City Announces Planned 2023 Departure of Business Development Director

Stay tuned for the hiring announcement at

City of Mandan Business Development and Communications Director Ellen Huber has notified the Mandan City Commission of plans to leave full-time employment to make way for someone new to lead the city’s economic and community development programs and projects.

“It’s been a great honor to be on the team propelling Mandan forward,” Huber wrote in a letter to the Commission indicating a January 2023 exit. She has no immediate plans to pursue other employment, noting she wants to devote time to family, decompress and assess opportunities before launching into major new endeavors.

City officials in upcoming weeks will evaluate priorities and fine-tune staff roles before starting the hiring and transition process.

Mandan hired Huber as its first business development director in 2006 after receiving input from citizens wanting an advocate for Mandan to supplement the work of metro area entities like the chamber, convention and visitors bureau, and then development association. The Mandan role has evolved to emphasize retention and expansion of existing businesses, fostering business start-ups, plus helping businesses new to the community. While some cities and regions focus on large, primary-sector businesses, Huber says, “No project has been too small.”

Mandan Mayor Tim Helbling recalls, “Ellen’s time with the city began during the height of installing a remediation system in downtown Mandan. There were a lot of streets torn up and business interruptions that were necessary to complete that project. She hit the ground running and has done a wonderful job of creating business assistance programs for not only those in the downtown area, but throughout the entire city. In addition to her knowledge of programs that benefit residents and businesses in Mandan, her knowledge of state programs is second to none. One thing that has set her apart is her drive and passion for our community. It shows in everything she does. Ellen has been and will continue to be a great ambassador for our city in whatever adventure she tackles next.”

During her tenure, Huber recommended to the Mandan Growth Fund Committee several incentive programs to fill holes in the community’s available retail and services, leverage investments in new and expanding businesses, and spark downtown revitalization. Huber also connects businesses with gap financing, helping to obtain nearly $10 million from the U.S. Treasury Department in 2012 for a revolving loan program.

Guided by community strategic plans and implementation committees, Huber has led business education and outreach programming to include an annual start-up workshop, pitch challenge, downtown tour, plus forums on other topics of pertinence to business owners and prospects. She also manages a community marketing program to elevate Mandan’s image.

Huber served on the Economic Development Association of North Dakota board from 2012 to 2021, including a two-year term as president in 2017-2019. In 2016, she was named Governor’s Choice for Large Community Economic Developer of the Year.

The City Commission formally added communications responsibilities to Huber’s job description in 2011, recognizing she was routinely issuing news releases, newsletters and managing the city’s website. Conduits have since broadened to include an electronic message center, social media, a community calendar, plus other updates for citizens, property owners, businesses and visitors. Communications and Community Services Coordinator Kari Schmidt is integral to all of these activities and projects. Schmidt has been with the City of Mandan since 2017.