By Starrla Cray
WRIGHT COUNTY, MN Like a doctor for businesses and communities, Ted LaFrance is all about keeping Wright County’s economy healthy.
“Economic development is the basis for healthy communities,” said LaFrance, who became the Wright County Economic Development Partnership (WCEDP) director Oct. 31.
In his new role, LaFrance hopes to further build the capacity of local businesses.
“It’s been a month of getting my feet wet, meeting with the different communities,” he said. “It’s been enlightening it’s been fun.”
LaFrance was raised in Duluth, and graduated from Saint John’s University with a degree in economics and environmental studies.
He then worked for a short time as a construction volunteer facilitator for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, before becoming the economic development director of Luverne.
“I’ll be able to take that experience on the municipal side to the county level,” LaFrance said.
LaFrance said his position in Wright County is ideal, because it is both city and business oriented.
“These are two areas I’m passionate about,” he said.
One way LaFrance plans to promote development is through technology helping businesses utilize free software, web-based marketing, and other online resources. He also aims to serve through applicable events and seminars.
“I want members to walk away with something tangible,” he said.
Relating to business owners is easy for LaFrance, who has firsthand business experience. He and his brother, Joel, founded True North Woodworking, where they create wooden wax benches for skiing.
“We do it as a hobby,” LaFrance said. “I just like the inner workings of a small business.”
LaFrance and his wife, Genna, love Nordic skiing, canoeing, kayaking, wilderness camping, and exercising with their black Lab, Bud.
“We’re very enthusiastic outdoor people,” LaFrance said. “Our place of escape is the Boundary Waters.”
As he’s gotten to know Wright County, LaFrance said he’s glad to be working in the area.
“It’s nice to have all the natural beauty, with the lakes in the communities,” he said.
About the Partnership
The WCEDP is a non-profit, public/private development corporation that works at the county level.
Its vision is to create in Wright County a healthy and diverse environment for existing, expanding, and new businesses, as well as to increase job opportunities and support the tax base.
A few of the resources available include site location assistance, workforce development, financing, business counseling, and research/business information.
To reach LaFrance at WCEDP, call (763) 477-3086.