higher Education and North Dakota University System an idea of the workforce needs of today and tomorrow.

The board was created through legislative action in the 64th Legislative Assembly to “advise the board regarding skills and qualifications needed for workforce training, vocational, and technical education programs offered by institutions under the control of the board.” Makeup of the council is mandated to include one representative from the Department of Career and Technical Education, one representative of Job Service North Dakota, one representative of the Department of Commerce, and eight members representing business and industry who are appointed by the Chairman of the Legislative Management.

Bios received by publication deadline include those below:


Wayde SickWayde Sick, 

Director of Workforce Development, N.D. Department of Commerce

Wayde Sick is the Director of Workforce Development at the North Dakota Department of Commerce. Sick is responsible for carrying out activities that support and promote efforts to meet North Dakota’s workforce needs.  In his position he is also the executive director of the federally mandated State Commission on National and Community Service that oversees the administration of the Federal AmeriCorps program. Sick has been a member of a number or organizations and boards such as the North Dakota Workforce Leadership Team, Governor’s Workforce Development Council, the North Dakota Early Childhood Education Council and the Succeed 2020 Steering Committee to name a few. Prior to  starting at Commerce in 2012, he has 12 years of experience in the education field as an instructor and administrator at the Burdick Job Corps Center in Minot and the School Director at the Missouri Valley Montessori School in Bismarck. Sick has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science Education and Master’s in Management, both from Minot State University.

“The Workforce Education Advisory Council is another key component in North Dakota that will continue to build partnerships between workforce development, Higher Education and the private sector,” Sick noted.


Wayne Kutzer,

Director and Executive Officer, N.D. Department of Career and Technical Education

Wayne Kutzer is the Director and Executive Officer for the North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education, where he has served since 2000. After college Kutzer spent nine years in the private sector, entered the education profession and spent 16 years at the Southeast Area Career and Technology Center in Oakes as teacher and ultimately as director. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Career and Technical Education from the University of North Dakota. He currently serves on numerous boards and councils, including the N.D. Workforce Development Council, Workforce Leadership Team, the two year campuses’ College Technical Education Council, N.D. Educational Technology Council. Kutzer also served on the national Board of Directors for DECA, and SkillsUSA, as well as the Board of Directors for the National Association of State Directors for Career and Technical Education.

“The importance of this council is providing a direct connection between business and industry’s need for a skilled workforce and the Board of Higher Education who oversees the campuses deliver it,” Kutzer said.


Mark AndersonMark R. Anderson

President and CEO, Mainstream Investors, LLC

Mark R. Anderson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mainstream Investors, LLC, a non-operating oil and gas company focused on energy production in North Dakota’s Williston Basin.  Mr. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Advertising from the University of North Dakota.

Prior to forming Mainstream Investors in 2012, Anderson spent 20 years working in the financial services industry, where he served in a variety of roles, including operations, account administration, new business development and executive leadership. In addition to his service on the Workforce Education Advisory Council, Anderson has provided leadership to several local and state service organizations, including Minot Exchange Club, Scandinavian Heritage Association, Minot Area Community Foundation and Greater North Dakota Chamber.

Anderson believes that North Dakota’s economic development will be increasingly dependent upon its ability to blend the workforce needs of business and industry with the program delivery of the Department of Public Instruction and North Dakota University System.


Steve McNally

General Manager – North Dakota, Hess

Mr. Steve McNally has been the General Manager, North Dakota since 2012. At this point in his career, he has worked in on every continent of the globe outside of Antartica.  With Hess, he has served as the Country Manager of Jakarta Indonesia, and General Manager Equatorial Guinea.

Mr. McNally has a BSC in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Brunswick and speaks two languages.  He and his wife Fiona have four children and currently reside in Minot, N.D.

McNally states that having a qualified workforce remains one of the keys to continued economic growth for the state.

“Progress has been made in attracting people to move to North Dakota, however, there is still work to be done to meet the every evolving skills  and training required by many industries in the state,” McNally said. “The WEAC will provide guidance to maintain the highest quality education system in the nation.”


GiesenCheri Giesen

Executive Director, Job Service N.D.

Cheri Giesen is the executive director of Job Service North Dakota, which delivers specific services to targeted workforce sectors, administers the state and federal unemployment insurance program, and provides comprehensive labor market information. Giesen attended the University of Mary where she earned a M.A. degree in Business Management, B.S. degrees in Computer Information Systems and Accounting, a minor in Business Administration, and a certificate of leadership. Giesen has more than 20 years of experience in organizational and information technology management. Giesen held management positions within North Dakota state government for the Attorney General’s office, the Supreme Court, and the Department of Transportation. Giesen’s information technology management positions include Basin Electric Power Cooperative and Job Service’s information technology department.

Giesen is a member of the Workforce Development Council, Career and Technical Education (CTE) board, State Information Technology Advisory Committee (SITAC), Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) committee, the North Dakota Cyber Security Taskforce and ex-officio member of the Administrative Committee on Veteran Affairs (ACOVA).

Giesen notes that WEAC is important for the state, now more than ever, due to the growth in new and current industries across the state. Through WEAC, the state can ensure that educational programs are available to meet the state’s workforce needs.


Tom ShormaThomas D. Shorma
CEO, WCCO Belting

Thomas D. Shorma is CEO/President of WCCO Belting, Inc. located in Wahpeton, a position he has held since 2002. WCCO Belting, Inc. is a privately owned manufacturer of agricultural and industrial rubber belting and conveyor products.

Prior to joining WCCO, Mr. Shorma was Founder and President of TEAM Marketing, Inc.  Shorma is a business, marketing, advertising graduate and football alumni of the University of North Dakota (1980) and the North Dakota State College of Science (1978). Most recently, he has been involved in several national, state, and local organizations including: The Valley Prosperity Partnership; The North Dakota Regional Workforce Training Council (Past Chairman); The North Dakota District Export Council (Chairman); The North Dakota Trade Office Board of Directors; The Skills & Technology Training Center / Fargo (Past Vice-Chairman); A member of the North Dakota Roundtable for Higher Education; The North Dakota State College of Science Foundation Board (Past President); The Richland / Wilkin United Way (Board Member), and The Wahpeton Optimist Club (Past President).

Tom lives in Fargo, North Dakota and is married to Julie Shorma (Fisher) with four children, Karley (28) – UND class of 2010, Cassie (24) – NDSCS class of 2013, Maggie (10) and Thomas / TJ (9).


GaylonGaylon Baker

Executive Vice President, Stark Development Corporation

Gaylon Baker is the Executive Vice President of Stark Development Corporation and is a native of Jamestown, N.D. He is a graduate of the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography and a Master of Science degree in Community and Regional Planning from North Dakota State University. He joined Stark Development Corporation in 1995.

He formerly was the President of the Duluth Greater Downtown Council and the Executive Director of South Central Dakota Regional Council.

He is Past President of the Economic Development Association of North Dakota. Served as Rotary President in 2007-2008. He has also served on the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and was Treasurer of the Information Technology Council of North Dakota.  He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Mid America Economic Development Council.

He received the Governor’s Choice Award, Professional Developer of the year in 2004 and the Greater North Dakota Association, Business and Industrial Development Award in 1999. He and his wife, Barbara, have four children, Amy, James, Brandi, and Anna.

“North Dakota has fallen behind in the provision of the breadth and convenience of workforce preparation that we see in neighboring states,” Baker said. “This is one of the most vertical economic development issues we face right now.”


mjlMarvin Lein

CEO, Mid Dakota Clinic

Marvin Lein is the current Chief Executive Officer for the Mid Dakota Clinic. He has 25 years of senior healthcare management experience, with a passion for delivering a superior customer experience. He has a Masters of Science in Business Administration/Marketing from Colorado State University, a Masters of Healthcare Administration from University of Colorado Denver, is the ACMPE Forum Representative for North Dakota (ACMPE association member education/certification program; is a Certified Medical Practice Executive by the American College of Medical Practice Executives, and is a member of American College of Healthcare Executives.