Faces of the Boom: New director puts passion toward Williston builders group

Jessica Taylor, right, works at the Williston Home Show on Friday, April 5, 2013, in Williston, N.D., during her first day as executive director for the Williston Area Builders Association. Amy Dalrymple/Forum News Service

WILLISTON, N.D. — Jessica Taylor spent three months trying to find the right job in Williston.

Instead, she found a career.

On Thursday, the 28-year-old from Cincinnati was named executive director of the Williston Area Builders Association.

A day later she was already helping run the Williston Home Show.

Taylor, who moved to North Dakota in December with her fiancé, Jeremy Tankersley, said living in Williston is giving them a chance to be more prosperous.

“There’s so much opportunity for us here,” Taylor said.

Tankersley, a welder, owned a shop in Cincinnati but work there had slowed. After hearing from many people about opportunities for welders in North Dakota, the couple did some research and decided to make the move.

“It’s been an adventure,” Tankersley said.

Tankersley, 25, works 60 or more hours a week as a welder for B&G Roustabout.

The couple live in a camper in a Williston RV park in conditions that are a lot more primitive than what they were used to. This winter, the water often froze and the couple would go without, Taylor said.

They are expecting their first child in August and are trying to find permanent housing before their daughter arrives.

In addition to the challenge of finding a place that’s affordable, they need to find a home that will accept their two miniature dachshunds, but most Williston rental properties don’t accommodate pets.

When Taylor was searching for a job, she said wanted to find an opportunity that would allow her to grow.

The Williston Area Builders Association had been without an executive director since January, so board members quickly put her to work. Taylor spent Friday and Saturday meeting members of the association, recruiting new members and learning how to run next year’s Williston Home Show.

“It’s finally something I can put my passion toward,” Taylor said.

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