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career minded. community focused.

create We proactively create environments and programs that allow for connections between one another and within the community.

connect We actively pursue partnerships with businesses, non-profits, service, professional development, media, cultural and entertainment organizations to help deliver opportunities that are already taking place within the community.

community We believe in the Bismarck-Mandan community, and we believe that it can be an attractive place for Young Professionals. With the Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals Network, the community will have a solid partner and asset for the future development of Bismarck-Mandan. 2

mission Enhance the culture for young professionals in the BismarckMandan community through professional development, entrepreneurship, community service and social networking Create new opportunities for members Connect members to organizations in the Bismarck-Mandan community




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executive team a message from the president and vice president

TJ Jerke

2015-2016 President 2016-2017 Chairman Looking back on 2015-2016, the Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals Network (YPN) had another successful year. The YPN is able to reflect on a great year and plan for the future because of our incredibly generous members and partners. First and foremost, thank you to all those who gave us their time and resources so we can continue to provide outstanding programs and opportunities to our members. This past year, the LeadershipTeam amended the network’s bylaws to create a Treasurer/Secretary position. The new role has helped with the budgeting process, streamlined accounting processes and fostered a stronger relationship with the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce; all of which have helped the foundation of the network. Additionally, the Entrepreneurship Team worked tirelessly to meet with area business leaders and renew their support to the network. They also brought many new partners on board, bringing the number of businesses who support the network to an all-time high of 32 partners. An area of importance to our membership has always been serving and giving back to the community. The Nonprofit Partnership Program went into its third year, selecting the American Red Cross as the nonprofit partner of the year. While helping the American Red


Stacey Thomas

2015-2016 Vice President 2016-2017 President Cross and several other local charities, our members donated an impressive 346 hours to our community! The network also hosted world record holder, Todd Huston, who delivered an inspiring message to members at the second annual Epic Impact. Huston is the world record holder for climbing the highest point in all 50 states in the shortest amount of time and he accomplished this with only one leg. His story of perseverance and determination left a positive impact on our members. Throughout 2016 and 2017, the network will continue to offer many opportunities for those interested in becoming more involved in the community. We look forward to another year of welcoming new members and continuing to build a professional community for young professionals.

thank you to the 2015-2016 chairwoman The network would like to thank Heather Welle for providing outstanding leadership to the Bismarck Mandan Young Professionals Network. Heather’s vision and leadership allowed the network to grow and offer diverse programing for our members. Thank you for your service to the YPN.

a message from the incoming vice president Amber Jensen

2016-2017 Vice President

Bismarck-Mandan is a community that allows young professionals to excel and provides opportunities for our members to truly serve the community. I am proud to be a part of an organization with such a strong history and I look forward to continuing to build on that success this next year. As the incoming Vice President, I want to ensure that members are engaged in the network and are making a difference in our community. As a volunteer organization, we are only as strong as our members! With community support, the network is able to provide its members engagement and social networking opportunities, professional development and opportunities to serve our community. The YPN is the perfect platform to grow professionally and to increase your community network. We have seen many members members use this opportunity and make the most of it. I am proud to be a member of the YPN and look forward to a great year. I am most excited to work with new and existing members in helping our community grow.

2015-2016 financial report

Eric Flacksbarth


The Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals Network is fortunate to partner with many great local businesses. These partnerships allow the YPN to provide opportunities for our members through engaging and informative events. Depending on the level of the partnership, these businesses also receive value back from the YPN in the form of network memberships, advertising on the website and at events, the opportunity to host a YPN event, and numerous other benefits. Businesses can support the YPN in two ways – monetary partnerships or in-kind services. 22 local businesses supported the YPN via monetary partnerships in 20152016, which resulted in $24,000 going towards supporting the YPN and its programs. In-kind services vary, and include but are not limited to: marketing and advertising resources, building and facility rental, and other promotional products. The outlook of the YPN is vibrant due to the continued support of Bismarck-Mandan businesses and young professionals in our area. We have already built up a great organization for young professionals and all the pieces are in place for further growth in the community. We look forward to continued support and progression with the help of our business partners and members.


ambassador team

helping new members find a place Join the team and be the smiling person that helps new members connect and engage. The team also helps educate local businesses on the benefits of supporting and having their young professionals involved in the YPN. Bismarck-Mandan Top 10 Young Professional Workplaces Award 1st Thursday Social

Godfather Dinner New Member Recruitment

As the welcoming committee, the Ambassador Team welcomes new members to the network through numerous events. This past year, we continued to have great attendance at the New Member Breakfast meetings. This event gives incoming members an in-depth look at the network as well as the opportunity to discuss ways to get engaged based on their interests. We also held seven First Thursday Socials at various locations in Bismarck-Mandan. These eents provide a laid back social networking opportunity for new members and veteran members alike!

In 2015, we had 18 applicants for the Top 10 Young Professional Workplaces award which made the decision very difficult. It is great to see new businesses apply, as well as reccurring applicants and winners. The Ambassador Team continues to work with local businesses to help retain new employees by creating lasting relationships within the YPN and our community. In addition, the Ambassador Team continues to develop creative and innovative strategies to attract young professionals to Bismarck-Mandan. 6



Justin Thomas

Amber Jensen

entrepreneur team

The Entrepreneur Team (E-team) focuses on inspiring the entrepreneurial spirit in our members. This past year, we were very fortunate to have hosted three roundtables with high profile public figures throughout the state including Lee Gurke, Virginia Wood, Kathy Neset and Sheila Schafer. The E-team also hosted seven Entrepreneurs Among Us (E-Among Us) events throughout the year.This event allows local business owners and entrepreneurs to open their doors for our members. During this event businesses share the successes and challenges of owning and operating a business. Our team also hosted the network’s Annual Partner Appreciation Luncheon in October. This is our opportunity to thank the local businesses that contribute monetary and in-kind services to the network. More than 40 representatives from our business partners

attended the luncheon. This was a big year for our partner program as we welcomed six new partners. The 8th annual Chill-N-Bowl was held in February and was another huge success. We had 22 teams compete in the chili cook-off and bowling tournament. The tournament raised more than $1,800 for this year’s selected nonprofit partner, the American Red Cross. In early 2016, the E-team created a new program, the 1099 Club. The 1099 Club’s mission is to better yourself and better your business. The goal is provide an outlet for business professionals who may be self-employed, working on commission or business owners to share their knowledge and learn valuable insights from the other members present.

combining people and resources



Jerry Haas

Join the team to connect with entrepreneurs, creative-minded people and resources and learn from local success stories. The Entrepreneur Team is also responsible for establishing business partners.

Chance Schmidt

Entrepreneurs Among Us

Partner Appreciation Luncheon


Maintaining and Recruiting Business Partners

YP Roundtable

marketing team

The past year has been an incredible journey for the marketing team. In May 2015, we unveiled a new logo with coordinating colors as well as fonts. This allowed the team to completely refresh YPN’s marketing materials such as the website, t-shirts, brochures, banners, the e-newsletter and more. Additionally, the team continued to provide professional development opportunities through Marketing Lunch & Learns. During 2015-2016, local businesses welcomed the Marketing Team into their business to learn more about their marketing techniques. Thank you to the following businesses for taking the time to teach us more about this industry – KLJ, United Printing, Glasser Images and Odney.

increase network effectiveness and image Join the team to gain valuable experience by supporting the YPN’s marketing needs in communication, graphic design, radio, social media and web development. Event Promotional Materials Design and Content Social Media Annual Report Blog Articles



Web Content and Management Press Releases Photography Radio Ads Viva Lauinger


Mariah Rittel

professional development team

The Professional Development (PD) Team provides growth opportunities that contribute to career success with professional and educational development. We aim to provide events that develop young professionals’ leadership skills, career development and personal growth. This past year, we began with our annual Stepping Up program, where YPN members visit local high school career classes to talk about our educational history, career path and what we have learned along the way. The goal is to provide high schoolers with insight to all their options as they make decisions on college and careers.

addressing the unique challenges young professionals face Join the team to help plan and coordinate events for members to gain new knowledge, conquer new challenges and discover new opportunities

Stepping Up Mentor Panel 30-in-30

Knowledge & Networking Webinars



Jamie Jackson

Not Pictured: Stacy Schaffer

Additionally, we held two 30-in-30 events. These events provide a speed networking opportunity for participants to meet everyone else in the room, discuss what they do and who they are, and exchange business cards. We also launched an “etiquette” theme for our Knowledge and Networking series, offering a variety of events based on business etiquette. We kicked off this initiative with an Etiquette Dinner event held in January and a social etiquette event in June with Chuck Repnow, an expert in business etiquette. 9

service team

The dedication and passion of our young professionals to promote the welfare of Bismarck-Mandan has never been stronger! This continued tradition of service from members is exciting and dynamic as we are often reminded of the importance volunteerism plays in our communities’ success. 2015 and 2016 provided our network with ample opportunities to volunteer and socialize with other organizations. One significant pportunity was with our nonprofit partner of the year, the American Red Cross. Through our partnership we were able to aid in its mission and to gain access to valuable knowledge provided by the Red Cross’ staff. Many other opportunities arose for members too – some of which are annual events. In all, these events totaled more than 346 hours of time volunteered to our communities. For those curious, that’s about 50 cents short of $8000 worth of time donated to our community through service! Our goal is to continue providing opportunities for our members to engage with the community through service projects. If you have opportunities in mind you may email the Service Team at


leadership volunteering to make an impact Join the team and help plan community service projects or fundraising projects that help our community and support various organizations.

Carla Bodensteiner


Cody Schoonover

Roadside Cleanup

Sertoma Club Partnership

Great American Bike Race

Tracy’s Sanctuary House

Nonprofit Partnership American Red Cross

Frames for Funds

social team

creating interactions This year the Social Team continued to host annual events including the All Hands Fall Kickoff, Halloween Pub Crawl, Holiday Party and the Cinco Annual Celebration and Awards event. One new event the team hosted in partnership with the Service Team was an American Red Cross Volunteer Training & Social. The Social Team also brought back a few events that have been done in the past such as a Sandbar Social at the river, a weekend campout, Bingo Night and Intro to Curling.



and networking Join the team to develop fun and engaging events for members and prospective members to interact and network. Team members plan events, socialize, and meet new people. Thinking outside the box to brainstorm new ideas helps keep the network fun and engages new young professionals. Cinco de Mayo Anniversary Celebration

Holiday Celebration

All Hands Fall Kickoff

5:01 Socials

Annual Camp Out

Halloween Pub Crawl

The team continues to manage the YPN athletic teams year round and also continues to plan 5:01 Socials with YPN’s Partners. The Social Team is looking forward to developing new and exciting events for members to enjoy this upcoming year. Mallory Westby

Megan Zerface


introducing the

wisdom team The Wisdom Team is a group of local business and community leaders committed to mentoring the Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals Network. The Wisdom Team assists in advising the network on organization, direction and policy. The members of the Wisdom Team have been selected to serve as overall advisors, while also mentoring on an individual team level according to their areas of expertise. Wisdom Team positions are a three-year commitment, with several rotating in and out annually.





Braun Intertec

Starion Financial


Center for Technology and Business






H. A. Thompson & Sons

Mayor of Bismarck



WO RKP LACE AWA RD 2016-2017 leadership team


L to R - Back: Steven Richard, Chance Schmidt, Eric Flacksbarth, Cody Schoonover, Jamie Jackson, TJ Jerke, Bill Heinzen; Front: Megan Zerface, Kayla Rettig, Amber Jensen, Stacey Thomas, Katie Schiltz, Kari Pollert, Mariah Rittel, Jillian Lagasse; Not pictured: Jerry Haas, Kelsey Baumann

Along with changes to the executive leadership, the YPN’s teams welcomed new co-leads, who serve two-year offset terms with one co-lead vacating his or her position each year. The 2016-2017 Leadership Team members are:

Ambassador Team: Jerry Haas, surface aquisition manager at Houston Engineering, Inc., joins Kayla Rettig, area manager at Spherion Staffing. Entrepreneurship Team: Bill Heinzen, information security project manager at NISC, joins Chance Schmidt, insurance advisor at Gate City Bank. Marketing Team: Kari Pollert, marketing analyst at Starion Financial, joins Mariah Rittel, communications specialist at KLJ. Professional Development Team: Jillian Lagasse, marketing manager at Investment Centers of America, joins Jamie Jackson, network security analyst at Basin Electric Power Cooperative. Social Team: Katie Schiltz, executive team leader at Target, joins Kelsey Baumann, client service manager at Spherion Staffing. Service Team: Steven Richard, chief financial officer at Leingang Home Center, joins Cody Schoonover, investment advisor at Starion Financial.



Stacey has outstanding leadership skills which she has shown during her term as E-team co-lead and Vice President of the network. She is very dedicated to the mission of YPN and is constantly striving to make it a better organization for our members. Stacey is always putting the needs of others before herself which is one of the true qualities of servant leadership. In addition to her duties as Vice President, she also served as co-chair of the Epic Impact committee. Stacey attends many events and team meetings and has been there to provide support and guidance to the coleads throughout this past year. She is always there to greet new members at events with a smile and a warm welcome to our network. Stacey also helps get the word out about YPN around the community by attending other events through the Chamber, BMDA and United Way just to name a few. She has helped make this community a better place for young people and continues to lead by example. Her commitment, dedication and enthusiasm for the network will serve her well her as President in 2016-2017.

C RY S TA L R E I D E X C E L L E N C E AWA R D serving the network and community

The Crystal Reid Award is an annual award recognizing a YPN member who goes the extra mile in their leadership and service in the YPN and the Bismarck-Mandan community. The recipient’s tireless work to get the job done often inspires and motivates those around them.



for leadership and innovation for the network


sacrifices, goes above and beyond the call of duty





BISMARCK STATE COLLEGE Kyren has been a member since 2007, serving as an active member of the Service Team and most recently, joining the E-Team. He played a big role in getting Sheila Schafer to speak at the YP Roundtable in January and also stepped up to be a partner liaison. He does an excellent job of keeping our partners informed of events and opportunities. Kyren is always challenging the network to “think outside of the box” and try new events and pursue different opportunities as a team.


one whoe helps and selflessly gives of her time


HIGH POINT NETWORKS Dustin has served as the chairman of the ChillN-Bowl for the past three years and has done an outstanding job with running what has become one of the network’s largest events. Dustin also serves as a partner liaison on the E-team where he keeps his partners posted on the happenings of the YPN. Dustin is very passionate about the YPN and has been a good mentor to some of the new members on the E- Team.


for persistence and dedication in the network


michael thomas



Amanda brings a great deal of experience to the Ambassador Team as being a past Co-Lead. She continues to provide guidance and assistance to the Ambassador Team when needed and provides her expertise when looking at new programs to bring to the YPN. She continues to be Ambassador of the Month and regularly attends our monthly meetings. She also signed on to be a part of the Gear Up to Bismarck-Mandan committee and helped us look at the pros and cons to a potential new program.

Mike Thomas has been an active member of the YPN since he first joined in 2008. He served as co-lead of the ambassador team from 2009-2011 where he was instrumental in leading the efforts for programs like the Top 10 and the new member breakfasts. He has since continued being a very active member of the ambassador team and is always willing to help plan and coordinate events. Mike also served as the co-chair of the fundraising committee for the 2013 Great Plains Young Professional Summit.

Annually,YPN leadership selects deserving members who have invested in the network to receive these awards. Without dedicated members willing to sacrifice time and resources, we could not thrive. We thank you for your commitment!


top 10 young professional workplaces Annually, local businesses submit an application to become a Top 10 Young Professional Workplace. A team of young professionals determine the top 10 based on innovation, inclusion and benefits related to young professionals in their business.



With over half its employees being young professionals, KLJ has found great success in hiring and keeping their young people. They are able to attract young professionals with a competitive pay and benefits package, development programs, and strong core values. They retain employees by helping them succeed with professional and personal development opportunities. Along with their focus on employees, KLJ serves their communities through numerous volunteer activities, community events and charitable contributions.

Capital Credit Union truly invests in the growth and development of their employees. With 69-percent of employees being young professionals, they are a family friendly organization and they encourage their employees to attend their children’s school activities and to become involved in the community.  Capital Credit Union rewards their employees for volunteering with additional vacation days and monetary rewards.  They also have two internal development programs to allow professional growth for their employees.  Capital Credit Union offers tuition assistance and a caring culture for employees to grow.



Braun Intertec’s culture is entrepreneurial, innovative and collaborative. It is a team environment with hard working people who are down to earth and encourage a healthy workplace. They have a strong wellness initiative that continues to have a positive impact on the lives and well-being of their employees. They understand that there is a balance between work and family life and allow employees the flexibility to take advantage of both. Braun Intertec is a good example of a company that has loyalty and dedication!

This company creates a unique company culture for young professionals that emphasizes flexible, competitive salaries, potential to relocate, ability to influence change in the company, and decision making through the annual planning process! Young professionals are exposed to all areas of the sectors, giving them a wide range of experience and to help them explore the many ways they can enhance their individual career.  Leadership invests into growing employees, increasing opportunities, and improving their culture.  This company embodies the core values of dedicating themselves to their client’s success, pursuing excellence in work, and acting with integrity both in the office and in the field.


SEH Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH®) is an employee-owned company of engineers, architects, planners, and scientists serving public and private sector clients. Opening a Bismarck office in 2013, this location has gone from two to 18 employees with room for as many as 45 in the next two to three years. Of the employees, 14 out of the 18 are young professionals. Their office is constantly pursuing talented young professionals to employ or intern and actively recruits employees through networking events, career fairs, word of mouth, and employee referrals. They are committed to developing young professionals, whether it be through training opportunities for current employees and interns or visiting local elementary school classrooms to develop, inspire and spark interest in our community’s future.Young professionals at their company are constantly immersed in a collaborative network of experts ready to help them discover their passion and develop their skills

F I R S T I N T E R N AT I O N A L B A N K AND TRUST New to the community, First International Bank & Trust has been actively recruiting quality young professionals from the local campuses. With an emphasis on training and constant evaluations, they are able to maintain a high level of work satisfaction among all employees. First International Bank and Trust encourages their young professionals to get out there and help our community grow.

S TA R I O N F I N A N C I A L This company’s mission is “to serve with understanding, earn trust through our integrity; inspire confidence by our knowledge; and work passionately for customer, community and company success.” With nearly one-thirdof the executive committee members of young professional age, this company is dedicated to providing training and advancement opportunities through their personalized career development plans! Meaningful benefits are offered at every point in an employee’s career and they work hard to ensure that all employees are recognized for a job well done!

HDR HDR has partnered with clients to shape communities and push the boundaries of what’s possible since 1917. HDR is consistently ranked among the top firms by leading industry publications, including Engineering News-Record and Architectural Record. Their responsive approach builds highly collaborative, cross-company teams that open new doors and solve tough problems for clients. They believe that the way they work can add meaning and value to the world and that ideas inspire positive change. They believe that coloring outside the lines can illuminate fresh perspectives, and that small details yield important realizations. Above all, they believe that collaboration is the best way forward. While they are most wellknown for adding beauty and structure to communities through high performance buildings and smart infrastructure, they provide much more than that.

NISC AETNA This company desires to create a culture that enables, cultivates, institutionalizes and regards continuous process improvement. Young professionals have the ability to impact business decisions and are rewarded for doing so. Aetna recently raised their minimum wage across the organization for all employees and that is the highest in the industry. Aetna has flexible scheduling comprehensive training and development programs to assist in career advancement and tuition reimbursement.

NISC offers a flexible work environment and puts their people first. They strive to promote work-life balance while emphasizing the importance of developing career skills.  NISC promotes education through tuition reimbursement, has an onsite game room and fitness center, and works to bring new talent to Bismarck/Mandan.  They focus on giving back to the community through a variety of charitable causes and they pay the entire premium for family health coverage.  Wellness is a large focus for their organization and they utilize the Fitbits that NISC provides their employees; wellness challenges create a fun culture for professionals to thrive.


epic impact

In December, the Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals Network hosted its second annual Epic Impact at Sanford’s Ritterbush Auditorium. More than 70 members were in attendance to hear the event’s featured speaker, Todd Huston from Tulsa, OK. Huston’s presentation was titled “More than Mountains - How to Overcome Any Challenge.” Huston shared an amazing story about how he climbed all the highest points throughout the United States in 66 days and broke the previous world record by 35 days. This in itself is a pretty remarkable accomplishment, but he was able to complete it as an amputee with only one leg. Huston’s inspirational presentation focused on the importance of never giving up, believing in yourself and making an impact in the lives of those around you. He stressed the importance that it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down in life, what matters is how quickly you get back up.



Huston also had copies of his book “More than Mountains-the Todd Huston Story” on hand which several members purchased at the end of the presentation. In addition to speaking at Epic Impact, Huston also spoke to a packed gymnasium of students at Miller Elementary while he was in town. The students were thrilled to hear the stories about his mountain climbing adventures. Epic Impact would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors - Basin Electric, The BismarckMandan Chamber Foundation, North Dakota Guaranty & Title and Sanford Health. A special thanks goes out to the members of the Epic Impact planning committee for all of their hard work and dedication in putting this event together: Jerry Haas, Stacey Thomas, Mike Christianson, Amanda Bakkedahl, Mariah Rittel, Amber Jensen and Viva Lauinger.


todd huston

american red cross

“Over the course of our partnership with the Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals Network, young professionals volunteered more than 100 hours and helped to raise more than $5,000 in assorted donations and sponsorships in support of our mission. Together, we were able to grow our community and start conversations about the growing importance of resiliency and preparedness in Bismarck-Mandan.� Jarrod Anderson, American Red Cross Western North Dakota Executive Director


Each year, the YPN will partner with a different area nonprofit, but our hope is that network members have been inspired to continue to support the American Red Cross. and all past and future Nonprofit Partners.


distinguished business partners OF THE YE A R

YPN leadership selected two business partners that have gone above and beyond their partner commitments to support the network over the past year.

north dakota guaranty and title North Dakota Guaranty and Title is a Gold Partner and has been supporting the network since 2013. North Dakota Guaranty and Title was one of our sponsors for Epic Impact featuring Todd Huston last December. Without their help, the event would not have been possible.

bismarck state college Bismarck State College (BSC) is a Gold Partner and has been supporting the Network since 2009. This past year, Bismarck State College hosted three Roundtables at their facility and provided lunch for the attendees. Dr. Larry Skogen, President of BSC, was instrumental in helping facilitate the Roundtable with the late Sheila Schafer. 20

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business partnership team with the young professionals network Our partners’ financial support means a network of more than 250 young professionals can connect, engage, grow and stay in our community. Socializing, networking, professional development and mentoring opportunities through a variety of events, programs and community service projects keep young professionals in our community and in local companies. Varying sponsorship levels are available on an annual basis. The YPN, led by the efforts of the E-Team, is always seeking out new business partnership opportunities throughout the year.

event $250

Recognition on promotional materials (including: newsletter, Facebook and website)

bronze $500

Logo and link on YPN website

Opportunities for your employees to attend special events. Stay tuned for followup information on how to engage these opportunities

Banner to be hung at the event (provided by the sponsor)

Verbal recognition of sponsorship to guests at the event

Opportunity to distribute company materials or product information at event

Exposure and awareness among young people ages 2139

Mentorship opportunities and connections forged with other businesses through your young professionals







Logo on printed materials (i.e. annual report, event programs, etc.)

Free job listings on YPN website ($50 value per use)

Creation of an attractive environment for young people in your organization through access to the network (i.e. focus groups, volunteering, etc.)

Opportunity to host an event for YPN members ($250 value)

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The Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals Network hosts various events and programs throughout the year for members and guests. Whether you are just looking to make friends or you want professional development or service opportunities, the YPN offers something for everyone. Members can attend all or some events and/or programs and select those that meet their personal goals, time constraints and life stage. Anyone between the ages of 21 and 39 who is a part of the Bismarck-Mandan community can join — whether you just moved into town, have lived here your entire life, just graduated college or have spent a decade in your career field. Annual membership fees are $50 or $35 if your employer is a Chamber member.

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WWW.Y PNETWORK.ORG /bi sm a r ck m a n da n yp /bi s m a n yp /ypn e t wo r k .o r g/fe e d


2015 2016 ypn annual report  
2015 2016 ypn annual report