Last autumn when I was in Williston, I was introduced to some Turkish families. It was a real pleasure to meet them, even using a Turkish greeting from my days in Turkey to say "hi." To say the least, they were quite surprised. I don't recall if I was told why they were living in Williston. If I was told, I forgot. Now, as I'm writing this, I vaguely remember my sister telling me; she was the one who introduced their translator to me.
A reader sent me a comment tonight that explains everything, this is back in 2009:
Gov. John Hoeven today joined local officials and company representatives for the grand opening of United Pulse Trading Inc., a $7.5 million pea and lentil splitting facility in Williston, N.D. The new facility is capable of cleaning, calibrating, peeling, splitting and color sorting 75,000 metric tons of peas and lentils, making it the largest lentil and pea splitting company in the Americas. Hoeven was joined for the ribbon cutting by president and CEO of Alliance Grain Traders, Murad Al-Katib, Williston Mayor Ward Koeser, and other local officials.Incredible.
More of the story:
United Pulse is a subsidiary of Saskatchewan-based Alliance Grain Traders Income Fund, the largest lentil exporter in the world. Because North Dakota is the leader in pea and lentil production for the nation, Alliance Grain Traders' expansion into the state was an ideal next step. The State provided $400,000 in interest buydown from PACE and Flex PACE, as well as the North Dakota Development Fund, to assist the company in the purchase, renovation and expansion of the Missouri River Ag Processing facility formerly owned by Superior Grains of Crosby. United Pulse also recently completed a $1 million rail line, dramatically increasing its loading capacity, and has purchased 20 more acres in the Williston Industrial Park for expansions.Here's the link. Another link.
"Tonight's Grand Opening marks the completion of the first phase of a multi-phase investment in the state," said Murad Al-Katib, president and CEO of Alliance Grain Traders. "Support from the state and the economic environment in North Dakota is very positive for us. Williston will be a base from which we continue to build our investment in this sector and in the state."
Alliance Grain Traders operates 13 other processing plants in Canada, Turkey and Australia and exports to 85 countries. Al-Katib says the company's future growth plans are focused on North Dakota, as well as Australia and Turkey, with investments planned in lentils, peas, durum wheat milling and beans.
My dad and I would drive past the industrial park almost every night on our evening drives. The plant is located out by Sanjel and Halliburton in the industrial park east of Williston. Incredible. Simply incredible.