Board Member Q&A with Darby Schlichenmayer

Lewis & Clark Development Group is fortunate to benefit from the expertise of so many state and community leaders who serve on our three boards of directors. Their service and support allows LCD Group’s three entities – Lewis & Clark Regional Development Council (RDC), Lewis & Clark Certified Development Company (CDC), and CommunityWorks North Dakota (CWND) – to fulfill our mission and positively impact businesses, communities, families, and individuals throughout North Dakota.

This month, we visited with long-time CommunityWorks North Dakota volunteer Darby Schlichenmayer who officially joined the CommunityWorks North Dakota Board of Directors in March 2020. 

Schlichenmayer’s election to the board was the capstone of 18 years of steady CWND involvement and leadership, which began with his service on the CWND Resource Development Committee.

Schlichenmayer’s passion for CWND is rooted in his interest in rural community development, which was a byproduct of his work for Basin Electric, and his faith.

In 2018, he retired from Basin Electric Cooperative after 37 years. Now, Schlichenmayer is enjoying an active retirement with his wife Barb. Together, they enjoy spending summers at their lake cabin and traveling the United States, especially to warmer climates in the winter months.

The Schlichenmayers have two sons and seven grandchildren who all live near Bismarck.

Tell us about your involvement with CommunityWorks North Dakota over the years. What do you most enjoy about serving the organization? 

I have been a part of CommunityWorks North Dakota for 18 years beginning in November 2003 with a position on the Resource Development Committee. I was elected to the CommunityWorks Board and have served on the Board for just less than two years, since March 2020. Most of my career I held various positions with Basin Electric Power Cooperative including (most recently) working with member cooperative’s directors and managers in the strategic planning process, retiring in 2018 after 37 years with the cooperative. My service with CommunityWorks has included serving on the Resource Development Committee and the Asset Management and Development Committee. I currently serve on the Nominating Committee and the DREAM II Committee.

I enjoy most the ability to give back to the communities and state that has served me so well during my education and working years and I fully support CommunityWorks mission of creating affordable housing opportunities to those less fortunate in rural communities throughout the state and help to strengthen and revitalize these communities. I also enjoy the interaction with others and relationships that have been developed over the years.

Your career with Basin Electric gave you a unique perspective on rural community development. What do you see as CommunityWorks’ contributing role in addressing affordable housing throughout North Dakota?

Affordable housing is key in maintaining a sense of belonging and self-worth to any individual or family and I take pride in being able to contribute to that effort to make affordable housing more a reality for everyone. As real estate prices continue to rise, and with income levels not keeping the same pace, it becomes increasingly difficult for individuals to access affordable housing, so the mission and role of CommunityWorks affirms to be a very important one. Very important to me is serving God, and serving God means looking out for and serving others and this is one of many ways I can do that.

My 37 years with Basin Electric instilled an appreciation for the challenges of life in rural America and gives me a background to provide input through the various functions I serve on with CommunityWorks. It also provides the chance to support and enhance the solid strategic planning process already on-going at CommunityWorks. CommunityWorks has a strong management team and dedicated and skilled staff that work well together and are guided by a strong mission and strategic focus. There is also a solid track record of meeting its goals and objectives each year.